Here are the resolutions I made going into quarantine (left side) and how I'm doing with them (right side).
MY DAILY... NIGHT
My biggest change during COVID shutdown has been in my sleep schedule. I've always been a night person, and -- given my druthers -- I'll always stay up late and sleep in. But having a job keeps me on a regular human schedule. And even on my days off, I like to schedule appointments in the morning because they force me to start my day on time. That changed in isolation: with no particular reason to go to bed on time, I haven't been.
Truthfully, I feel more awake and creative at night. I putter around during the daylight hours, not focusing well. Then, almost as the sun goes down, I perk up. I feel focused and excited to dig into projects. I sew, and write, and get stuff done.
My housemate is working from home right now, so that means that during the daylight hours I'm being respectful of her and not making too much noise or bustle... but as the sun goes down, she relaxes in front of the TV and I turn on my YouTube videos and start moving more and doing things and chatting.
And I know, if I stuck to my resolutions, I'd be outside in the garden while she's working, which would get me sunlight and good stuff... but sometimes it rains, you know? And sometimes I stayed up really late the night before and felt too sucky to go outside in the morning.
My body is at least reliable in its nocturnal leanings: regardless of what time I go to bed, I always sleep eight hours. My brother says that instead of fighting my body's schedule, I should just optimize it, which is all well and good as long as I'm living like a hermit, but eventually I'll reenter the world of work, and then I'll have to get back on a normal schedule.
My sister used to work the early morning shift (leaving the house before daybreak, that crazy woman!), and she liked working during her productive hours. I don't know if I'd like working a night shift... might I not resent giving my "best" hours to a job and not to my life?
Speaking of my "best" hours, it was shortsighted of me to schedule God-time in the a.m. When I read devotionals or biographies of notable Christians, or sermons or advice, the common theme seems to be that we ought to wake up and give our first moments to God, to start our day off right, when our minds are clear and un-distracted. It feels virtuous, in a way, to have a morning devotional. But my mind is not there in the morning. Even when I wake up early and try to meet God, I'm not focused on Him anymore than I'm focused on anything else. If I want to give God my best, it's not going to be my mornings.
Since I'm laid off due to Coronavirus, I am eligible for Unemployment Benefits. I was able to get into the system early, and I've been getting money from it which replaces my regular wage. That's good. The system is confusing, the website poorly designed, and their accounting doesn't match mine, so that's frustrating, but I am getting money. I have called and sent them an email about the accounting discrepancies (like they claim that they gave me one payment via direct deposit, but my bank account never saw it), but I'm not surprised that I haven't gotten any reply: they are so swamped and overwhelmed at the Unemployment Office right now. And since I have been getting enough money from them to cover my bills, I am not chasing the mystery just now.
I have been having a wonderful time sewing! I made a bunch of masks, finished a pussycat bow blouse, made a rayon shirt, started a Jacobean jacket, made a skirt, and another skirt, failed to make a beret, studied a Victorian basque, made a vest... and that's just what I've done and blogged about. There's more to come, already sewn, just not documented. I'm having a total blast.
When I know that it's my tendency to lean one direction, I deliberately build up the other side. For example, knowing that I lean toward soft sciences, I deliberately chose a college where the major I wanted had a more hard science focus. I knew I could and would always lean into the soft sciences, so I wanted to have a foundation in hard science to balance it out. Another example: knowing that most of my hobbies are sedentary and that I don't enjoy exercise for its own sake, I deliberately build movement into my life by not having a car and by taking jobs that have a physical component. This is my way of balancing.
On the whole, my mental health has been robust. The shut-down came just when I desperately needed a vacation from work, and my introversion made it so I didn't struggle with being home all day the way others did. I enjoyed the first month quite a bit!
However, I am getting more anxious now. I don't consciously feel it -- what I mean is: I don't struggle with racing thoughts, catastrophizing, or other easily identifiable signs of anxiety. Instead, my body tells me of my feelings before my mind does. My bad habits are barometers of unsurfaced feeling: my nails are bitten down to the quick and my scalp is sore from pulling. I have so much tension in my muscles that I've even broken down and started doing yoga stretches. Just ponder that for a moment: of all the fascinating history podcasts and true crime documentaries and costume vloggers I could be watching, I turn on a 15 minute "yoga for headache relief" video and spend that time breathing slowly and rolling my head. That's desperation, that's what that is!
And I might be getting depressed, too. I am not prone to depression, so when I do get depressed, it's always situational, and generally can be helped with Vitamin D. Anyway, I'm not sad or anything, but I do lie abed in the morning for an hour or more after waking up, trying to convince myself to get up, vividly imagining my way through various tasks that need doing, but unable to muster the motivation to move, more than to roll over when one side of my body starts to hurt. Eventually, nature calls urgently enough to force me upright, and then the day proceeds: unfocused day --> bright, creative night --> bed in the wee hours --> eight hours of sleep. I could be worse, but I'm not thriving.
I'm thirty-five years old, past the hormonal rush of adolescence but nowhere near the hormonal upheave of menopause. Does that mean that what I experience in my mind and body now is likely to be stable for many years? If so, it only makes sense to observe and learn how to manage what I've got.
I look forward to the world reopening, to the time when I can justify going out just to spend some time at a coffee shop, or walk in the park, or visit a friend without a mask and six feet between us. I look forward to having people over, and celebrating a backlog of birthdays. I look forward to going to my job and being in the world.
But as for the timing, I count it wisest to listen to doctors. I'm an expert in my things, and would like to be listened to when I talk about what I know. Doctors are experts in their things, and I will listen to them in this situation. The frustrating thing is that even doctors are dealing with something new with COVID19, but a doctor dealing with an unfamiliar sickness is still more knowledgeable about sickness in general than I am.
While I am still at home, I find myself extra affectionate with the cats. I can hardly pass them in the hall without petting them, and picking the friendlier one up for snuggles. Touch hunger is a clawing thing in my chest.
Quilting, dressmaking, and history plied with the needle...
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