My Quarantine Life

In March 2020, our world turned upside down.  I say this because it is the time when Covid-19, better known as Coronavirus began to ravish it’s way through North America.  Of course prior to, it was making it’s presence known in other parts of the world and we continue to watch in horror and sadness as well as in awe and fascination as this virus takes away yet touches the lives of many.  Both in unimaginable ways.  So many questions still left unanswered:  How do we continue to stay safe?  How do we support those that have contracted the virus?  How do we lend a helping hand to loved ones forced to be away from their families in nursing homes and hospitals? How do we continue to encourage our front-line workers?  The list goes on and on.

This virus has taught us all that no one is immune; no matter what race, creed, culture, age, economic status.  Everyone, including political leaders, celebrities, have had to take heed and take this virus seriously.  The playing field has been leveled as we all try to ‘flatten the curve’.  The best way of flattening this curve right now as we have seen proven effective is “Social Distancing” aka..Quarantine Life.  Keeping our distance from others, and staying indoors.  Here in Canada, we are only able to go out for necessities such as for groceries or pharmacies for medication etc.  So far I notice that everyone has been able to do just that but I never thought I would see the day where I had to not only physically prepare (with masks and gloves at hand) but MENTALLY prepare to go to the grocery store.

As you’ll notice in my last post, it wasn’t that long ago that I attended one of the most popular events of the year in Toronto, the TD Black Diamond Ball.  It was a great weekend of shaking hands while meeting new people and hugging those who I hadn’t seen in a while.  To think that just a few days later, all of that would change.  The fact that this all happened so fast made it difficult for me to adjust and comprehend.  I thought it would clear up in a couple weeks max and things would get back to normal; meaning I could resume with my regular schedule and meet that friend for coffee.  As the days went on and the news in Canada and across the globe kept getting worse, I began to realize that I wasn’t in control as I once thought.

This is when fear and anxiety started to set in.  Fear of the unknown, fear of the uncertain…not knowing what’s next.  All I could do was get down on my knees and pray and after even getting mad at myself for not exercising my faith and trusting God…I decided to make a choice.  I began counting my blessings.

I started a gratitude journal; I was thankful that I had the ability to work from home when others did not, many having to make the choice between supporting their family and risking their health.  I thought of those doctors and nurses, postal and factory workers deemed essential services, some of whom are in my own family.  I had to put my need for wanting to be out and about and meeting up and connecting with others, continuing to grow my business…that all had to be put aside.  I dealt with moments of guilt, feeling selfish but I quickly realized something extremely important.  I realized that I shouldn’t feel sorry that connecting with others physically and going out was important to me, and although many will not equate that with a loss of a job, it is vital to understand that in some way we have ALL lost something.

Believe it or not, working from home brings it’s own set of challenges if you’ve never done it before.  You soon realize that you’re not taking enough breaks as you should since you become so focused on proving to your employer that you are at that computer 24/7.  Managers are trying to maintain business as usual but it wasn’t usual. None of this is usual.  Due to challenges that I faced within the first couple weeks of working from home, I was forced to learn the importance of eye care.  As a result, I decided to bring to your attention to a few Covid-19 important principles that I came across for working from home:

  1. You are not “Working From Home”, you are “At your home, during a crisis, trying to work”.
  2. Your personal, physical, mental, and emotional health is far more important than anything else right now.
  3. You should not try to compensate for lost productivity by working longer hours.
  4. You will be kind to yourself and not judge how you are coping based on how you see others coping.
  5. You will be kind to others and not judge how they are coping based on how you are coping.
  6. Your team’s success will not be measured the same way it was when things were normal.

Furthermore, here are some important Tips that I created with respect to navigating life during Covid-19:

  • Structure your day so that it gives you some sense of normalcy and you will feel productive and purposeful otherwise, it’s easy to lose yourself and become bored or worse by immersing yourself in your job…working overtime to the point of burn out!
  • Start your day with a prayer, gratitude journal, meditation.  I found that doing meditation during lunch time works for me as it helps to balance my day and keeps me refreshed in the afternoon.
  • Recognize that above all else, health care is important.  Just because you see other people making their businesses boom during this quarantine time or others being extra creative, don’t think you need to come up with the latest invention or fit every little thing into this time of isolation.  Go at your own pace, we all deal with situations differently.  Some days we’ll want to be productive while other days we’ll just want to relax.  Allow yourself to grieve any loss you are experiencing, and mentally process all that has been going on.
  • There’s always something to do (if you feel up to it).  For instance, clean out that basement or paint that room that you’ve been holding off on.  Learn a new skill or trade online, research entrepreneurs, take classes that interest you.  A lot of the sessions online now are free or at a considerably less cost!  Especially if our dream was to take a class with that acting or life coach who doesn’t live in your city and perhaps lives on the other side of the world..there is so much more access to online resources that we never had Pre-Covid.
  • Limit your watching and listening to the News.  Get the important info that you need then turn off that TV, Radio, or that horrifying WhatsApp video a friend just sent to you about “how the virus really started” and “how are all doomed anyway so we might as well give up now”.  It won’t do us any good to constantly be bombarded with how high the death toll keeps getting per minute!  Moreover, talk to a trusted friend or loved one or a Professional and talk about your feelings or take advantage of Employee Assistance Programs.  I tend to set boundaries for myself nowadays regarding conversations I have, we have to be open and honest with each other if there are certain elements of this virus situation we aren’t comfortable discussing or listening to.
  • Making an exercising routine and daily activity is important especially when working from home.  Remember to get up and move every 30 minutes from your work station and do the 20/20/20 rule for eye care.  What is the 20/20/20 rule you ask?  Let me tell you! The rule says that for every 20 minutes spent looking at a screen, a person should look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds.  This will reduce eye strain and minimize headaches you may experience after staring at the screen for long.  I recently stumbled upon this rule as I myself experienced eye strain within the first week of working from home and ended up having to take a few days off!  To further assist with my eye care I purchased a larger monitor for myself along with anti-glare glasses.  Important note: Remember to look into being able to claim expenses for working from home during this Covid-19 pandemic!
  • Connect with family, friends, and colleagues on platforms like Zoom, and Houseparty.  Binge watch your favourite show or find a new documentary to check out.  Join that DJ’s Instagram Live session or that Dance company’s Dance-A-Thon. I’ve been downloading Apps to practice my shooting and editing skills.  Expand your knowledge on your favourite subjects! Don’t forget, there are also a lot of ways to donate and give back to the community on reputable charity websites.
  • Lastly, drum role please for this one……do not forget to congratulate yourself for doing your part and staying in as much as possible thus, staying safe!!!  Thank you for preserving our humanity.  At the end of the day…we are all in this together!  We will come out of this BETTER and STRONGER!!

 

Sharma MacDonald - My Quarantine Life Blog 4
Me in my anti-glare glasses for my computer screen!

**The mask in my feature image was made by my lovely Aunt Hope :)**

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