When I snapped this picture, I had no idea what March 2020 had in store for not only myself, but the world at large. [Also: If you can't tell, this is a picture of my calendar for March.]
It's amazing how quickly things can change. How rapidly life pulls itself together—only to collapse all over the floor, a puddle of spilled milk.
Today, we're edging closer to the dregs of March and I cannot help but wonder WHAT THE FUCK the rest of 2020's got in store for us, the biggest question on my mind being: How long will all of this realistically last?
I've heard six months. I've heard over a year.
It's been strange, embracing this complete powerlessness — having to sit in its messiness, like a baby left in a dirty diaper. Now, I'm the sort of person who believes everything that happens isn't something we could've escaped or prevented. [This is partly a spiritual standpoint, but it's mainly a scientific one: I do not believe in linear time, and therefore I cannot believe in free will, which is a mutually exclusive philosophy. But this is a talk for another day, with a couple bottles of wine!]
With that being said, I don't lament the events that've transpired. I refuse to cry over spilled milk, and in plenty of ways this gives me peace. However, while I've made peace with the past — I still need to make peace with the future. Obviously, life's not going to return to status quo for a long time and therefore, adapting to this inevitability is key.
However, I'm terrible at adapting, lol. I'm an ironclad Taurus, and the recipe for my success can't be made without one critical ingredient — and that is routine. Already, I've felt the pangs of not being able to do the small things that feel big, like writing at a café or visiting Barnes & Noble or enjoying my near-daily Hot Yoga practice.
Again, these are [without a doubt] small things, but they feel big. They feel like my world, my life, the things that make life enjoyable. And this is just talking day-to-day activities — I've got loads of travel plans and big events planned for 2020, and now they're all in jeopardy.
Reconciling the reality of all of this, and adjusting accordingly, is going to be very challenging — but I've started organizing a plan of action that I'm hoping will help this along. I figured I'd share that plan here in hopes of it inspiring somebody — anybody — else! :)
STEP ONE is creating a new normal by cultivating a new routine that I adhere to rigidly. [I realize this is obvious, and we're all trying to do this, but whatever.] I'm trying to take the things that I've come to love most about my old, pre-coronavirus life and implement them into my new one with consistency and strategy.
So, take writing at a café for example: I've ordered a small cappuccino machine online, as well as a new mug, and a couple organic flavored syrups. I keep the table I work at super organized and the booth I sit at comfortable, with a blanket and pillows. I've even started keeping a collection of pastries around the house.
Basically, I've tried to replicate the environment of a café: all of the sights, scents, flavors [and the sounds, even, if I listen to "café sounds" on YouTube] of a coffee shop, right at home! The key here is that I'm only allowed to enjoy these things during the workweek — when I'd normally go work at a café — so this continues to feel like a treat.
STEP TWO is continuing to "get ready" every morning. Now, I'm the sort who VERY RARELY puts on makeup [not because I dislike it but because I'm legitimately that lazy, and my sense of vanity died a swift death right after High School], so makeup isn't a requirement here — but taking ten minutes to wash my face, brush my hair and teeth, and wear actual clothes?
Whelp, that's now required — and while I hate those ten minutes, I feel excellent afterward.
STEP THREE is staying active, and specifically, spending time outdoors. Today, sadly, is off-limits for this goal, because it's snowed nearly a foot [and it's still blizzarding as we speak]. But for the most part? This is essential. I'm a Taurus, after all, and I'm obsessed with nature — sunlight and fresh air are a cure-all.
Because my hot yoga studio is closed for the foreseeable future, I have had to completely reform my practice. Now, I'll take it outside, at around 1 or 2 o'clock in the afternoon, when the day is at its warmest and brightest. I meditate afterward for about thirty minutes, basically milking what's left of the daylight, and always, always feel better afterward.
On days like today, with loads of snow? Well, I live in a very small camper, so there's really no way of doing a full yoga practice — but I will stretch and do a few poses, and usually treat myself to an afternoon reading in bed! :)
If I've got the time, that is. And for that? I'll make time!
STEP FOUR has become absolutely essential, and that's monitoring my consumption of the news with unwavering, constant vigilance. We're in the heart of this disaster [I hope, at least] and every minute presents a new, important development — this makes avoiding the "scroll hole" a super challenging task. But it's easily the most important one.
Tell the people in your life that you're working to distance yourself from this, and ask if they'd be willing to inform you of any groundbreaking changes that require your immediate attention [such as a "shelter at home" announcement]. I know that if I don't see something, my boyfriend will be quick to alert me — and so will my family and close friends. This takes the pressure off a little bit.
While it's still a struggle, I've noticed a near-instant positive shift in my mental health.
I hope you're all faring well and protecting yourselves! It's a wild time. For now, I raise my mug of cinnamon-sprinkled coffee to you. Let's not forget that we're all in this together — even if we've got to stay at least six feet apart. <3