It is Day 9 for my household in our world of social distancing and quarantine. My once empty-nest is now inhabited by my youngest child who was fortunately able to return from her studies abroad in one piece. That said, because she is in isolation, she is quarantined to two back rooms and a short hallway. Not much of an existence, but she had already been in isolation-mode in Portugal for three weeks prior to arriving home, so she is very much used to living in tiny spaces. She does, however, long for the day when she won’t have to wear gloves of the cleaning variety, because they are far too enormous for her little hands. Continuing on through her studies with this fashion statement makes for an interesting attempt at essay-writing! But then, it’s all about your mindset and she is currently rocking the look…from a huge distance…behind closed doors!
And that brings me to this idea of mindset in very challenging times. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I don’t do well with lots of time on my hands. My calendar is generally jam-packed with activities for school, family commitments or social obligations. On a good month, I have two to three evenings where I have nothing to do and only myself for entertainment. And believe me, I cherish those times. However, I also love being active and engaged in everything, so this new reality brought on by a pandemic is causing me to rethink my game plan. And that involves a change in my mindset, one that I’m working on daily.
Take Friday, for example. Time to do my laundry, I began hanging things up on our clotheshorse when I stepped in a fairly significant puddle in my laundry room. My first reaction was that my washer had tanked on me, but lo and behold, it was actually coming from outside. It seems that the snow had melted alongside my house at breakneck speed and filled my window wells above capacity. So, I spent a good portion of my evening draining water, drying out my laundry room and shoveling snow away from the house. At any other time in my life, I would have been irritated by the whole idea of mini-flood clean-up. But on Friday night, it kept me busy and I ‘welcomed’ the challenge as a diversion from the quiet of the evening. This change in mindset helped me get through a frustrating hiccup in my everyday life.
This pandemic has also allowed me the opportunity to walk regularly, something that I really enjoy but that I don’t always have the time to do. I may have been a tad overzealous in my desire to be outside, because, by the fourth walk last Saturday, our pooch was finding every possible hiding place in the house when she saw me coming. So, I’ve learned to tamper my enthusiasm when it comes to getting her outdoors. Instead, I find time for myself, on the quietest routes possible so that I am not climbing over fences to ensure that I’ve given people on the street ample distance from me. And when the streets are empty, that is the best time to just be. This week, my 5-year-old self was doing a happy dance as I crunched all the ice on frozen puddles along my way to work, without a care in the world and nobody to comment on my stomping. As only a 5-year-old could be, I may have also been slightly irritated when somebody had actually done the ice crunching on one street before I got to it. Seriously!
I’ve also found time to meditate on a daily basis, and although I tried to do this regularly pre-social-distancing, it was sometimes a struggle to find time in the day because I had so much on my plate. Now, I can get to it without feeling the pressure of moving on to the next activity on my calendar! Definitely a bonus. I have also begun an 8-week course on the Science of Well-being. I realize that this continues to add to my plate, but it’s a good thing, because how can you not enjoy learning about happiness!
The downside to living a quarantine, social-distancing kind of life is that I have the four walls in my home to interact with, so I am now at a stage where I am talking out loud to myself…and am responding to my own voice! This is what happens when the only other person in the house is in quarantine-mode. The upside is that I am really enjoying my own responses, so I’d say that this is definitely a win-win!
My take-away from this first two weeks of life as we know it with COVID-19 is that I need to change my mindset. This pandemic will not last forever…I hope, as long as everybody does their part by continuing to practice social distancing and self-isolation. In the meantime, I am learning to settle down, to breathe and hopefully to understand what it means to be a bit more peaceful in my life. I’m choosing to find the positives!