Monday, April 6, 2020

Hot Take: Sheltering-in-Place Is The Best Thing To Ever Happen To Me

ready to watch Tiger King... again.

COVID-19, the coronavirus that is shaking an entire world, has caused us all to socially distance and shelter-in-place. My office went remote FOUR weeks ago (March 11th) and it’s been a long, weird time. As a homebody, I expected it wouldn’t be much different than my usual life. But as things slowly started getting taken away (like being within six feet of friends, going to restaurants, being able to walk in Total Wine without waiting in LINE... ) I started to go a little crazy. 

This virus is very concerning, and I’m taking it seriously. I’ve basically only left the house to walk my dog or to go grocery shopping. OK fine, I went to Target once or twice for non-grocery related items. But how do you expect me to work from a home devoid of springtime throw pillows?!?! I'm washing my hands a lot, sanitizing everything… but I cannot for the life of me stop touching my face. That aside, I’ve come to terms with this shelter-in-place order and while I cannot wait to go to a fucking restaurant again, I think this precautionary situation has actually made a positive impact on my life. 

I’m connecting more. I’ve had a constant group chat going with four of my closest friends for the past two weeks. I’m checking in on more people throughout the country and my community, and a lot more people have been checking in with me. My mother comes over several times a week to walk my dog (I’m sleeping when this happens so we don’t technically interact… and she makes me sanitize everything after she leaves.) My sister has even been texting me back, which is HUGE. I even get really excited to go to the park to walk the dog because it’s the only human interaction I have all day. Overall, I feel more connected to my co-workers, my friends and for whatever reason, I just find people are being a bit more kind and gracious.

I’m moving a lot. Before all this mess, I would (try to) work out 3-4 times a week at my barre/yoga studio in Melrose. But because I’ve been teaching improv more at night, and facilitating more during the day, I haven’t been able to fit the studio times into my schedule. Now, I have literally nowhere else to be. And I don’t have to worry about the time it takes to commute to and from the studio. A 9:15 class in the past would require at least 30 extra minutes scheduled into my day. Now, I can roll off the couch to do a class around 9:13, hobble over to the shower and be back online at 10:20. I’ve taken 5-6 classes a week! And they’re actually really fun to do at home! I don’t feel the quality or experience is being sacrificed.

My house has never been cleaner. I have been way more on top of chores because it’s been easy to sweep or Swiffer while listening in on a conference call, and also doing a chore is a nice break in my day. If I’m looking at a screen too long, I’ll throw on a podcast and do the dishes for a 10-15 minute break. I have replaced batteries, organized my fridge, changed pictures in frames, cleaned out my purse, put all of my grocery bags inside each other like a Russian nesting doll… I EVEN DUSTED. I WENT OUT AND BOUGHT A DUSTER AND I DUSTED. Times, they are a-changing.

Anxiety has severely reduced. Except for my anxiety for the WORLD right now, my personal anxiety has reduced significantly. Without commuting, I don’t have to deal with traffic or being pushed up against a million people on the train. Without in-office conversations, people are prioritizing tasks and not requesting things with the same sense of urgency they might have in the past. I have also noticed emails and conversations are more thought through and less reactionary. Scientifically speaking, my amygdala is being triggered way less which is causing less cortisol to be released and a higher increase in serotonin/oxytocin because conversations are better and there are less distractions to cause me stress. Ya dig? 

I’m learning a lot. I’m going through 2-3 books a week. I’ve watched many documentaries (you guys, “Tiger King”), I’ve been taking the time to slow down and actually read full articles and understand more of what’s happening in the world. 

I’ve been learning a lot about myself (ugh, gross) and what I want “normal” to look like when things return to "normal." The world is going to be a different place, and I think there is some good in that. It’s a good time to look at what wasn’t “serving” me and leave it back in early March 2020 before the world flip-turned-upside-down. Can you fucking believe we’re only a quarter into the year?! 

TL;DR (is that still a thing?): This is a serious, scary situation. I’m grateful to be able to stay home, continue to work and do my best to not contract the illness and overwhelm the medical professionals.. But I’m also grateful for the collective pause we’re all taking, and I’m using it as an opportunity to be better on the other side. 

I’m also grateful that liquor stores are considered “essential businesses” and stockpiling wine is ABSOLUTELY something I will also continue to do on the other side. Frankly, I don't think I'll have a choice. Because I'm pretty sure I have now transformed into the full-blown Irish Catholic Alcoholic Bostonian I was destined to become. 

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