Back in March, when we first hunkered down to “flatten the curve”, we did our best to adapt to everyone being at home for work, school, and workouts. We set up new routines, picked up some new hobbies, learned how to cut our own hair; all while staying mentally and physically healthy. It is now December and with California in the purple tier and entering another shut down, we thought we’d share how things have changed this time around vs back in March:
Creating a Workspace
The first few weeks of quarantine, we had carved out some work space for ourselves. The kids were working from the kitchen table, Chet was working from the dining table and I had a corner of the living room where I had a temporary set up. As soon as we realized that this work from home and distance learning was going to be more permanent than any of us initially thought, we realized it was time to find a more sustainable solution. We upgraded the desks and chairs in the girls' rooms so that they would be comfortable doing distance learning for more than an hour at a time. Chet carved out a corner in the dining room and I converted the family room/playroom into my home office. We are all are enjoying our new set up and seem to be more productive : )
Back in March, I would get out early and take the dogs for a quick walk most mornings to get the day started. Once back, I would make my coffee, make a light breakfast for the family and be at my desk by 9:00 am for our daily team call. These days, I find myself hitting the snooze button a couple times before getting out of bed. Needless to say, the dogs are not getting out as much in the mornings and making breakfast is now a late morning thing since the girls don't want anything to eat until after their first class (usually around 10:00). Dogs are now are getting a walk in the evening to mark the end of the work day and before I jump into making dinner.
In the beginning, I made more of an effort to get ready and get dressed. I would do my skincare routine and change into jeans and a top. Lately, I've been leaning towards leggings and joggers instead of jeans. I'm finally embracing the althleisure uniform. I’ve noticed that the girls have followed suit. In the beginning, they would change into cute outfits but lately, I’ve been seeing a lot more sweatpants and sweatshirts.
I admit, I got into the whole sourdough craze - sourdough bread, sourdough pretzels, sourdough biscuits, and even sourdough banana bread. Anything to use up the discards. I've put my sourdough starter to rest and started binge-watching instead (can that even be a hobby?) Anyway, looking for show recommendations to watch on Netflix … Or maybe I'll start a new hobby. Embroidery, anyone?
Between March and December, things have changed a bit. The trend that I've noticed is I'm seeking more ways to slow down and items that bring comfort. It could be that its a little quarantine fatigue or it could just be that the days are getting shorter and the weather just a bit cooler. Either way, I'm okay with doing my part and abiding by the new restrictions and curfews.
Creating a Workspace:
I was incredibly lucky to be able to work from home before quarantine began this year! When lockdown started, I was less worried about carving out a workspace for myself (I already had an office space that worked well for me)... I was more worried about transitioning to having another non-canine coworker in the house! My husband started working from home as well at the kitchen table with his laptop. Today, his setup has upgraded with additional monitors and a big mousepad to make work a bit more comfortable.
The question I always get about our setup is "are you guys ready to kill each other yet?" 😂 It was an adjustment not being able to sing the Wicked soundtrack at the top of my lungs during the day, but otherwise it hasn't been much of a change! We are both very busy during the day, so we don't bother each other much. (Plus, there's another person to hush the dogs when I'm in a meeting and the mailwoman makes a stop by!)
When quarantine began, I had a lot of people ask how I separate work time from home time since I had already been working from home for a number of years. My answer was to always have a routine and I've stuck to it for the entirety of quarantine... for the most part.
Every morning before work, I take my dogs out for a walk or play fetch for about a half hour, and every night after work, I do the same thing. It makes me feel like I have bookends to my day and serves as a type of "commute" to work every morning!
That part of my schedule was easy to maintain. Other tasks like working out, on the other hand, have definitely dwindled since March. I have started waking up later which means less time to get up and run in the morning. And with the time change I have found I have zero motivation to work out once the sun is down and I'm hungry for dinner.
Looking back on March, I think this is one part of quarantine I would like to get back - the motivation that it gave me in the beginning to add productive routines to my schedule!
Another piece of advice I used to give people who asked about working from home was to get ready every day. While I still take this piece of advice seriously, my definition of "getting ready" has changed a bit.
Before sheltering in place, I considered it to be:
Now, I have absolutely loosened my rules. Now getting ready means:
Oddly, what seems to have remained consistently are the shoes. I'm not sure if it's because it makes me feel that I've left the house to get to work, or if it's because I'm constantly cold...
I hate to admit that I am a COMPLETE sheep when it comes to food trends, but... baaaah 🐑. The second I see a fun recipe or cooking technique, I have to try it. So it almost goes without saying that when I heard about Juli's sourdough adventures, I had to jump on the bandwagon too. I am still making the occasional loaf of bread or batch of bagels once every couple of weeks, but my baking has slowed down a lot.
On the other hand, my cooking hobbies have been reignighted since the beginning of quarantine! At first, I loved ordering in every meal, every day. "I'm supporting small businesses!" was a great excuse for my bi-weekly Indian food feast. That excitement has now died out after countless food comas and complaints of "Why did I order so much food and why did I think I had to eat it all? Also, where did all my money go?"
While I still order in occasionally to try and support my favorite restaurants, cooking new recipes at home has been a fun hobby that seems to keep my creativity up!
When I look at the specifics of being at home since March, it doesn't seem that much has changed - I still have a semi-consistent routine, my workspace hasn't changed significantly, my workouts have taken a big hit, but I predicted as much... But when I think of my overall mindset of sheltering in place, I find my most significant change.
At the beginning of quarantine, I wanted every update I could get. How many cases have there been in my town today? What is the new best way to sanitize my countertops? Has Target restocked toilet paper yet? Who tried to turn off the news, give me the remote!"
Nearly 10 months later, I find that I'm feeling tired. I still care about updates and want to make sure that I am being responsible and following mandates, etc. But I have started slacking off on things that I found extremely important in March. I rarely have the news on, I don't think about how many germs are on my phone at any given second, and I am content being home and trying to do my part in keeping others safe!
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