Many cities and states across the country are starting to lift stay-at-home orders, with some people abandoning their self-isolation efforts. I am still staying home as much as possible, as difficult as it may be right now.
Over these last few weeks, I’ve tried to find the silver lining in all of this, and for most, it’s a pretty tough thing to spot. I started looking at my days and wondering what parts of them I’d keep post-quarantine.
I know lots of people who’ve used this time at home to clean out closets (literally and figuratively), pick up new hobbies or rekindle love for their families.
In a lot of ways, quarantine life isn’t much different than the life I had beforehand — on the surface, anyway. I have been working from home for awhile, have been using meal delivery since 2015, have cooked most of my meals since college, and have made an effort to support small businesses.
But, I also lost clients and revenue during this time; my anxiety has been heightened, and I’ve struggled with self-motivation and getting.a decent night of rest.
So, after two full months in self-isolation, here’s what I’ll be keeping around after the Q (whenever that will be):
Being Kind to Myself
I honestly don’t think I fully understood what this term meant until quarantine. As a single person who lives far from family, it’s been easy to put myself first most of the time. But, during self-isolation, I really have been doing whatever I want. Don’t want to set an alarm? Ok. Want to soak in the tub at 5pm? Sure. Feel like watching Freddie Prince Jr. movies over and over? Do it.
I caught myself starting a project one day — working on my patio garden — and then just totally abandoning it after only an hour. I didn’t feel like it anymore and I let myself move on to the next thing. The gardening was waiting for me when I was ready.
Of course, I still have work to do and have to keep some bit of a normal life and I want to stay healthy for my own sake. But, I want to continue to allow myself grace if my day doesn’t look like my neighbor’s or if it turns out different than I’d planned. In the end, it’s going to be okay.
Doing Things With Intention
This has been a big goal of mine since I started meditating in 2018. But, a few weeks ago, I realized that I’d fallen into a routine of listening to a podcast while I cooked dinner and then actually sitting down with my meal at my kitchen island (I don’t have a dining table) instead of in front of the TV. I would eat my meal while finishing the podcast, and even kitty Blanche would sit next to me. It was such a simple, nice way to actually enjoy the meal I just cooked instead of mindlessly wolfing it down.
I want to keep doing this, and keep doing one thing at a time — not watching TV while working on other stuff, or only reading when I’m waiting to do something else. Doing things with intention is so much more fulfilling.
Donating to Causes on a Regular Basis
I have always wanted to help when I can, and over the years, I have always donated during the holidays and during times of disaster. Even though my funds have been tighter during this time, I found ways to donate to causes I care about — one cause per week — even if it was just $25 or if it was buying an item that went to a cause.
I want to continue giving this year, even as this thing changes into good things or bad things — I know the effects of this are going to last and I want to support my community and the causes I care about.
Making Mindful Purchases
I have never been one to randomly buy things or to purchase things I don’t need (or really, really want). Part of this is because I’ve never had much disposable income and another part of it is because I binged on “The Minimalists” podcast in 2014 and portions of it are seared into my brain.
But when I lost so much work, I really tightened up my spending. No more beauty hauls if I’m not wearing makeup. No clearance aisle purchases “just for fun.” By giving purchases a second thought (before buying), I saved myself money and really considered the hassle that so many people would have to go through to get it to me. Yes, I want to support businesses, but not by purchasing items I don’t really need.
When I wanted to spruce up my patio garden, I did need to order several new plants, and I did (and was able to support smaller farms and nurseries instead of Lowe’s). But, I also reused soil, made a natural pesticide from pantry items, and scrubbed down old jars to make citronella candles. I had stuff in my apartment that was waiting to be used and it made the project that much better.
I also realized that, while I have never been great at saving money, the only thing that kept my sanity during this time was the small amount of savings I had tucked away (the stimulus check helped, too). So, I’ll definitely make saving a priority in case something like this were to ever happen again (God forbid).
Checking on Those I Care About
I really appreciate anyone and everyone who checked on me during this time — whether it was a text, email, call, whatever. I reached out to current and old friends, too. I know this has been a crazy time and I really do care about the people in my circle. I want to make sure I regularly check on folks, and not just in times of obvious stress, but just because life is full of twists and turns and we’ve got to be there for each other.
I don’t know what the rest of quarantine will bring, but I highly doubt I’ll develop the urge to clean my apartment or put on makeup two days in a row. But, I’d love to hear what parts of quarantine you’re planning to keep! Share them in the comments and you might inspire someone else, too.