On Friday, March 13, 2020, I drove my son to school to pick up some books and supplies he was going to need for the two weeks that school would be closed while we work to “flatten the curve” of Coronavirus cases. As we were walking out of the school I asked him to stop so I could take his picture. In typical teenage fashion he rolled his eyes, but he did oblige.
That weekend my family had plans to celebrate a friends’ birthday. We were going to go downtown, go out to dinner, and spend the night. As a group we decided that maybe we should postpone.
Things started to roll down hill from there. We had concerts cancelled or postponed (many we are still holding tickets for). We celebrated my husband’s birthday at home, just the three of us, with takeout from one of our favorite restaurants. On that same evening we Zoomed with some of our closest friends to celebrate him virtually. That was the first of many Zooms to come.
Here we are, coming up on one year later. I look at the picture of my son walking out of school, flashing me the peace sign, not wearing a mask, and think about how crazy this last year has been. However, I can’t say that everything about this past year has been bad. There is quite a bit of good that has come out of it.
Physical distance has brought me closer to some of the people in my life. Zoom has allowed me to continue networking, and build some great new relationships. We have cooked at home a lot more than usual, but we also learned how much we value our favorite local restaurants. We have changed up our routines, learned how to productively work from home, and came to value the spaces in which we live. We made banana bread. Most importantly, we learned that we are stronger and more resilient than we knew.
Unfortunately, we still have a road ahead of us before we get back to normal. Dare I say a “new normal.” While this is not the kind of anniversary I want to celebrate, I do think it’s a good time to do a check-in on how things are going. Maybe you feel like you are in a rut, so it’s also a good time to shake things up a little. Here are a few things that you can do:
Check In With Yourself
Ask yourself how you’re doing. How are you really doing? At the very beginning of the pandemic we talked a lot about mental health, and taking care of yourself. It’s still important. It’s okay to not be okay, and it’s really okay to ask for help. If you need help, reach out to a friend, or a loved one. Don’t be afraid to reach out for professional help.
Take a Day off Work
Are you exhausted? You’re not alone. Studies have shown that we are not taking time off the way we used to. Working from home makes it really easy to just keep working, even when we are sick. Maybe it’s time to take a mental health day. Unplug, relax, and focus on things other than work or school.
Reevaluate Your Daily Routine
Life has changed, and our routines really need to take that into consideration. Look at your morning routine, or your evening routine and see if it is still serving you. Make some changes, mix some things up a little. If you are feeling like you are in a rut, shaking up your routine can give you a little burst of energy.
Clean Your Closet
This one might seem like it doesn’t fit, but it actually does. A lot of us have spent the last year in sweats, or dare I say pajamas, yet every morning we start our day by staring at a closet full of clothes that we haven’t worn. It’s a great time to purge. Get rid of things that are too big, too small, you don’t really like, and surround yourself with just the clothes that you wear, and clothes that you feel good in.
Change Your Menu
Can anyone say food rut? I’ve been grocery shopping online most of the pandemic. Now, when I log in to shop the first thing I get is the “start your cart” list of all the things that I have purchased in the past. It’s so easy to just go down the list and choose all the same things over and over again. Search online for some new recipes to try, trade recipes with a friend, or ask your family for some new ideas. If you’re not much of a cook, search out some new restaurants to get takeout from. There are so many local restaurants that need our support, pick a few new ones to try.
Remember, nothing about this last year has been “normal”, so if you are feeling out of sorts, burnt out, or suffer from Covid fatigue, you are not alone. It’s also a great time to check in on those around you, especially the people in your life who are not great about asking for help. I’m sure they will appreciate it.
P.S. I did get The Mayor’s permission to use his picture!