At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, our COO shared a quote with the entire team that has stuck with me ever since. She said: “You’re not working from home, you’re home working through a pandemic.”
If anything, working from home through quarantine has taught me that in this season of life, I’m not okay … and that’s okay. So, my #WFH experience is more about how I’m home (and working and surviving) through this pandemic.
So, here are the things I’ve done during quarantine, as told by me:
1. Created Plans To Remodel My House
You don’t realize how much you want to change about your house until you work in it every. Single. Day.
For example, I realized how much I hated the color of my walls, so I repainted two rooms. Through Zoom calls, I saw how my off-white trim really looked yellow, so I’m currently repainting all the trim in my house.
I realized our bathroom needed a makeover, so I created a moodboard (with pricing and links) to remodel our bathroom (until my husband vetoed that one). I created plans to add on to our guest room.
You name it, I probably thought of doing it when it comes to home improvement.
2. Bought a Cat Off Craigslist
Yes, you read that correctly. My husband and I weren’t really cat people growing up. I was always raised with an outdoor cat, but my love for cats just didn’t exist. It wasn’t until we were watching Taylor Swift’s Miss Americana documentary that we both realized we wanted a cat … more specifically, Taylor Swift’s cat.
Yes, this was definitely quarantine brain speaking. #GoWithIt
So, I decided to hop on Craigslist, and there she was. Our very own Scottish Fold kitten for sale right up the road from us. It was like it was meant to be. We picked her up the next day, and she has been ruling the house and melting our hearts ever since.
One of the biggest highlights of quarantine has been her, my little Taco. She makes working from home so much more fun, and she brings joy throughout the stressful times (except when she steals my airpods and I can’t find them for days …)
Shameless Plug: Of course, she has an Instagram. You can follow her life at @talkingbouttaco.
3. Started Almost 10 Books
I absolutely LOVE to read. It’s my escape. There’s nothing more calming to me than opening a book and visiting a whole new world for a little while.
At the beginning of 2020, I made a personal goal to read 25 books this year. How’s that going, you ask? It’s not.
March hit and I was so excited to start reading Glennon Doyle’s new book, Untamed — something I’ve been looking forward to since I first heard about it. Then quarantine happened, and it’s like something shifted in me. I could not finish a book.
Over the last few months, I’ve started probably 10 novels, from self-help to romance (and everything in between), and I couldn’t complete any of them. It wasn’t until last weekend, almost four months since quarantine started, that I finally finished one book.
One book! Normally, I would be appalled. But I keep reminding myself that these aren’t normal times. You have to celebrate the small victories. So, I did a little awkward dance to celebrate and kept telling myself, “Keep on keeping on. You got this girl.”
4. Bought a Guitar
It’s always been a lifelong dream of mine to learn to play the guitar. I played the flute in middle school and always wanted to learn something “cool” and less nerdy. I wanted to be Taylor Swift and write killer lyrics about my love life and play along with my acoustic guitar. Only problem is … I lack rhythm. It’s bad.
But, at the beginning of the pandemic, I told myself I would learn something new during quarantine. I would better myself. So, I bought a guitar. And I played that sucker for one solid week. It has been collecting dust ever since.
5. Bought a Peloton
You’re probably thinking, “This girl bought a lot of things during quarantine.” Well, yes, but that’s not what this blog post is about. After months of trying to convince my husband that a Peloton would really help us work out more, I finally wore him down.
Our Peloton was delivered a month into quarantine, and now I can’t picture working from home without it. It’s like something changed in me once I had the ability to workout from the comfort of my own home. Being able to jump on the bike and do a quick workout in between meetings or after a hard day at work has done wonders for my mental health.
Working from home isn’t always rainbows and butterflies, but having a way to release the stress and overthinking from a bad day has really helped in more ways than one.
6. Took a Trip
Yes, I got away. With multiple masks and hand sanitizer packed, my husband and I escaped to the West Coast and drove up the Pacific Coast Highway to explore California. It was breathtaking. It was my escape … literally.
I allowed my mind to calm down from all its overthinking and just relax and enjoy my surroundings. We saw surfers and seals, bridges and piers, mountains and lighthouses, and miles upon miles of deserts and beaches. And I found my inner peace.
Looking back at my anxiety from working at home, I think a lot of it built up from being told I couldn’t do things … I couldn’t go to this park, I couldn’t eat at this restaurant, and mainly that I couldn’t travel. Taking the risk and flying out to California where my husband and I could socially distance while exploring gave us both fresh, clear minds. It allowed us to be in our happy place and forget, for a little while at least, the pandemic and all the anxiety that came with it.
Pre-COVID, I was in a place where I felt like I always had to be doing something. I always needed to be productive. And that’s how I felt at the beginning of this pandemic. I told myself, “Since I have the opportunity to be at home, I should be even more productive than I was before.”
But slowly I realized that things weren’t okay. I wasn’t productive. I wasn’t in the mental space to be productive. It was hard to do anything around the house after working from home all day. It was hard to workout when nothing was open. I was struggling. But after a few months, I realize that this is okay. I’m not the only one feeling this way.
Bottom line is, I’m learning to embrace my discomfort, learn from it, and learn more about myself. Yes, I bought a lot of things during quarantine. And yes, I failed at a lot of things during quarantine (one day I’ll pick that guitar up again …). But I’m giving myself a pass right now, and I’m realizing I’m only human. Working from home has had its ups and downs—but for me the biggest up has been focusing on my mental health.
So to all who need to hear this: You got this. You’re not alone. Keep on keeping on. It’s all going to be okay.