I have always been a person who prepares for the worst and hopes for the best. So, when life started changing because of the Coronavirus, I immediately went through my checklist to make sure I had everything I needed.
We don’t have control over A LOT of things, but something we do have control over is our attitude and our behavior. I have been criticized and accused of being heartless for smiling when life is rough or for making jokes when I should’ve been crying. Right now, I can say… “Sorry, not sorry. I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do to make myself happy and keep my mind sane.”
I usually don’t wish people a good day; I either tell them to MAKE IT a great day or to MAKE IT count. I might also say, “Have a nice day” which is very common, but I always say it with intent. I don’t say, “Hope you have a nice day” because that puts power on exterior circumstances; I say, “Have a nice day” like an order, like something that YOU are responsible for. Every day, it’s up to us to decide if we want to be happy or not.
So yes, this is a hard transition because we might have never taken an online class, and then, you add everything that is happening in the world and things that could be happening with family. Yes, it is hard, and it’s okay to feel bad for a bit, but then you have to get up and make things happen! Make it work!
With that idea in mind, I made the decision to stick to my regular work routine. I wake up every weekday between 5 and 5:30 a.m., wash my hands and face, drink water, stretch, do some light exercises, make a cup of tea, have some time with the Lord and eat a light breakfast while watching a show or YouTube. I make my bed. Then, I go for a 25-minute walk while listening to a podcast. That is how long my commute was; now I can get some fresh air with that “extra time.” Since I’m walking instead of driving, I wait until I come back from my walk to clean myself up and dress up. Yes, top to bottom, and I even wear heels, but I only wear them to go outside my “office.” Finally, I start working around 8 a.m. (sometimes traffic is bad, so I don’t log in until 8:10-ish ).
I also designated specific purposes for the different areas of my house. From 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., my desk is my “office.” I made some modifications to be able to sit and stand up while I work, just like in my real office. I only use the bathroom farther away from me; this gives me a chance to walk a bit more. For lunch, I go to the kitchen and heat up leftovers. I don’t cook because I don’t have a kitchen at work. My living room and my bed are completely invisible during this time. When I’m finished working, I clean up my desk, change into my joggers and hoodie and walk downstairs to make dinner. Now, my desk and kitchen table become invisible.
Some people are so determined and productive that they don’t have to have all these habits to do their work. I’m not one of them. I know that without strict routines I will start becoming lazy and procrastinate. I also know that my current life allows me the luxury to decide what my day looks like. I’m not married, I don’t have kids, I don’t live with family, so I do think that I have it a little or a lot easier than some people.
With that said, you also can have a good and enjoyable transition.
- Observe, assess and plan
- Take care of yourself
- Stick to pre-existing routines and schedules
- Allow yourself to feel sad, angry and anxious
- Set boundaries
- Be flexible and choose positivity
These points might not work for you, so make your own; you know yourself better than anyone else. What works for you? What helps you be productive? What makes you happy? Don’t compare yourself to anyone else because some people are in an easier situation than you, and some are in a harder situation. Come up with the points that work for you, stick to them, but don’t beat yourself up when they don’t go the way you planned. Enjoy the ride, enjoy learning and enjoy the new experiences.
It’s up to you to let this time break you or help you. I know that’s not how the expression goes, but remember, I say things with a purpose . Make it work!
Carla Hernandez is a Student Development Coordinator in Student Activities at TCC Southeast, who enjoys getting to know the Lord, camping and watching movies with friends.