What about all the good things COVID did?” I think we can all agree that list is bloody short.
Lets get it out of the way – COVID19 is the physiological and psychological health crisis of our generation (we hope) and we’ll be experiencing its social and economic effects for a long time. It’s also a good time to think about new opportunities and things to be grateful for. On the BEASTDAD podcast, we spend a lot of time talking about career, social life, and fitness for dads, so here are some reflections of those subjects in the COVID crisis.
Working From Home:
If you’re fortunate enough to still have a job that you can function in, you might be lucky to be working from home. The commute is gone, you don’t have to look as presentable anymore and it’s easy to see your kids. You can argue that there are pros and cons here, but at least it’s easier to walk away from your desk and see the people you care about most.
For me, it seems I have two options coming out of this quarantine: way fatter, or slightly fatter.
On the flip side, it became harder to set limits with work. Everyone knows that most of your external commitments have vanished. Personally, I’m trying to maintain the 9-5 schedule (with few exceptions). If we allow the line between home and work to blur it will be very difficult to come back from that. It seems we’ll only be able to maintain that separation if we ALL maintain and value it, or else it will become an inescapable cultural norm.
Another “benefit” (it can go both ways) is that we’re getting to see how much we value our job and our colleagues. More people will be introspective at this time and evaluating their relationship to their work. We’ll probably see a lot more people will be hitting the refresh button on their careers and re-assessing their values. Time just became more valuable for everybody, so perhaps we’ll all spend it more strategically on the things we really value with the people we really value.
With all this time at home I’m certainly sitting more than I would prefer. I’m glad I don’t wear a pedometer or fitbit because the single digit numbers would be depressing. No longer able to go to the gym; all my workouts have become home workouts. They were always part of my routine but now they are the only option. Luckily we had invested in some kettlebells and a stationary bike a while ago, but there’s also gravity (which is free – and everywhere) so pushups, pullups, situps are our new best friends.
For me, it seems I have two options coming out of this quarantine: way fatter, or slightly fatter. Some of you go-hards will actually come out fitter (damn you). In any case, we all have to do something EVERY DAMN DAY to stay functional. Our metabolism and energy levels are taking daily kicks in the ass, so it’s important to keep the discipline up. It can also help mitigate the depression and anxiety that can thrive in isolation, so anything you can do to mitigate physical and mental entropy is probably time well-spent.
Coping with the isolation from friends has been absolutely brutal and can have a major impact on your mental health, especially if you’re quite extroverted. Having group zoom/webex calls with friends has been helpful and my friends have also been maintaining group WhatsApp chats. Sometimes it’s quiet and sometimes there’s a flurry of activity… though it’s nice to know we’re all in an ongoing conversation and trying to make each other laugh. I assume we’re all laughing, anyway.
The video group calls can feel, at times, like giving a starving dog a rubber bone but I’ll still take it. It beats the hell out of drinking alone, especially when you’ve relegated yourself to light beer. I always feel a little more normal after those calls and I’m always surprised at how fast the time passes. It’s important to keep Friday and Saturday night as “meaning something”, so a regular call helps an awful lot. Now is also a good time to reach out to people you haven’t talked to in a long time; old friends, past colleagues, etc. They seem to really appreciate it and an unexpected “hello” seems to go a lot farther these days.
Gratitude seems to be the correct approach for a lot of angst we might be experiencing right now. It always amazes me when I consider that: No one – no one in the world – is having the experiences they want right now and all at the same time. That’s never happened before. This crisis will be studied from all angles – economically, socially, psychologically, etc. for a very long time. Hopefully we learn a lot of good stuff from it. For my part, I’m happy to wake up with a healthy family, under a warm roof, with food in the house. If there’s one thing we’ve all learned, it’s how fast things can change and how important it is to be grateful for the moments of comfort and happiness we get to experience. So fingers crossed that we can use this time to create the conditions for more of those moments in the future!