Saturday, April 25, 2020

WFH - or "being at home trying to work when crisis going on"?

It's been four weeks for me being at home and not being allowed to go to "campus" (my office). so officially I'm "Working From Home" - WFH.

One of the things that I've been dealing with is the fact that I was SO proud I never got a proper organized work from home station organized at home. (I'll have a disclaimer here - since I'm a "straight A person" this has been stressful. Don't get me wrong, last few years in my job I've worked "being off campus/off hours on weekends" but it's always been my work laptop on my dining table, for a selective period of hours.) It has NOT been in what I call "my room" where I do crafts, write my blog posts, skype with my parents on the weekends, write my short stories - in short; where I do my hobbies and feel like I'm in my personal space (as an introvert).

It's been a temporary space when I pen my laptop on the dining table in the mornings or perhaps the few days I've been at home the entire day working but not going into the office)l.


Well, sorry sweethearts. My "hobby/relaxing/lovely 'my' room" is turned into "my office". I have my work monitor, a set up with the keyboard, headphones and all the work papers and books that I brought with me from work with special approval. On one level I understand that I should feel grateful that I not only can work from home, and also that we have a full extra room that I can call "my room" - another part of me was very annoyed that "my" room is no longer "my" room rather than "my work room". It might not be an issue for a lot of people, but for me - it's clearly a new thing, and something I have needed to take some time adapting and accepting.

It's similar to what a colleague of mine mentioned last week. They talked to me about issues that have come up with employees who have a though time adapting to working from home - mainly since they are lab workers and do lots of lab work - with out lab, what do they do? And that they are fortunate to get a pay check anyways (my work place is paying everyone so far, no furloughs of full time employees, regardless of "being able to do work from home or not").

For me I've mainly been dealing with the idea that I could technically work at least 12 hours a day, every day. There's a lot of things I need to do that's only me doing and once I'm done, we are done. So, part of my anxiety is to focus on that I "will not" do the work in 3 days, but I will do it in 4 days since I'm working 8 hours a day from home.

Trust me, it's not that easy and clear cut for a slightly over-working, over-achieving type A personality like myself.

Another way of looking at this situation - especially when talking to colleagues who are at home with children and therefore feel guilty that they aren't doing great in either place, their younger kids are upset "mommy/daddy doesn't play with me", nor that they get enough done at work - is looking at it slightly differently.

It's not "working from home" as we usually know it. It's "being at home and trying to work in a crisis". Sometimes giving the right frame to a picture makes you see the details in a clearer light and giving you an added understanding to your emotions and actions.

Friday, April 10, 2020

dealing with anxiety (safer-at-home edition 1)

I ran into my old kickboxing trainer today. I would say he looked more surprised to see me than I him. He apparently thought I had left town. No idea why. Apart from that he was the one leaving and cutting all of us off. I almost said "you took the heavy bag I paid for when you scooted out, and I would've really enjoyed it in my home now in Covid19 times". Of course I didn't say that. Because that would be ... I dunno, unnecessary? It's been almost 10 years.

Still though, it brought back an old conversation I had with a therapist during my divorce (even more years ago). I talked about how I handled anxiety and that I had noticed 5 different outlets that might not have been the best options all the time.
In no particular order;

  • drinking (alcohol)
  • eating (oh chips, carbs are faves, but really - beggars can't be choosers)
  • getting into a fight (referring to verbal fights and slight screaming, since I wasn't a brawler)
  • having sex
  • working out (especially on a heavy bag with gloves, intervals so almost puking or sparring against someone bigger)
At the time, I was quite proud that I had moved away from the destructive ones and kept working out to keep calm and in control of feelings and stressors. This quarantine/safer-at-home deal makes it a little more complicated since I currently don't have a heavy bag at home. Sure, I have a few kettle bells and I jog/do intervals at times in the neighborhood. However, it's not the "all out endorphin looking kick" that I've chased over the years to mellow me out. 

I guess I know now that I have to up my milage (haven't done more than 6 miles since marathon in December) and start doing the horrid intervals/fartlek to see if that kicks in the "adrenalin get aways" and the endorphin kickoffs. It wasn't an issue in the fall when I averaged 22 miles a week (4, 3, 15 miles) when training for the marathon, and doing spinning intervalls and weights/boxing twice a week. Currently I'm more in the "walking 3-5 miles a day" and "jogging twice a week", but nothing over 6 miles (since I'm in my neighborhood and not the park where I used to go long distance running). It's not enough to keep the balance.

Why do I think about this?  Because the other options on the list aren't really great choices as outlets. And especially not as a grown up who should be honest with ones feelings and reactions - as I refer to myself right now. I know, it would be best if I learned to deal with anxiety as regular people. Now, what do regular people do when stressed??? (I really don't know. Please let me know)