I don’t know about you, but working from home is pretty exhausting. If I had a dime for every person who said that they went to bed earlier than usual this Friday night or that working from home was more tiresome than time in the office I would be one rich lady.
Working from home is more exhausting for a couple of reasons. For the extrovert, it’s tiring because they aren’t around people which is the primary way that extroverts recharge. For others, extroverted or not, it may be tiring because you are spending more hours of your day doing deep work which is usually more intellectually exhausting than other forms of work. And for everyone, your day is generally less disrupted (unless you’re working from home with young kids or an outgoing spouse or roommate). Fewer chances for small talk around the water cooler or pauses to clarify directions on projects. And maybe you are just weary because life feels empty, less eventful, less meaningful.
Regardless of the cause of your weariness, you might be asking yourself how best to recover from the last week so you are ready and raring to go for week 3 of quarantine.
I have a few suggestions:
1) Recharge by serving others. Social distancing can make you feel like everything is about you. “I’m sequestered from society so I don’t get sick”, “All the activities I would normally do are canceled so I’m just going to binge-watch Netflix”, “I can’t go to brunch on Saturday so woe is me”. I don’t mean to invalidate those feelings, but feeling sorry for yourself never made anyone feel especially uplifted.
The extra time you have can be repurposed to serve other people. Check-in with your neighbors. One of my friends in the UK wrote a letter to his neighbors offering to get groceries for people who were sick or afraid to venture out. Another work colleague spent a day getting groceries for her elderly neighbors. My church is taking 50% of their budget and donating it to people in need in the congregation and in the community. All of these examples should inspire us to think about how we can serve our neighbors.2) Take time to reflect. Part of the exhaustion over these last few weeks may be coming from an unacknowledged or obvious sense of fear and worry. It’s important to recognize stress, to process those emotions, and to reconcile them. For me, writing in my prayer journal — expressing my fears and concerns, praying for friends in the medical community, the homeless who are more vulnerable to COVID-19, and for friends and family members that either contracted coronavirus or are vulnerable to it, has helped me to process these negative emotions and give those cares over to God.
Our church has been doing a series on God’s sovereignty and our pastor highlighted Matthew 6:26-27 “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?”. A much-needed reminder that worrying doesn’t add a day to our lives and that God is big enough to bear every burden.
Talking through my fears with my husband Zach has also helped — he’s very wise when it comes to processing stressful situations and has helped to put perspective on the situation. Likewise, calling up friends to process emotions with them, sharing in their burdens, and relating to their differing circumstances has been hugely helpful, too. 3) Take advantage of the extra time to care for yourself. I have to admit that I kind of hate the word self-care. I understand what the term is trying to get at and even embrace the principle: it’s hard to serve others if you aren’t taking care of yourself.
But there is something about the word self-care that has always felt a little selfish to me. As if spending time with friends or family or investing in others wasn’t a form of taking care of you and your heart’s health, too! But taking time away from others to care for yourself is not such a bad idea. Here are a few sample self-care dates for your enjoyment:
- Take a bath (maybe add some bubbles)
- Do a hair mask (This one from Evo is miraculous, recommended by my favorite hairstylist, Meghan Gallagher, at Bobby Mack & Co. Hair Studio)
- Do a body scrub (Arbonne’s Rescue and Renew Detox Body Scrub is tres chic!)
- Do your skincare routine
- Do a face mask (I’ve loved TonyMoly’s MasterLab Collagen Sheet Mask since before masks were cool and recently discovered this Arbonne’s RE9 Face Mask)
- Do under-eye masks (Arbonne’s RE9 Advanced Prepwork Gel Eye Masks are great, especially for those mornings when your body is awake, but your eyes are not)
- Watch a great rom-com and snuggle up with your loved one or favorite feline or pup companion (Highly recommend: You’ve Got Mail, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, The Notebook, and While You Were Sleeping)
- Grab a face mask
- Grab your favorite book or a set of articles you want to read (Currently reading: Where’d You Go, Bernadette?, A Gentleman in Moscow, and Love Does)
- Grab your favorite snack (Oreos, Tostitos, & movie theatre popcorn will do the trick)
- Plan a date with a friend to discuss said books and articles
- Start or continue your favorite devotional (I recently picked up New Morning Mercies and Zach and I have been reading it out loud together)
- Grab a journal and start writing your prayers or thoughts in it (I recommend a small journal that you can slip into your purse or bag once social distancing is over. Mine is cute, pink, and says “I came, I saw, I made it awkward”. Always brings a smile to my face. You have to actually like your journal to want to write in it.)
- Set aside time to pray throughout the day (I have friends who set an alarm for specific times during the day to remind them to pray and build that habit.)
- Similarly, consider a time of fasting specifically over coronavirus
Hope that you found these suggestions helpful, and even if you didn’t, I hope that you are finding time to recharge in ways that edify your spirit and soul.