A Routine to Save Me During 'The Great Lockdown'
Updated: Sep 29, 2021
I didn't realize how much stay-at-home orders would throw me off, but here we are. TW: Mention of suicide.
Nobody is more surprised than me that I miss getting ready for work. Me, Mr. In-Bed-Til-the-Last-Minute. I find myself longing for the days I wake up, shower, fix my hair to look nice, and hit the streets to head to work.
Prior to the lockdown, I had just started riding the metro full time as opposed to using my car. I had just purchased a really nice backpack by Bellroy, which acted as a backpack for my work files, with a separate compartment for my gym clothes.
I was ready to take on the world every day... for about three days.
The first few days of Houston's stay-at-home order were totally fine. I quite enjoyed working from home, even if I did encounter the ever-present cloud of, "Hey, this is a pandemic and things are serious. People are out of work all around you, some are dying. Your schedule doesn't matter compared to the very real issues at hand, you privileged buttface."
Just fun thoughts here! #GoodVibesOnly!
Did I mention that for my "9-5," that I'm the content writer for a large clinic network in Texas? Needless to say, my days have been stacked between content for our website and blog, and PR requests. With COVID-19 at every turn - and everything that subject entails, like governmental fuck-ups, death, and increasing numbers of infections in Houston - I found myself easily overwhelmed with the news (and how to communicate to our patients and greater community that we're doing everything to keep them safe). Reading and reporting has been like trying to take sips from a fire hydrant - wherein I am both the delicate kid and the hydrant itself.
After a few days, the weird dreams began. I find it strange that so many people are manifesting their stress and worry by way of lucid dreaming. What a strange thing for us all to encounter (though the New York Times tried to explain it for us). Here's a fun, incomplete list of dreams I've had during the lockdown:
Seven (I counted) dreams about suicide, consecutively. Either myself committing it or discussing it, with one in which my father committed it.
The Pierce Elevated was so high off the ground that I could only see the tops of the buildings downtown through a thick fog. Above the fog, it was daylight. Below was darkness. I wasn't driving. The driver was going so fast that every time we'd dip into the fog, I feared we'd rear-end someone because we couldn't see if traffic was stopped. Eventually, we drove into headlights. The highway had been contraflowed without us knowing. Us and everyone driving alongside us had to dodge traffic, head-on collisions everywhere.
Came home from work to find that my dog not only walked on his hind legs, but spoke. He'd made me coffee, "We have to talk." I woke up before he got to tell me what was wrong.
Though a routine has not quashed my unbridled dreaming, it has helped me fall into a sense of control. I think we all crave that right now.
I wake up at 7:30 and make coffee by ritually grinding whole beans for my filter.
Zoom meeting at 9:30 or 10:00, depending on my coworkers' schedules.
Make lunch at 11:45, enjoy said lunch and relax - 12:00 to 1:00.
Work until 4:00, or perhaps 4:30 or 5:00.
Gym time (in my living room).
Begin cooking dinner around 6:30 or 7:00.
Enjoy a little dessert. I deserve it, dammit.
Hit the bed by, say, 10:30 or 11:00.
It's become a comfort to fall into a routine during a time when there's no physical separation from your working space, if you're fortunate enough to work from home. For the first couple of weeks, I regularly worked 12-hour days because I just... could. Perhaps this fed my odd dreaming, actually.
Setting boundaries isn't just for your interactions with others - it works for yourself, to yourself, as well. Know when to stop. Know when to take time for yourself with a cup of coffee.
Or a dessert.
Hang in there so we can beat this,