In returning to the office these past couple of weeks, I have had an opportunity to reflect on why working from home is so different from commuting, for me. The past two years have done more than disrupt the world economy and way of life for millions of people (myself included). It has brought some things to light about routine and “normalcy” that I hadn’t given too much thought to before.
Disruptions in routine weren’t something I usually thought of as “crippling” or even truly disruptive, before the madness of 2020. Breaking of routine was simply something I had faced before – and would again, no doubt. I didn’t think that my own internal routine could be that thrown off. Before COVID, I was in the best shape of my life, was happy in ways I hadn’t been for years, and I had new projects and goals and people in my life that were helping me move forward with those goals.
And then COVID, and working from my couch, and divorce, and not feeling safe at the gym, and depression.
It took a while. I worked from home for several months – nearly a year – before I started to notice the toll all of the above was taking on my mental and physical health. I was doing my job, but wasn’t doing much else. I stopped exercising, stopped taking care of my body. I went through the motions of doing what I thought I needed to do, but things just didn’t feel right. Things, in fact, felt very off.
These are not new statements; plenty of folks have said it before, and in better words than I. But this is my blog, so you get my words – inadequate though they feel.
In walking through these realizations, however, I have noticed that I’m becoming more intentional with the way I do and think about various things. I have started exercising and working on my fiber art (knitting or crochet) at least a little every day. I am working on my blog regularly. I’ve been doing that silly Wordle puzzle every day, and putting my meds on a cute ceramic tea bag rest before taking them each morning. I drink a cup of chamomile before bed every night.
With all of these daily rituals, I’m noticing a marked improvement in my mental wellness, the number of spoons I have to offer on any given day. Depression, and divorce, and COVID, and insecurities … they are still present – just more muted now.
It has me thinking about how rituals are important. Getting up every morning and doing yoga in my living room – with the added bonus of accountability a la Soph – has done wonders for my work ethic, my motivation, my body. I feel like I can face the day, instead of rolling out of bed right before my first meeting, dreading the experience of waking up. These rituals are new, but they are helping. I need time before I can settle into a rhythm, but I can already feel the improvements beginning to take root.
Rituals are important in other parts of my life, too. For instance, I like to say that I only watch any of Bo Burnham’s specials when I’m drunk or when I’m happy – never both, and never in any other states. And I have to make coffee the long way (via Chemex!) every morning – something about the process.
And a huge thank-you to my new best friend and kitty companion, Cora, is in the works as well. She needs her own shoutout.
What rituals do you have? How do they improve your mental or physical well being?