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Most, if not all, of our lives have been turned upside down the past few weeks. I will be honest with y’all: I haven’t been dealing with the lock down all that well. It’s been a difficult three weeks, as I’m sure it has been for everyone else. I’ve been avoiding talking about the COVID19 pandemic, the lock down, and working from home on the blog. I’ve scattered a few thoughts in some recent YouTube videos, but I haven’t really sat with all of these changes and dealt with where my head and heart are until the weekend of April 4-5th.
I am counting my lucky stars that three weeks ago I was given permission to work from home. So many people didn’t get the same luxury. They were deemed essential and have to go into work anyway. So many people lost their jobs as well. This pandemic has changed so much in such a small amount of time, and I am struggling like so many of you.
Working from home has come with its own set of troubles like a huge break in communication despite having the tools to keep the lines of communication open. I have found myself skipping breakfast and lunch, forgoing breaks, forgetting to take my medication, and forgetting to keep hydrated. Work life and home life have overlapped, and I have had a hard time separating the two. Things at home demand my attention, but I have to get my work done. I feel like I must be cleaning, doing laundry, and organizing when I need to be working. And on the weekends, I try to shut the door to the spare room to keep myself from going in and playing catch-up.
Self isolating sounds like it should be second nature to an introvert, but I’ve realized I get all of my interaction from my co-workers and the gym. I feel lonely and sad. I have a couple of group chats I’m a part of but it doesn’t replace in-person interaction. Of course, I have my husband when he’s home from work, but our schedules don’t really align. He’s at home while I’m working. He’s at work while I’m at home. We have only been leaving the house for necessities like groceries, work, and vet appointments for Padme.
I couldn’t write this post and not talk about my sweet dog Padme. She has been diagnosed with IMT. It’s deadly autoimmune disease. Her body is attacking her platelets, and a low platelet count means she is in danger of bleeding out from even a micro tear. I tried to explain everything the best I could on Twitter a month ago, but basically she got better and now she’s worse than when we found out she has IMT. All we can do is continue the medication for now and hope she improves. UPDATE: Her platelets are back up, and we are attempting to taper the medication again.
We have been taking her to the vet amidst the pandemic. The vet-techs come to my car in gloves and masks to take her. They run their tests, call me for payment over the phone, then bring her back to the car. She has to be handled gently so we have been trying to find ways to prevent injuries besides picking her up for stairs and having her on strict bedrest. We bought a pet gate for the kitchen to keep her out while we cook, and we also bought a ramp to use for the couch and our bed to keep her from jumping off.
With all of what is happening in the world plus Padme’s situation on top of my mental health being absolute garbage, I’ve just been barely holding it together. I haven’t been eating well or exercising. The gym was my sanctuary, and lifting made me feel my best. Meal prep took up a lot of my time, and right now it just doesn’t feel worth doing.
The past week though, I have been eating when I’m hungry (and not just constantly), and I’m jumping on my exercise bike when I want to play a game. My trainer even reached out to offer virtual training so I’m excited to give that a try too. The few things that are starting to shine a light on this dark situation have made me think about other ways I can try to cope through this situation.
Coping in Self Isolation
- Making a schedule for Monday-Friday. When I was physically going to work I had a schedule for breakfast, lunch, and breaks to walk. Now I am making one for at home so I can make sure I’m eating meals, drinking enough water, and getting away from my desk to get in some steps every day.
- Getting ready for the day – even if that means changing into new pajamas. I always used to take my medication as I was getting ready in the morning. Now I can make sure to do my skincare routine, brush my teeth, and take my medication before logging into work rather than simply rolling out of bed and sitting at the desk then wearing the same pajamas to bed that night.
- Exercising for at least thirty minutes a day. Not including a couple of breaks to walk away from the desk, I would like to start exercising again with some at-home workouts and training virtually with my personal trainer. Working out makes me feel good, helps me sleep better, and gives me more energy. Does it suck not being able to lift weights? Yes, but that doesn’t mean I have to give up on exercising all together.
- Making time for down time. I am a self-confessed workaholic. I often feel guilty for taking time for myself. While I admit that I have somewhat been more productive working from home, communication aside, I am still having trouble with separating work and home. Implementing some time to just play some games or write or watch Netflix is going to be essential while I continue to work from home.
- Spending more time away from social media. Some of you may have already noticed that my Instagram has been quiet, and Twitter has only been updated sporadically. I even took down my blog’s Facebook page some time back and replaced it with what will one day be a page for my graphic design business. Social media has rarely been an escape for me at this time. That doesn’t mean you won’t see any posts from me! They will just be fewer and farther between right now until my mental health gets better.
- Spending more time with those that matter most. My husband is considered an essential employee so he’s still working outside of our home. While obviously I am very worried for his health, throughout this pandemic we’ve been able to make more time to spend together. We take walks, cook together, enjoy a few episodes of Stargate with dinner… It’s been nice to reconnect, and it’s also helped my anxiety a bit.
Usually this is the part where I wrap up this mental health post with a pretty little bow. I don’t think a bow belongs on this one. Life is messy right now. Even with my little list to help me, there will still be days I can’t get out of bed or get off the couch, that I eat out of boredom or fear all day, that I hold Padme and cry my eyes out, and that my anxiety gets the best of me. I think all we can do now is be there for each other in this online space as much as we can. Lean on each other and let others lean on you.
How are you coping (or not coping) with the current situation? Do you have any ideas for those of us still struggling? Let’s share ideas in the comments below!
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