The earth has made its circle around the sun, yet it feels like we are at a standstill. We were in lockdown then; we are in lockdown now. The situation is made considerably worse by the fact that the coronavirus has managed to mutate several times since last year and is now infecting us with different versions of itself. The Netherlands is riding its third wave of infections, and now we not only have a lockdown but also a curfew to contend with.
Many of us were able to keep our chin up and our spirits fairly high through most of last year, even when we had to miss King’s day celebrations, the Sinterklaas parades, the Christmas markets, and even the only-once-a-year allowed fireworks on New Year’s Eve. But now, as we close the first quarter of this new year in a never-ending status quo, we are all starting to feel the coronablues.
Being able to work from the comfort of our home in our pajamas with our loved ones in the next or even the same room may have felt like a blessing at the beginning, but now it’s starting to affect our productivity. We are cranky and edgy and want to escape the people we claim to love.
Exhaustive preparations and an arsenal of masks, tissues and hand sanitizer are required for the smallest and simplest of outings. Shopping is not therapeutic but another stressor and anxiety and loneliness have become our constant companions. So, what do we do? What can we do?
- Step into a routine – Say what you will but we humans are creatures of habit; our daily rhythms help us make some semblance of things. So that is the first thing we can do; what we always did before the corona pandemic threw us for a loop. Set an alarm, wake up on time, take a shower and get dressed, even if you don’t have to go anywhere. Have breakfast and be ready to start your work-day at its usual time. Have a timely lunch and coffee breaks and stop working on time. This will at least give you some sense of normalcy.
- Work with planners and lists – Make a monthly plan, broken into smaller weekly plans. Make to-do-lists for the next day at the end of your working day or before going to bed and then chip at it one thing at a time.
- Set personal goals – All work and no play will turn us into sad sacks of potatoes. If the coronavirus doesn’t get us, then obesity and heart problems developed over this long-forced hibernation will surely do us in. Add some exercise to your routine. A twenty-minute brisk walk around the block will do wonders for your physical and mental health.
- Celebrate the little things – No, we cannot plan a vacation or a trip to the zoo or theme park, but we don’t necessarily need a special place to enjoy the company of our special ones. A picnic in the park or a walk through one of the many forests can be equally relaxing and uplifting, especially now that Spring is on its way.
- Stick to it – Try as much as you can to stick to your daily routine and plans. It will be tough without having to answer to a boss or having an office to show up at, but you have to keep at it.
- Go easy on yourself – Your plans will fail, there will be days when you’ll barely make a dent in your to-do lists, a sick child or a runny nose will keep you down, and sometimes it will feel like things are spinning out of control. Go easy on yourself. You are only human and as such inclined to mistakes and failures. Have your mini-breakdown, then pick yourself up and make a new plan, an easier one… a simpler one.
And most of all: remember to take it one day at a time and work towards one goal at a time. Though it doesn’t seem like it, this too shall pass and both the proverbial and literal sun will shine.
Written by Priyanka Sharma