Quarantine: first two weeks
All things must pass. It’ll pass, too.
I am not going to tell you what useful things you should do, what movies you should watch or what books you should read. You’ve already read this a hundred times and you’ve scolded yourself for failing, again. You’re wrong. Get out of this eternal race paradigm, the race is over. And don’t scold yourself now, for whatever.
For me, this is an opportunity to live a different life and reconsider some things in my life, rather than continue to achieve and improve. After all, self-improvement is not about reading 5 more books and listening to several podcasts but rather taking a break and diving deeper into yourself, the main person in your life. It is the perfect time to do it!
My input data: before the quarantine, I had the most expensive vacation in my life in Peru, two mourning periods, just 21 days apart, both times after the funeral, I did not work for ten days, then the quarantine came, and the work disappeared completely. I rent my place, I live alone, I have no children, I have two cats. I am an interpreter, all my translations have been related to interpreting projects that are currently on hold, so there are none either. In other words, I have no income now and I live on my savings. I spell it out to avoid the “talk is cheap” staff. Today, it’s not easy for anyone but we need to live somehow, and that’s what we’ll do.
Besides, I don’t want to pretend that my usual life proceeds, such as to plan the day in and out and fill it with hectic activities. ‘Coz that’s not true. When we get out of this, it’s never going to be the same. It’s too long a pause for businesses. There’s no more business, not yet. This is no reason to regret, or urgently get out of the crisis, or panic. This is an opportunity to take a deep breath and understand what you have in your life besides business. What building blocks are you going to use for a new chapter of your working life.
In general, I have been working hard on the work and life balance for two years now, and kept failing because of the specifics of interpreter’s job. Now, do I finally have the opportunity to hone my cooking skills, to regularly communicate with my friends, to create comfort in the house and slow down, so that it could be easier for me to use the skills in my regular life later.
And let’s not forget how much stress these changes have brought for all of us, and we need to count on our strength for a long time, rather than kill ourselves in the webinars, plans, and an alarm clock awakening in the first two weeks.
So, what kept me going in the first two weeks of the quarantine:
The rainy day fund to back me up for at least three months. I sincerely hope to remember once and forever why a businessperson needs it. I am comforted that such a recommendation has been there – it means that crisis happens, in everyone’s lives, and it will pass, too. For me, it is an island of normal course of events in crisis. Do I have that financial cushion? No, I do not. But its has not been three months yet, right?
Relationships with people
Stay human in case of delayed payments, etc. Be gentle to your friends and customers. Train empathy. Remember that everyone is under stress, quarrels can happen, make peace as soon as possible.
Keep in touch. With friends, relatives, acquaintances, clients, partners, or just with nice people. In everyday life, there is often not enough time for this. This is a great opportunity to catch up! The simple question of how things are going and the words of support are really working and it’s getting easier for you both. Make a list of nice and important people and call everyone (if possible). And yeah, learn to communicate online.
It is also a great opportunity to reboot the relationship that might have gone wrong because now the main thing are true values, not resentment on false pretenses.
Working on relationships. Life is not a job, it’s a relationship with people and ourselves. In China, divorce is booming after the quarantine. Spend time with your closest people, spend longer and better time together. There are no restaurants, no entertainment, there is nothing trivial, there is only you and your loved one. Go deal with each other. And don’t ignore sex. Sex is a powerful weapon against stress.
Don’t fuss around, stay calm and continue to observe. This is not the first and not the last crisis in our lives. It’s gonna take long, and it could change everything. Or, maybe it won’t. Before you take a move, you have to understand where and why. Don’t waste your resources on the fuss now. When the time comes to do something, you need to be rested, energetic, and resourceful. Save the resources.
How do you do it?
Get some sleep, look after yourself, take care of yourself – just because it will end and then you will have to really toil.
Free and cheap pleasures of life.
Home-cooked food is not only going to save you some money but it is also a kind of meditation, comfort and a source of women’s energy. It is also an opportunity to make your diet healthy and well thought, taking your time, which has never been possible in the normal times. Now dinners can always be light, and not like something you grabbed in a hurry before bed. And let the food be tasty, we don’t have much joy left. Eat nicely and slowly, there is no rush.
I’m not a sports fan at all, but do you know how exciting it is to climb up to the 22nd floor in the morning?
The only luxury I have left for myself is fresh flowers. For low-cost positive emotions. Daffodils, for example, are now available at 10 UAH per piece, tulips are 15. Every spring, the flowers change each other at an amazing rate. Hardly have you had time to buy two rounds of tulips, when the daffodils come in blossom, and then there are peonies arriving. Every spring, in that rat race, I regretted that I failed to enjoy the spring genuinely. Well, this spring, I have an opportunity to make things right. Now the flowers have disappeared in my usual places, and hunting for them around the city is in no small way distracting me from anxieties and worries.
Lonely walks work well because spring is a free dose of joy, even in the apocalypse. Take this opportunity while it lasts, or they might ban it.
Take pictures of spring greens and bright first salads, cats and sunsets, flowering trees and cut flowers, post on social networks instead of panic and anxiety. Each of us will only benefit from positive emotions.
A sense of humor: memes, jokes about our sudden poverty and isolation, now you can joke about everything, as long as it helps.
Do not scold yourself and do not make excessive demands for yourself.
Change your home wear to regular outfits, but it should be comfortable and joyful. It’s invigorating.
Soul-searching. The main thing in life is harmony with yourself, a cozy house, close people, you-time and communication, instead of money, rags, and entertainment.
But all of this – such as home comfort, fresh flowers, beautiful clothes, cats, sunsets and long colorful breakfasts on the balcony – this is my foothold, not a universal recipe. What do you rely on at this time?