A mental refresh

I was hoping to use this time of self-isolation to work more on projects. So far, it hasn’t panned out that way. I have the privilege of retaining a paying job through this crisis. And while many people are working from home, and others have to work in fairly close proximity to the public in groceries and hospitals and pharmacies, I can still come into my office, where it’s very easy to socially distance from the few other people coming in. I’m sure it would still be much better for me to stay at home, and that’s an option. I stayed home for a couple weeks while my wife and I were dealing with cold symptoms that could have been something else, just to be safe. We’re both fine, but that time of disruption to my routine was harder on me emotionally than I expected. The days bled together. Rather than being more productive, tackling more writing projects and getting more done around the house, I devolved into my worst habits from my younger years. I’ve been inactive. I’ve eaten a lot of unhealthy foods. I’ve played a lot of video games, mostly nostalgic titles for me instead of anything challenging or fresh. So many hours of video games.

I’m lucky. I could go back into work and restore my routine to some degree. I’m still more inactive than usual. Thankfully, I’ve at least avoided putting on more weight, though my weight loss goals have been derailed for the time being. But it’s amazing how that lack of a routine, even while being able to work from home, disrupted so much of my life and my mental and physical health. It took a couple days of being back at the office to realize I was bouncing back from depression.

Again, I’m so lucky to have a job and to continue to be able to meet my financial obligations. I’m lucky to work in an area in which it’s easy to social distance. I’m lucky that I don’t always have to work from home. It’s still a weird time, and I think the ramifications of this pandemic and our national response to it are affecting us all in weird and sometimes unexpected ways. This too shall pass, and while the eventual reopening of the economy and public life (probably months from now) will surely look different than our pre-coronavirus norms, it’s good to remember that things will reopen, that there will be some sort of return to normalcy. And these disruptions will be worth it in the lives saved.

For now, I’m going to go easy on myself. I hope to post on here close to regularly. I won’t expect more of myself than that. If I take on new projects, that’ll be good too, but I don’t need to demand that of myself. It’s okay.

I certainly don’t mean to downplay the suffering of so many people, from sickness and death and lost jobs and low incomes and exposure to potential harm and exacerbated anxiety in the face of an onslaught of distressing news. But it was nice to write this out and give myself a little space to vent and to reflect.

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