Connection & distraction in quarantine
Just a few (long) weeks ago, going to birthday parties, restaurants and the office were still regular parts of our lives. Now, many of us are spending days and weeks at home, working remotely (if we’re lucky enough to have that option) and caring for children and other family members full time.
The health and economic impacts of this crisis are devastating and not even fully measurable yet. Currently, The Juggle team count ourselves extremely lucky — we are healthy, safe and housed. And while there’s a lot we can’t solve or even do during this time, what we can offer are connection and distraction — two things we’re craving right now.
We’ve always known the best thing about The Juggle community is you (yes, you), so we’ve created a way to bring everyone together (virtually) in one place. To help people connect and share their experiences, we’ve launched new Slack channels — a place to share and spread joy, for parents to commiserate (or celebrate?) more time with their kids, for workout slugs to find some movement inspiration, and just to have some water cooler banter and try to pretend things are normal. Join our community to connect with a pretty awesome group of jugglers.
In the meantime, here’s how some of us at The Juggle are adapting to a new normal.
Coping during COVID
Three weeks ago, I lamented to my husband that I never saw him anymore because work had taken over his life. It was difficult to find time to even share a meal or a 10-minute phone call. A week later, COVID-19 landed in New York and we have been isolated together in our one-bedroom apartment ever since. Life certainly has a funny way of responding to my complaints.
The past couple weeks, every day has been an emotional roller coaster, and I know I’m one of the lucky ones. While I’ve been busy trying to cancel vacation plans, adjust to remote working life and stock my fridge, others have faced layoffs, are on the front lines of saving lives and have seen retirement savings plummet.
I have family and friends across multiple countries (Canada, France, Hong Kong, the U.S.) and checking in with them has never felt so important. It’s been a constant reminder to live in the moment, be present and continue to take care of my mind, body and spirit.
I continue to meditate, started a 30-day yoga challenge with my colleagues (thank you Yoga with Adriene for your free videos!), painted an elephant and have been virtually connecting with friends and family.
It’s a different kind of juggle — balancing my emotions and needs throughout the day feels more challenging and draining than ever. I try to recognize when I need a sense of connection or when too many virtual hangouts exhaust me; when I need to go for a walk or take a break from work; or when I need to stop looking at my phone and limit my news intake to curb anxiety.
Jen shared a mantra with us last week that I have been repeating: “I’m doing the best I can to manage everything that is going on.” I’ve been working on resetting my expectations (and frankly lowering them) about each day because managing my energy, sending love to friends and family and staying patient feels like a lot. On the bright side, I am more active than I ever have been and am eating more home cooked meals.
Work has been really busy for me during the crisis. I work in communications, which right now means communications about COVID-19 — a constant flow of company emails to clients and colleagues, press releases, FAQs and other documents all focused on the virus. And every time I step away from my computer, it’s to help with homeschooling or feeding my kids. My mother-in-law is staying with us, and having her, my also-working-a-lot husband and our two little kids all together at ALL times is kind of a lot. Things have felt chaotic, but it’s helpful to be busy and distracted from the bleakness the world is facing right now.
I’m so grateful to be healthy and to still have a job during this unfortunate time. But I also have a lot of guilt. I’m sitting here with a roof over my head complaining that I’m working too much while many businesses (and entire industries) are at risk of failing, and people’s lives are being turned upside-down due to job loss, health issues and housing concerns.
Who knows what the future holds, but I’m trying to make a difference where I can, researching and donating to try to help the most vulnerable among us (homeless shelters, food banks, and organizations focused on refugees, prisoners and ICE detainees), contributing to artists’ projects and just trying to be there for my family members and friends who are struggling. I know my contributions won’t solve this economic or humanitarian crisis, but it feels important to do something.
As a friend pointed out to me: “Every single person on the planet is facing this right now.” We’re all in this together. Shouldn’t we help each other out?
I’m isolating alone in my house in Austin, Texas, and my mindset swings from relative optimism to overwhelmed panic (mostly related to the economy and all the people suffering in the world), sometimes within the course of 10 minutes. It’s funny, I thought that feeling lonely would be the hardest part, but I’m texting and talking and video calling with friends and family so much that there are times when I actually need to take a break for alone time.
Exercise has been a saving grace for me. Some of my coworkers and I have a fitness group chat where we post workouts for each other. (I like the Kayla Itsines workouts and we also do live boot camp classes together that a gym in town is streaming for free.) It’s hilarious — it’s like we’ve become total home gym rats. Exercise can change my mood drastically within 20 minutes and, on a social level, it’s such a relief to talk about something totally unrelated to what’s going on in the world and feel accountable to others.
Thinking about what I’m grateful for has never been what gives me peace of mind. I know how lucky I am across almost every aspect of my life, but I’ve always found things like gratitude journaling and being asked to channel gratitude at the end of a yoga class kind of cringey. COVID-19 and social distancing have totally changed that. I’ve come to expect that every day will be emotionally challenging and that any and all joy I feel is a huge win. I feel incredibly fortunate for every single person and thing that is making my life comfortable right now.
I could cry at how grateful I am for my coffee maker, FaceTime and a set of dumbbells.
What are you doing to cope during the COVID pandemic?
Leave your thoughts in the comments, or join us on our Slack channels. 💛