Finding little things to be excited about every day and acknowledging my feelings of stress are keeping me going.

By Elaina Hundley

I think that for many of us, the things that normally make us feel energized and excited are in short supply or unavailable right now—like the gym, or for me it’s my commute. Getting up and dressed, grabbing a coffee, walking to the metro and having those 20-30 mins to read on the train are part of a routine that really helps me gear up for work. Outside of work, I am also finding just how crucial activities like happy hour with a friend, going to the movies and being able to go on day trips on the weekend were for me. During this period of staying at home, many of us have had to settle for the next best thing or recreate these pieces of our lives inside.

Admittedly, what has kept me going throughout this has varied and evolved from week to week. While transitioning to working from home wasn’t actually much of a challenge for our team, the most notable part of the transition for me is that the separation between work and life has become much smaller. That is compounded by my inability to do things outside of my home in the evenings and on the weekends. It feels like every day I am waking up to either do work or clean my home and honestly, some days, that just doesn’t cut it. I want something more fun to do.

Finding Things To Look Forward To And Mixing It Up 

What has been essential for me in staying energized and motivated is generating things to look forward to for myself (outside of work). This has come in a variety of forms throughout these weeks.

For a while, I ended my day with a brisk walk outside and a trip to the mailbox—which is so much more exciting lately. Then I would settle in for an embroidery project and a little TV. Ordering low-cost items like books through the mail, picking one day a week to order food out and even keeping a variety of coffee fixings in my cabinet are other little luxuries that help me stay positive, feeling good and create a sense of variety.

Paying close attention to the weather turning from winter to spring has been soothing. Spending time with my cat—taking time to play with him in between tasks is restorative and he loves it! When I go on walks, I try new routes each time. I alternate between TV shows I watch and books I am reading in the evenings.

While I am normally someone who loves routine, the lack of variety in my environment has made me crave differentiation. So I am making a concerted effort to mix up my evenings and sometimes my mornings so that I can feel less stagnant. There is some structure to it, but trying to not only establish things to get excited about AND tweaking those things each day has proven helpful. It’s become important to me to ensure that no two days look exactly the same.

Take A Little Time To Indulge In Your Feelings

It has been especially hard writing this now though, because I feel like this past weekend and week have been especially tough ones for myself and others. I think that another crucial part of staying energized is recognizing that this situation is unprecedented—we are all in new territory. 

Recognizing that feeling energized, excited, motivated and happy is challenging right now is important. Some days many of us may not be able to push ourselves. So another crucial part of getting through this has been allowing myself to feel tired or a little sad sometimes without judgement, while also realizing that every day is a new opportunity to feel good despite these wild circumstances.

So I’d encourage others to indulge in both the really good feelings they experience right now as well as some of the negative ones—we are only human and it’s ok for those feelings to happen, but you can’t let them hang around for too long.

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