In light of the CDC recommendations for us to observe social distancing and a high percentage of people working from home for the first time, I thought I would share how I already live my life of home working and hermitage. As someone who has a chronic health condition and mystic tendencies I was made for these days!
I’ve been working from home and social distancing for years now; it’s a natural result of dealing with my nerve damage and the work that I do. It was challenging (torture) for me at first but now I’ve come to enjoy it and I am happy to see the rest of the world is trying it on too. As a former “Type-A” personality I know the struggles of going from a life full of doing to a life full of being and I’m here to share what has helped me with the hope that it will help you too.
First a warning: Just like any change, transition or “death” of an old way, social distancing is going to be uncomfortable at first. You may experience frustration, shame, anger, fear, depression, claustrophobia, extreme boredom and/or a feeling of having no purpose. This is normal, it’s part of deconditioning years of capitalist and authoritarian programming. It will pass; I promise. When the emotions arrive, instead of trying to make it go away, sit with your feelings, dance them, move them through your body, allow them to express and feel them to their depths. You will feel better for doing so; I promise.
A way to make the above feelings easier to deal with is to create a schedule for yourself. Our nervous system craves safety, security and stability. In a world where everything seems so uncertain it is imperative that you create this safety, security and stability within yourself. The easiest way to do this is to create a schedule, but before you do that it’s more important for you to “reset” to your natural settings. This is done by three days of no alarm clocks, eating when you’re hungry, soaking in the tub, laying in the sun, netflixing and chilling and basically reviving your childhood school vacation self. If you can get outside or spend the three days camping, this reset is even more profound. Why three days? Several reasons...three is my go-to number; three oms, three breaths, three sun salutations, my partner says three days of anything makes his brain feel the change is permanent, during the solstices the sun stands still for three days, Jesus’ resurrection three days after crucifixion…it’s symbolic. When we ritualize anything it makes its impact more powerful.
When your three day reset is over, now it’s time to implement your schedule;
here’s mine as an example:
5:30-7:00: Wake up, wash my face, use the bathroom, meditate and do personal sadhana
7:00-7:30: Drink tea while writing
7:30-8:15: Breakfast & unload the dishwasher
8:15-8:45: Take care of chickens and water the gardens
8:45-11:00: Work at computer, teach online or meet virtually with students and clients
11:00-12:00: Go for a walk, practice yoga and/or other physical activity
12:00-12:30 Lunch, on a plate, sitting at the table, no computer or working while I eat
12:00-2:30: Work at computer or meet virtually with students and clients
2:30-4:00: Free time spent cleaning the house, doing laundry, hanging in the hammock and/or quality time with my daughter
4:00-5:00: Shower or bath; prepare for dinner and evening family time
If you’re not working from home and instead have more free time than you know what to do with, yay you!!! You can replace the work time with opportunities for reading, creating, hiking, walking, painting, playing pretend with your kids if you have them and imagining the gifts all this self reflection time can give our people and our planet ❤️If you need help financially during this time, research local resources that are here to help you. Many communities are amping up services right now to support those who are financially affected by the virus; reach out if you need help.
If you do have kids at home a schedule will give them the stability they need too so they don’t stress you out even more 😉As a former elementary school teacher, mother of three and someone currently homeschooling a highschooler I suggest spending time teaching your children about growing food and living a life connected to the Earth. Talk about the water cycle, look at bugs, play in dirt, marvel at the fact that your exhale feeds the trees and that your inhale comes from air that the entire planet shares.
Whether you have kids or not, this is the perfect time to remember the interdependence of every being on this planet. We’ve been called to get quiet, to slow down and turn within; this is a gift. When we slow down our nervous system heals, we become more resilient and we can better advocate for our needs and those of the planet. Welcome to the revolution.
*disclaimer: I know that my experience during these times is due to my vast privilege. I am not worried about losing my home or income and I have adequate health coverage. It is because of this privilege that I am able to expand my nervous system’s capacity to hold intense social situations so I can be of greater service to my community and planet as a whole.