Pre Quarantine Routine
Before having been able to work from home, my alarm would go off as early as 5:45 a.m. Mostly so I can listen to my boyfriend’s radio show in between hitting the snooze button 27 times. In a nutshell, my morning routine consists of
waking getting up late, throwing on an outfit that I usually feel fat in, and being 12 mins late for work.
If I have time, I’ll whip up a protein shake, not because I’m hungry but because I know I won’t have time to eat anything before mid-afternoon. I throw some freezer burnt fruit into a blender and toss some random bits of food from the fridge into a lunch bag. Some days my lunches consist of three leftover chicken nuggets, a container of hummus, and a bruised banana that keeps getting carried over from the day before.
With a curling wand in one hand and a smoothie in the other, panic starts to set in, even more, when I realize that I probably don’t have enough gas in my car to get to work. Feeling defeated, I end up letting my anxiety win and succumb to sitting on my just-made bed on my phone until I’ve scrolled away all of the impending worries of the day to come.
After working my nine to five, If I’m not racing off to school or my part-time serving job, I’m driving home in rush hour traffic to whip up a full Pinterest-worthy dinner and enjoy 45 mins of bad reality TV with my boyfriend before he goes to bed at 6:30 p.m.
Realizing I’ve stayed up way too late watching The Food Network, I pull myself away from a half-eaten bag of Skinny Pop popcorn so I can commence my extensive nightly skincare routine. After flossing the kernels out of my teeth, I roll myself head-to-toe in Saje essential oil which is laced with something called valerian, which I can only assume is the hippie version of Ambien. Navigating my bedroom in the pitch dark, I try to fight for space in the bed that my boyfriend and I share. Let’s just say that one of us is better at sharing than the other.
I try my best to fall asleep but the thoughts of the day are constantly running through my brain, impossible to shut off. And the guilt that I feel for not making it to the gym for the fifth year in a row starts to completely overwhelm me.
Sound familiar to anyone?
My New Quaran(rou)tine Working From Home
Along with trading in my extensive skin-care routine for a 23-step hand-washing regimen, there are many aspects of my daily schedule that have changed drastically. Since living that self-isolation life, we’ve been forced to take a step back, stay home and, recharge creating a much more relaxed atmosphere. The new normal has people who usually run at full octane, now running on foot. (Which is truly ironic since oil prices are at an all-time low).
So, what does the new normal look like for me?
Well, my alarm still goes off at 5:45 a.m. so I can lay in bed and listen to the latest Covid-19 news and light-hearted humour delivered by my boyfriend and his co-host on their morning radio show, but I’m no longer in an anxiety-ridden hysteria.
I get out of bed around 8:30 a.m., put on a pot of freshly ground coffee, and saunter over to my newly constructed home office that is located just off of our living room. My new desk has a sub-par desk chair, but a killer view of the neighbours back-split and half-fallen down Christmas lights. And if I happen to be staring out the window at just the right time, I even get to see all the neighbourhood dogs wagging their tails up and down the boulevard acting like I don’t know they keep killing our hostas.
Around 9:30 a.m. after I’ve checked my emails and set a plan for the day, I jump into the shower and perform roughly half of my normal beauty routine. Not that I don’t enjoy getting dolled up for the day but why spend time on lashes and brows when your only co-workers are of the feline variety?
No longer am I using every free electrical outlet in my bathroom to plug in all the hair appliances I own, I simply use one. For a hairdryer. I slap on some light coverage makeup just to feel normal (and also so that my co-workers will still recognize me during Zoom calls), and choose from an array of loungewear that has been getting more of a workout during quarantine than they did the entire 3 years that I had a gym membership.
I break for breakfast around 11 a.m. when my body starts to naturally get hungry. I often find myself eating avocado toast, which is something I wouldn’t normally have time to make in the mornings. I sip my second (ok, fine, third) cup of coffee from my favourite mug that reminds me of a spontaneous jammed packed weekend trip to Malibu, California, and it has me wondering why life can’t be more like the essence of that trip. Anxiety-free, productive and, gratifying (and filled with copious amounts of California Cab Sav).
Anytime someone would tell me that they worked from home, I would always scoff in disbelief that anyone could actually sustain an elevated level of motivation working from their couch. Do they not know that there is a perfectly good television and a plethora of trashy daytime talk shows at their disposal? Despite what I always used to think about working from home, my attitude towards it has completely changed this past month (unlike my attitude towards people who are wearing jeans in quarantine right now- who ARE these freaks?).
Much to my own disbelief, I’m surprisingly quite productive at my home office. I don’t have children, so my distractions are very few. Other than when my cats (or my boyfriend) need help getting into their treats cupboard, I can usually hunker down and complete my daily tasks (and then some!) in much less time. Not only do I have un-interrupted time to get actual work done that I’m lucky enough to still be getting paid to do; but, I also find that I have time to work on the things that I have always wanted to do.
Have you always wanted to learn photography? Write a daily journal? Experiment with new recipes in the kitchen? Paint your guest room? Or read a book that doesn’t have the words “for Dummies” in the title? Well, being in quarantine and working from home gives you so much more flexibility to sprinkle in the things that you’ve always wanted to do, with the things that you need to boss-up and get done.
There is something to be said about work-life balance and what effect it has on our mental health. Because I’ll be honest, before all of this Covid-19 stuff happened, mine was deteriorating rapidly. The daily grind, although great for structure, is absolutely mentally exhausting. But why are we doing this to ourselves? And who even makes these rules?
Nine to five is a popular schedule because it’s how a majority of the world is run. But it has been proven to be quite damaging (mostly to my social life). You’d think having weekends off would be a plus, but it’s not when the rest of the world does too. Spending all our time off cleaning, doing laundry, running errands, and waiting in the long line-ups at Costco for a $2 hotdog, doesn’t leave us much time in our two-day weekend to enjoy the things that actually feed our soul.
Of all the tragic events that have happened during this pandemic, I do believe that there is a silver lining. So far just seeing families spending more quality time together is the biggest one. Who knows, some of those people might be dying to get back to the office and back to having mindless conversations with their coworkers over photocopy toner, but I’m sure they have benefitted in a big way from the extra time spent playing games with their loved ones and finding out what their pets REALLY do all day.
Not to get all scientific because we all know that I’m not always the brightest crayon in the box, but research has shown that the nine to five schedule is kind of bullshit. It has lead to increased obesity rates, affected our overall mental health, decreased our quality of life, and has caused total burn out.
I can’t speak for everyone, but being able to work from home has given my day a lot more purpose and even though the days are all starting to run together for most people, I do find that having more time has allowed me to add more value to an otherwise “just another day”, day.
People are quickly learning that work can still get done, kids can still be taught and passions can still be pursued without killing ourselves with the motions of the daily grind. Unfortunately, it took a deadly pandemic to get us all to stop and take notice. But, if there’s anything that we can take away from all of this, (other than wash your damn hands you filthy disgusting pig!) it’s that we can actually still get shit done from the comforts of our home. You know, that place with the sturdy roof we all work so hard to have?
Although my new routine has me questioning if I’ll ever wear jeans again (assuming they even still fit), it’s going to be hard to transition back into my pre-Coronavirus schedule. I’ll miss baking muffins in the middle of the day, having time for yoga, or the flexibility of being able to work from home into the evenings with a sheet mask on my face and comfy slippers on my feet. But mostly, I’ll miss my sanity.