Covid-19 / Self-Care is Chocolate Icing on Toast

Anyone who knows me know that I don’t do well when faced with unavoidable reality. It’s been a funny few weeks — my book is finally finished-finished and out on submission after rounds of revisions and more beta feedback than I knew what to do with. I thought that would be my greatest battle this season, that being on sub and knowing my kids are in NYC would be my greatest source of anxiety.

I wish it was.

I am lucky that my work has not closed yet. People still, apparently, cannot function without their skinny vanillas and sous-vide egg bites. Most of us have been sick on and off for the last few months, the cycle going something like: Group A is sick which means Group B has to work extra, which means Group B gets sick which means Group A has to work extra etc. etc. Between February and now, I used up all the sick pay accumulated since I started, and I’m still not 100%. Anyway.

Right now, I’d rather be at work. At home, I have been struggling to focus on anything. I feel bad that I’m not head-down working on my next project. I can’t even pick a project! I read ten pages of a book then switch books. Same with Switch games. Same with housework. My mental health has been its worst since I started medication in December.

Something needed to change because we have absolutely no idea how long all this chaos will last, and it’s certainly going to get worse before it gets better.

So this is my plan:

  • I am prioritizing myself. I am checking in actively with myself constantly, and I’m not going to make myself do anything I don’t want to.
  • Productivity is not a priority. This is really hard for me. I like to get things done, and I like to get them done now. But I’m allowed to rest. I have just finished a book and the world is in the middle of a pandemic. I’m allowed to stop.
  • I am setting myself timers and planning my day as though I’m at work, knowing what I’m doing two steps ahead but no more, allowing for things to shift. Today, so far, I did the dishes, I read for 45 mins, I showered, and now I’m doing computer work. Next, I will have a cup of tea and an hour of Switch, then I’m going to write.
  • My goals are not to achieve anything other than piece of mind.
  • Dress up, keep clean, remember I’m a human being. My method when I’m feeling crap is to put on a fancy dress and make myself feel like I’m going out to do something important. Even if I could be spending the day in my pyjamas, if I did that, I’d just be waiting for the day to be done. On that note:
  • I am not going to live my life waiting for the future. Whether that’s regarding Corona or sub, I am going to live full in my present and enjoy my life as it is right now. Even if it’s weird AF.
  • I am limiting exposure to Corona talk. I have pushed away my FB app, I have asked my writing group to keep epidemic talk to its own thread, and I am allowing myself to only engage when it’s right for me. I really love apocalypse fiction, and unfortunately all those stories are forefront in my head right now. I need to look after myself and my family.

I think it’s easy to feel selfish at times like these, but know that your survival is paramount and you need to do what’s right for YOU.

Also don’t go to Starbucks. Brew at home. No-one died from not having a peppermint mocha!

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