Thoughts from the Editor: Week Five of Staying Home

Apr 15, 2020

~Today’s post is a bit of a ramble, but along the way hopefully you will find something that resonates with you as we navigate our way through the beginning of the second month of staying home. (psst – And don’t worry, Norman is not eating the daffodils (yes, I know they are poisonious), he is eating bird food that has fallen – he loves it. This is also why now three daffodils have made their way inside the house – broken by Norman. :))

Norman sleeps and snores in between trips outside to the yard.

My body, most specifically my hands, ache from the weekend of weeding the boulevard, but oh, the reward was sweet when the mulch arrived on Monday and spruced up the frame of the front of the house.

I didn’t ameliorate my muscle soreness when I attended my first Zoom yoga class with one of my favorite instructors at the local yoga studio and intensified the deep, yet temporary ache; however, it was worth it as getting back in that routine was a mood lifter immediately.

~the first blossoms on the peach tree~

Oscar seeks cool nooks in the house in which nap as his hair is growing long, and we patiently wait for his grooming appointment to be made available.

I have attempted my chocolate chip cooking recipe for an additional time, and while not where I want it to be yet, progress has been made and the flavor combination has been attained. Now to attend to the appearance and stature that I know they are capable of becoming.

~ready to freeze! the flavor is so good!~

Department meetings via our version of Zoom are a welcome connection, and the shared laughter has been comforting and refreshing as we mourn the news that we will not be returning in person to see each other or, and more sadly, our students this school year.

The gift of solitude gives abundantly when we stop resisting what it wishes to reveal to us as was inferred by one of my colleagues in our moments of positivity which begin each meeting. Nodding in agreement, I note internally that many fears have been assuaged during this time.

On that note, I have come to acknowledge that the world and then we as individuals will accept a false reality or what we believe will be our reality if something we do or do not do takes place. We run so scared of a reality that is not true that we make decisions that may not align with our true nature. The resiliency of our own minds, should we exercise it well and be courageous enough to explore this fine tool we have been given, will lead us to an awesome life that most authentically aligns with our true selves. It is in solitude that we realize this truth. It is in solitude that we can clearly see false layers of behaviors and decisions, witnessing them for the burden that they bring into our lives, and with time, find the ability and means to shed what we no longer need.

One simple, yet significiantly beneficial change that needed to be made and has been made while working from home is only checking my email 2-3 times a day at prescribed times – when the day begins (or school begins), after lunch and just as the “work” day concludes.

Boundaries.

I have become well adept at establishing boundaries in my personal life, something that took time, but with work, I have been less stringent and especially during these times when so much is unknown and stress is heightened, having these boundaries creates a routine, creates clarity and certainty for those trying to contact me and gives me a better center of calm knowing I will tend to what I need to in a timely and professional manner.

We each need a certain degree of a “known quantity”. In other words, having some amount of a routine frees up our mind to relax because we can trust what will come next. We can trust that if we do A, B will occur. When I make a hair appointment, I will visit the salon in eight weeks for my regular spruce up. When I am out of eggs and flour – whenever that might be – I will be able to head to the store on my schedule and pick up what I need. Not everything in life works so smoothly even in the best of times, but that is what has been pulled out from underneath us, a healthy amount of a “known quantity”. Some uncertainty will always be a part of our world, and as humans, it is accepted as a perennial ingredient to being alive, but too much uncertainty ratchets up the stress making seemingly “normal” everyday tasks more stressful if they are systems that don’t work well. It is likely we would have never acknowledged their incompetence had everything else kept running as we’d known it, but when the rug is pulled out from underneath, it is glaringly clear such systems need to be improved for the sake of our well-being. What systems are you noticing need polishing or improving or maybe even eliminating as they are actually unnecessary?

Along with my need to set boundaries with my email checking, I have also changed how I go about stocking the food for the dogs to save me time and to ensure they always have what they need, and with my teaching, I am learning quite a bit about what is necessary and what is not to effectively assess my students and whether they have learned the necessary content. These are small changes, but changes, nonetheless, that will improve my daily routine in significant ways.

~morning walks in Mother Nature help establish a healthy balance in my days~

Discovering what is needed in a day to feel both satisfied and productive, yet not overwhelmed and obliterated to the extreme when it comes to exhaustion is the experiment I have been enjoying during this time. How much work? How much food? How much exercise? What type of exercise? How much social contact? What type of social contact? How much self-care? What type of curiosity explorations are energy givers versus energy vampires? A unique opportunity to experiment and explore and determine what is truly necessary and what has been presumed to be but actually is not at all.

It is 6:20 in the evening, and a new copy of The English Home magazine arrived today, so now it is time to put the computer away, dress in something cozy and melt. Until tomorrow or on Instagram, bonsoir.



6 thoughts on “Thoughts from the Editor: Week Five of Staying Home

  1. I work from home so in some ways, my schedule has not changed. However, in reading your daily and listening to friends who are now working at home, I feel energized to re-think how I spend not only my workday but my time while not at my desk. Thank you!

  2. “It is in solitude that we can clearly see false layers of behaviors and decisions, witnessing them for the burden that they bring into our lives, and with time, find the ability and means to shed what we no longer need.” Wow, Shannon – that thought resonated with me to such a degree that I copied it into a small book of favorite quotes I keep. Well said. This time is also an opportunity for me to be apart from the normal stresses of life and to recognize them for what they are.

    On a lighter note, have you tried America’s Test Kitchen Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies? A little extra work, but worth it, especially if you fold in some decadent dark chocolate chips. 🙂

  3. Hi again Shannon, my family and I are settling into our routine. The teenagers are schooling online and this involves getting up at the usual time, a good breakfast and logging on at 0850 for homeroom roll call. What I am particularly enjoying is not rushing around after school ferrying everyone to their usual activities as all are cancelled. I’m not sure how we will renegotiate this post lockdown but am hopeful we can streamline it somewhat. I am still going to work 2/7 as I am a nurse working in access and flow through the hospital. Fortunately we have relatively few Covid – 19 cases here (Australia) but are all on tenterhooks.

    I have even purchased some decent tweezers or I will soon be sporting a monobrow as all salons closed!

    1. Gaby, Thank you for sharing you and your family’s experience. It sounds as though you are finding a workable and possibly less stressful rhythm than expected. Thank you for all that you and your fellow healthcare workers are doing and tending to in this time. Happy to hear Australia is fairing this crisis quite well and may that continue. Stay well. ??

  4. Shannon,
    I chanced upon your Inspiring site and feel myself smiling with delight. Heartfelt gratitude, I feel such a kindred spirit.
    As you so beautifully wrote, this last month has been so challenging fir we all. Yet, I somehow feel this time has allowed me to hear the quietude of my inner reality, indeed to vividly acknowledge what need not resume in habit or obligation once we return to “normal”
    A well disguised gift, if we allow to see.
    Thank you , I look forward to being part of your thoughts and inspirations weekly!

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