One Day at a Time: Finding The Balance Between Peace and Productivity in Quarantine

This smile is fleeting. I’m stressed AF too.

We’ve all had our worlds turned upside down and those of us that aren’t sick with or treating somebody with COVID-19 are struggling to figure out how to cope. It’s hard because we’re not allowed to do most of the things we used to do to cope with stress… which makes things stress-ier.

I closed my fitness studio on March 16th and have been holding classes and TRX workshops online since then, but my workload has dropped drastically. While my first month of quarantine was filled with chaos (and lots of evening cocktails) just trying to adapt and pivot my business, my second month is mellowing out and I’m starting to find my groove. I’ve gotten around to accepting the “new normal” (already tired of hearing that phrase) and am figuring out what works for me and what doesn’t.

Since this is looking like how things will be for a while, I can’t realistically live like I did in March and still be able to function at a high an acceptable level. Last week, week 6 of quarantine for me, I implemented some new things that are resulting in better daily habits for me. It’s bringing me a little bit more peace and helping to get me through the days a little easier. If you’re looking for ways to feel slightly better right now, here’s what’s working for me:

1. One Day at a Time with the To-Do List

If I try to focus on everything, I will focus on nothing. In order to avoid that overwhelming feeling that’s so prevalent right now, I have to narrow my shit down. Each morning when I wake up, I lay in bed and make a list in my Notes app of everything that needs to get done that day only. When the list is complete, I then edit to take out things that don’t really have to happen, then rearrange it into an order that makes sense and that’s what ends up guiding my schedule for the day.

What Helps Me: I KNOW getting outside makes me feel better, so I try to do this twice a day, even if it’s just sitting in the yard on the sunny days. I put it on my to-do list which gives me a feeling of accomplishment when I check it off. ; ) This gives me a little breather so I can go back and focus. #shoutout to Spring, who’s at least bringing the warm weather to enjoy during all this.

2. Cutting Back on the Booze

It’s really annoying that this helps, but it does. The first month I was having about 2 cocktails per night, sometimes 3, which is 14 per week (minimum). According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism, this puts me in the “heavy drinker” category as a woman. LAME. The good thing is, I didn’t feel like I had to drink. I just wanted to because I was bored and don’t have to wake up at 5:00am to teach fitness classes like usual. But after 3 weeks of drinking so much, I started noticing it. I felt shitty and my clothes were getting tighter. The dehydration caused by way more alcohol than normal didn’t help either. My workouts with my studio members felt harder and I was starting to dread it. This doesn’t work when you’re the one in charge of motivating all your clients, so I cut back.

For the past couple weeks I’ve cut back to around 4 drinks per week and I feel better. I’m sleeping better, which helps my energy during the day, and I’m consuming less sugar and empty calories, which means my pants fit regularly again. God, I miss being in my 20s when I felt generally unaffected by alcohol. Moving on…

3a. Adjusting What “Productivity” Means To Me Right Now

Getting things done right now looks way different than it did back in February. If you’ve got a full time job and kids at home, you’re basically being asked to work like you don’t have kids and parent like you don’t have work, WHICH IS NOT POSSIBLE. Trying to keep your job (if you’re lucky enough to still have one) and support your family simultaneously is hectic enough, so some things have to be let go, like having a clean house, working on that side project, or increasing your output this quarter like you may have planned. It’s easier said than done to “let it go” but we all kind of have to be realistic with how much we can accomplish given the circumstances. The good thing is that if your children have waylaid your house, no friends are coming over to visit and see it anyway. #gladgame

What Helps Me: While I can’t teach live classes and workshops like I usually do, I can train people online, try to submit articles to fitness publications, and get to some of the marketing initiatives for my studio that I’ve been putting off for a while. Since I’m self-employed, I’ve got to create my work to get paid, but I’ve also got to come to terms with the fact that I may not be crushing any business goals I set for the Spring.

My goal right now is to survive each day. And I’m going to keep that goal the goal. I have to eat food, stay clean, and stay away from people. I can focus on that.

3b. Dismissing the “Rules”

There are laws and ethic and moral responsibilities when it comes to leaving the house, but the rule book has been thrown out the window on basically everything else. No two days look the same (which is why none of us know what fucking day it is), so I don’t try to follow the same schedule each day.

I don’t feel bad about screen time or sleep time or if I should be reading a work book or learning a second language (although I did feel like getting back to my 5 minute Spanish lessons on Duolingo this week… which feels fun and distracting, not forced). Not having to be anywhere right now has given me a moment to remind myself about the difference of what actually needs to happen and what I feel like I should be doing. I can swoosh back and forth between work and rest a lot better now, I just have to be cognizant of it.

Moral of the Story:

Quarantining doesn’t have to be all or nothing when it comes to how I spend my day. I can let the pendulum swing back and forth between getting shit done and letting shit go. I am finding a little peace within my productivity to cover my bases with work, family, and self-care responsibilities. I hope you are finding ways to do the same. Stay safe and stay sane, y’all.

What are you guys doing (or not doing) right now that’s really working for you?

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