This week marks the fourth week of me working from home (which is not home at all because I’m away from my family). And I should say it has been a tormenting yet empowering experience.
As a writer, I’m no stranger to this style of working. With a laptop and internet connection, I’m good to go. I can rely wholly on information technology to keep myself well fed and lead a decent life.
Yet, what makes the current work-from-home experience different is Coronavirus. It’s a milder version of Spanish Flu in 1919. It has a lower death risk, i.e. 3-4 percent, some claim. Therefore, we might not have to worry too much. Still we cannot completely forget the fact that the new virus is so contagious, and it can be not so lethal to some but very lethal to others. And there is no fine line to distinguish those who have better chances to survive and those who won’t survive after being cobtracted by the novel Coronavirus.
I myself have started working from home since 19 March 2020. This is actually several days late compared to the Jakarta gubernatorial declaration. I still could witness Jakarta and its last hectic days before it was withering like a ghost town, though not completely.
I should say that my takeaways from the whole month of working from home are as follows.
Manage time wisely
Stick to your previous daily schedule. Of course you must apply some adjustments here and there. But try to be as faithful as possible to it. For example, before the pandemic, I exercise almost every morning outdoors. But with all these physical and social distancing policy being implemented throughout the country, I must forget about it and try to modify my habit.
Why can’t I just stop working out? First and foremost, because workout is more than just a lifestyle to me. It helps me stay sane especially when I am so stressed out right now. Second, workout helps me boost my immunity system, which later helps me combat Coronavirus symptoms in case I get infected.
Speaking of other routines, I voluntarily postpone them all without making excuses, such as my weekly gymnastics exercise. Because it’s risky and the hall is also closed and inaccessible by public, I simply have no options but to pick other alternatives of exercise like yoga or home workout with resistance band and dumbbells and my own body weight.
Though sometimes I’m tempted to binge read or watch at night, I know it won’t help me work with my full level of mental clarity and focus during daylight. So I try to be disciplined with my bedtime, too, because I strongly believe that a good and satisfying bedtime is fundamental to my well-being.
You may think I’m lying but working from home with your body washed by water and with your body glistening with sweat and dirt offer different sensation. Water helps me, and hopefully you too, reactivate that brain in the morning, which needs to be working till the end of the day.
Showering in the morning after a good morning workout also clears out ‘those dark grey clouds from the sky’. Suddenly you feel everything is brighter and a lot more spacious. I’m serious about this.
Stay connected always
Thanks to technology and the internet, you can stay connected without even leaving your home. At first, I felt too shy about my screen time. “Really, should I just be more liberal towards this?” I thought.
But again, this pandemic is a whole new situation for us to experience. So this is an exception as well. And during exceptional times, some ‘violations’ are forgiven.
I’m not saying we should be lenient about screen time but accept the fact that your smartphone or laptop is now being the one and only tool you’ve got in hand so you can satisfy your needs as social creatures. So if you feel a bit lonely, it’s okay to turn on that laptop a little bit longer or chat with friends on Zoom or Microsoft Teams for hours.
Reach out to humans
I know we are destined to be a social creature who needs in-person interactions. So once in a while, you can still make interactions with other humans around you with your surgical mask or cloth mask worn correctly to cover your mouth and nose and keep a minimum physical distance of 1 meter.
Do things you’ll be proud of later
This could seem like a torture. I mean, daily chores and deadlines could be this type of things. But those are things you do to survive, to feed yourselves. But these things are your channels of vitality, your creativity outlets, with which you can become a true and liberated self. As for me, those may mean projects of my own. It has nothing to do with money, financial gains, profits, or loss. It is beyond economic spectrum. Doing this useful stuff may give meaning to our seemingly empty and meaningless life.
Do things to have sheer fun
You naturally do these without having to consult with others. These could be your hobbies or pastimes. It’s very much absolute liberation that gives no or very little value to other people. Only you can draw benefits from these things. I sometimes indulge in podcasts or nostalgic songs or even Korean dramas.
Laugh while you can
Watching comedy shows or sitcoms like “Friends” may be of great help for those who are depressed because they cannot get out of house. Or maybe you remember that hilarious coworker and decide to drop him or her a video call to entertain yourself.
I find consuming Covid news all day long ruins my mental health slowly but surely so this has to be kept at its lowest level. Stay updated but don’t be overly updated. Being obsessed with the latest development of the pandemic is killing our souls.Just listen or watch to news once a day and get back on your life track soon. It’s not that you don’t care about what is going on around you but to be sane, choose things you can do about and take control of, such as how many times and how thorough you wash your hands with soap every day. The rest is things you cannot control such as the death toll tally of the coronavirus pandemic. Do what you can to help improve the world in ways possible for you and then refocus on your life. (*/)