I’m looking at at least three more weeks of working from home, likely longer, but I’m still trying to prepare myself for life on the other side of all of this. I know things won’t go completely back to normal even when I’m back at work, but my social life is already picking back up with park hangouts and socially-distanced walks with friends. Staying at home for the better part of two months with only my roommate and my boyfriend to hang out with was quite the eye-opener. While I kept mostly a normal schedule (waking up and working out at 6 a.m. and working from 9-5), I didn’t have any of my evening commitments like happy hours and organization meetings that normally keep me from the things I accomplished during quarantine. I read 3 times the amount I normally would have — partly due to picking up my book-cheating habit again — because I just didn’t have anything else to do! It’s made me think about what changes I’d like to keep around in my post-quarantine life. Let’s get started!
1// More dedicated time reading.
I’ve been flying through books during this time. Part of that is due to not having any evening plans aside from watching TV shows with my roommate, but part of it is also me committing my time to reading more. Ever since I discovered Libby, I’ve been reading an insane amount. I listen to audiobooks when I workout and get ready in the morning, read my e-book before bed or on my lunch break, and read another (physical) book in the mornings and evenings when I have free time. I want to continue dedicating this much time to reading since it’s 100% my best form of self-care.
2// Spending time with friends and family on a budget.
One of my favorite things from this time under a Stay-At-Home Order has been hanging out with friends for free! I love spending time with my friends, but I don’t always love doing it over a pricey meal. This time has forced us to get inventive and really check in with each other. Since the weather has been so nice, my small group of friends and I have been hanging out in a neighborhood park (six feet apart, I promise) to soak up some sun and catch up. It’s cheap, fun, and one of the most unexpected things to come out of this time for me to find myself loving, but here I am!
3// Treating myself to one nice thing a month.
Since I haven’t been going out with friends or eating out as much, I have saved more than a few hundred dollars in the last few months. I treated myself to some Margaux flats back in April, and it was such an amazing treat to myself because (1) I knew I had the money to do it, and (2) it’s something I’ve been lusting over for months! I love this new ritual of treating myself to something I’ve been eyeing for a while rather than making impulse purchases throughout the month. Making a list now of things I’ll purchase later to look forward to.
4// Focusing on the things that better my mental health.
During this time, I’ve really been focusing on my mental health. I’ve had so much extra time in the mornings and evenings to really do the things that set me up for success — reading, working out regularly, journaling — and I want to make sure I continue to dedicate time to those things because they make me a better me in the long-run.
5// Remembering that small steps lead to big changes.
I’m known for my all-or-nothing mentality, but this time has really taught me that small steps are okay —taking breaks is okay. This carries from my workout schedule to my attitude toward taking breaks during the workday. Getting the work done is important, don’t get me wrong, but taking care of myself needs to be my number one priority. If that means working until 8 p.m. because I needed to take two 30 minute breaks, that’s okay. Or, if it means taking a rest day because I had a particularly difficult workout and my body needs to rest, that’s okay, too. Just because I took one day off doesn’t mean I’ll lose all momentum. Small steps lead to big change.
6// Sharing my daily gratitudes.
I started sharing a daily gratitude list of three things I am grateful for after seeing Carly do it. I was inspired to pick up my old habit. When I was really struggling post-grad, I wrote down three things I was grateful for every day before I dove into work. Since coronavirus, I’ve been sharing them on Instagram at the end of the day trying to reflect on the good things that day brought me. It’s been so crucial for my mental health, and I definitely think it’s something I’m going to keep up. People really seem to like it too.