The past week has been exhausting – both mentally and emotionally. The combination of all the larger world events coupled with some specific stress related to my job has been a depressing cocktail. Rarely during my 58 days of quarantine have I had issues with sleep, but my sleep patterns have been wildly unreliable in the past week. I am now physically exhausted on top of all the other levels of fatigue.
One of the downsides of quarantining alone is the fact that I have very little to distract me from endless rumination. That, of course, makes it very simple for me to start that downward spiral into the abyss of depression. There’s no miracle cure, but I did find today that simple busy-ness is a huge help.
The day was dark and stormy, so I didn’t have the option to go outside for any sort of exercise or natural vitamin D so I busied myself with indoor projects. For work, I had two morning Zoom meetings. Then in the afternoon, a 90 minute board meeting for a professional organization for which I volunteer. Thursdays are my day to meet virtually with my therapist for an hour. I also have an hour of “happy hour” with come colleagues. In between all of those meetings I managed to hang some new curtains, create the mise en place for my dinner preparation. In between all of that, I maintained basic contact with my work email and managed to take care of several minor issues there along the way.
I never felt like I was ‘creating work.’ Rather, I felt strangely productive.
I realized midday that I needed to work harder to keep myself occupied. For lunch, I re-heated some stew and ended up just standing at the stove eating it out of the pan. That is not like me, and it was kind of sad and pitiful when I thought about it. So I worked hard to keep busy and get my mind off of my woes, and for dinner I made a strong effort to cook something simple yet elegant, and to plate it up beautifully and pair it with a lovely wine.
It’s a small gesture really, but it is rather like making my bed every morning. When I don’t do it, I see it over and over through the day and it nags at me – making me feel messy and disorganized. Taking the time to plate food on nice china and use sterling flatware – those things are small gestures but add up to making me feel much better in the long run.
This ties in to other blogs I have posted recently. When I feel out of control on most things, I have to find those things I can control and then find joy in those. I am grateful for these micro-moments of happiness which add up over time.
And I am grateful that I have things to keep me busy in a productive, positive fashion.
It’s only Quarantine if it comes from the Quarante province of France. Otherwise, it’s just Sparkling Isolation.