During this time of staying home to avoid COVID-19, I’m coping by lowering the bar. Today marks 24 days of staying at home. Consequently, I’ve given myself permission to lower the bar.
Filling my days with a sense of purpose doesn’t work. It’s impossible to focus for any length of time when I’m preoccupied with racing thoughts of the pandemic. How many are infected? How many are in Intensive Care Units? Will there be sufficient medical supplies? How many have died? How many people may die before this is over? How do I keep myself and my family safe? I seek information as a strategy to allay fearfulness.
Because I don’t leave home except for a daily walk in the conservation area behind my house, there’s little external stimulation which means that I don’t spend much time writing about experiences. Readers hardly need to learn of my obsessions about how much fresh fruit I have in the fridge and what supplies are running short in the cold room.
The pandemic has created apprehension, worry, and anxiety for everyone. To pretend that it has not affected me nor my family is unrealistic.
With the world in an upside-down state, lowering the bar and reducing expectations is my way to cope.
Changing expectations for myself has improved my mood. It’s easier to accept that most days feel like Sunday with no set schedule except to listen to the Prime Minister’s daily briefing from his home where he is self-isolating.
I’m happy with the comfort from the daily admonitions of washing your hands, staying at home, and practising physical distancing when out for a walk.
I don’t chastise myself for binge-watching movies and tv shows on Netflix. If I feel like reading until the wee hours of the morning, I do it without worry that I’ll have trouble getting up early enough to make my aquafit class.
My exercise routine is less intense — one longish daily walk plus time on my husband’s recumbent bike with some reps with hand weights or some yoga poses. Gym classes are a distant memory.
I wallow in my unscheduled activities. Who cares if I spend the morning in my favourite chair knitting instead of doing something productive?
I don’t expect delightful surprises in my day although my husband’s beautiful smile as he hands me a glass of wine at Happy Hour brings comfort. Ditto for the FaceTime calls with our grandchildren!
Influencing the Outcome by Staying Home
My decision to lower the bar on self-expectations makes it easier to accept that the best way I can help control the outcome is to stay at home. That’s the daily advice from politicians and Public Health Officials.
If my responsibility as a citizen is to stay home and to practise physical distancing with the few people I meet when I’m out for my daily walk, then I can certainly do my part. I’ll accept my son’s grocery delivery service and wipe down the food packaging. I’ll wash my hands — again and again!
I won’t apologize for a survival strategy of lower expectations during the crisis. It’s impossible to expect significant accomplishments when every aspect of life has been disrupted by the pandemic. With such a sudden and severe shock happening all around me I know that I can’t function at my former level of competence.
In the greater scheme of things, staying at home is a small ask in comparison with the risks that health professionals and workers employed in essential services take every day when they go to work. I think of them and feel grateful. I’ll heed the advice of a hospital slogan that states “I come to work for you — please stay at home for me”.
Thanks for reading my post. Take care — wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and, most of all — lower the bar and STAY HOME!