the blog!

How we were living before? It wasn’t working.

As I’m writing this, we’re finishing up week 10 (and counting…) in the COVID-19 crisis. 10 weeks! I don’t know that anyone really thought we’d be doing this for so long way back in March when this all started. It both feels like the time has gone by incredibly fast, but also like I’ve been doing this for about a hundred decades.

The pandemic has been a rollercoaster of emotions.

I’ve woken up hating everyone and everything, only to be fine by 12pm. I’ve started the day feeling incredibly productive but in desperate need of a nap by 3pm. Despite this, I haven’t actually taken a nap since this started. I’ve quickly swung between optimism and “Ohmygod we’re all doomed”. It’s a lot!

That being said, something pretty amazing has happened.

Here’s a list of what I’ve done since this all started. It’s probably not everything, but it’s the first few things that come to mind to avoid boring all of you.

  1. I’ve learned about giraffes (their tongues are black to prevent sunburn!), chocolate (twin cacao beans cannot be used!), and viral marketing (people are weird in groups, guys).
  2. I’ve gone on daily “walks to nowhere” in which I just walk down a street and then back, taking in my neighborhood.
  3. I’ve discovered the power of the electric toothbrush.
  4. I’ve improved my sleep and nutrition significantly.
  5. My apartment is very clean.
Seen on one of my “walks to nowhere”. I really like where I live.

All good, non-work related things right? I think we can all agree we’ve had more time on our hands, and in some ways, aren’t as productive. BUT… here’s what else I’ve done.

  1. I made significant edits to the Viva Wellness website.
  2. I made headway on new business partnerships.
  3. I worked with my clients, sometimes seeing more people in a week than I did before COVID. The mental health struggle is real.
  4. I wrote blog posts, recorded podcast episodes, and have done a ton of other not so fun to talk about administrative tasks.
  5. I have done virtual events and guest blogs with great people and organizations in an effort to help as many people as possible through this madness.

Now, before I get a bunch of hate DMs, I understand my privilege here.

My business translates to the remote world easily. I have an apartment that I enjoy (although maybe less than I did earlier this year…) and I feel safe in. No one I know, including myself, is serious ill. I’m really lucky, and I know not everyone is this fortunate.

But the point here is, why ISN’T everyone that fortunate? Why are there so many workplaces that function on the “busy culture” of working until you drop as a badge of honor? Why CANT we admire and respect more of a work/life balance instead?

And how did I manage to get all of those things done for ME, but also be productive at work?

Because I, like many of us, have slowed down for the first time in… forever?

This pandemic has forced make to stop, pause, and re-evaluate. What was working? What wasn’t? What really are my priorities? Am I spending my time, money, and energy on what actually matters to me? I discovered that my routine was unsustainable, and when I took a step back to look at the big picture, was harmful. It caused burn out, injury, and just a general feeling that I wasn’t enjoying what I was doing.

I’ve heard this from a lot of other people as well.

All of a sudden, we have time. We have time to do things that nourish our souls and make us happy without having any other productive purpose. We’re doing things we like just because we enjoy them and connecting with people in ways that we haven’t before, even if it is virtually.

One of the best things to come out of this quarantine period has been weekly Zooms.

Some of my favorite people “get together” every Sunday night at 6:30pm. We pick a “theme” of the night (this involves food) and play games. It usually lasts until 10pm. That’s 3 1/2 hours! When was the last time you spent 3 1/2 hours just being with people without anything else that you had to rush to? I know I didn’t do it often, and I should have.

Committed to spending even more time with this people, and others that I love. Maybe with a bigger variety of activities though? Soon? Please?

There’s a quote floating around about rushing back to normal and thinking about what we really want to rush back to.

I encourage you to do the same. It seems like, from the perspective of so many, that whatever we were doing before wasn’t actually working. So let’s not go back there. While we can’t live in the pace of the pandemic forever, and we probably don’t want to, let’s all try to find some balance. Make the time for the things that have really felt good to you during this chaos, and especially for the things that you miss terribly and can’t wait to go back to. A good rule of thumb? If you don’t miss it now that it’s on pause, maybe it’s not where your energy should go.

We don’t have to go back to normal. This situation is awful and I’m with you on feeling like I can’t wait until it’s over. But we should learn from it, and build a better version of a life moving forward.

And hopefully, next time, it doesn’t take a pandemic for us to realize when we need to slow down.

Author: Rachel

Rachel is a licensed therapist and co-founder of Viva Wellness. She gets most of her inspiration for the blog while on the run, and if you ever need to find her, she’s probably in Central Park. If she’s not running, you’ll find her planning the next time she’s going to eat, exploring all things wellness in NYC, or raising her stress level by watching her sports teams.

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