This is not an article giving good advice, or inspiration. I realised when I sat down to write that I just didn’t have that in me right now.
Fiona J here. Honestly, I’m still getting my balance after being tossed around by this COVID-19 whirlwind. Just when I think I’m okay, something else hits me seemingly out of nowhere (even if I’ve known and expected it for some days), and I have to crawl back into my blanket fort and watch Call the Midwife (heartwarming), or Katy Keene (silliness), or Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist (a bit of both) episodes on TVNZ-on-demand and look hopefully at my husband to make me another cup of milky tea.
I’m learning yet another interpretation of ‘being kind’: that it’s ok not being ok. Lots of us are not ok. That’s ok right now, because there is hope that, like all grief and periods of rapid change, we will regain our balance and be able to adapt and move on with our lives.
I’m used to working from home, spending 2-3 days a week doing the ‘behind the scenes’ work of managing the adminny stuff that goes along with any organisation; planning events and workshops; marketing and networking etc. But although the physical space is the same, the ‘head space’ is quite different.
I’m not great at dealing with sudden change, or with working to deadlines, and the first week was tough as I threw out all the plans I had for the next two months and had to start over, with the knowledge that for the next while we’ll only be able to plan ahead about a week or two at a time, meaning lots of tight timeframes.
I’m exceptionally grateful for my husband’s support. He is also used to working from home, and we have good at working side by side, being patient, and keeping half an eye out for how the other is doing and opportunities for small acts of kindness. (And only bugging each other slightly - thank goodness for headphones!)
His work sent this in an email, and it’s a very helpful reminder:
Sometimes the idea of fitting ‘self care’ into the schedule too (ANOTHER thing to do/person you have to listen to/ look after?) can feel tough - but perhaps it’s easier to think of ‘self-kindness’?
Learning that it’s ok to simplify expectations, to put plans and goals aside for another time, to say ‘good enough’.
Not necessarily easy lessons to learn, and it’s ok to find the lesson difficult. (I’ve been learning for 39 years so far, so no rush.) But every now and then, it’s nice to imagine coming up to myself and saying ‘it’s ok, you don’t have to do that right now. What can you easily achieve so as to feel ok about crossing that item off your list? Well done, that’s enough. Go cuddle your blankie’.
If you’re working from home now, and especially if you have others in your household you’re caring for, I hope you have others around you who can be kind to you and remind you how to be kind to yourself. It’s ok to not be ok. But this time will pass and at some point we will be ok again. You are not alone.
I’ve found a lot of online info and resources on self care (procrastination is another issue entirely!), and these have been my favourites. I hope you’ll enjoy something in these too:
With love, hugs and lollipops (or should that be Easter eggs?) - oh, and sunshine, sunshine helps...
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