Space: An Adjustment during the Pandemic
The pandemic has set forth a time that is unlike any precedent. It has made us all workers-from-home at some level or the other. When we are in shelter spending a lot of time in front of the screen for activities ranging from work to leisure, it becomes more important to take a moment and set the space right. Space is a great concept and can fit the physical ones like homes we live in, and even the rooms we frequently occupy to carry out various tasks. A physical space facilitates the activities that are carried out there. We are spending a lot of time indoors, and it is essential that we pay attention to the area around us.
This is also a time of uncertainty, and that can result in anxiety. At such a time, different people use different coping strategies. Some might use productivity and ticking things off their to-do list as a coping mechanism while others might genuinely struggle to get off their beds for days or weeks at a stretch. Even as a blogger of some years, I tend to oscillate between these states. My honest urge from the readers would be to use the ideas shared here at a pace that best suits your coping needs. However, one would find the following notes useful to create physical spaces around oneself in a manner that facilitates ease of living and learning.
Space to Work
In a time when the experts are predicting a horrible economic slowdown (the worst since the Great Depression), it is a high priority to keep one’s own job. For a long time, the physical scene has a significant impact on one’s psychological readiness to be motivated by and concentrate on work. Following are some of the ideas that help me remain my productive self-
- I enjoy not setting my workspace up in my bedroom as the lack of distance between the two can make concentration difficult. I set my workspace in a more spacious front room with a simple desk and chair, with some critical books on a stack next to the desk.
- I ensure that I maintain a timetable so that my partner understands and respects my space and time during these office hours.
- I have small plants near my work desk to keep the energy fresh and to provide minor distractions when needed, in the form of watering the plants. I also set my table close to a window with the curtains drawn so that the world outside inspires me to work.
Space to Learn and Relax
It is important not to take calls with friends and loved ones during work hours or in the workspace. It would be groovy to set up an entertainment space for oneself. It is also an excellent time to keep some time every day to learning something new and cooking something special for oneself. It is easy to fall into a routine and not find the energy or interest to make shelter-at-home interesting for oneself. Do resist these feelings of settling and put extra effort into enjoying one’s own company. Some ways that I tend to stay grounded-
- At such times of crisis, it is reasonable to experience trouble while attempting to sleep. I ensure to use mood relaxers like a warm bath, ASMR soundscape, and/or scented candles to create an atmosphere of relaxation.
- I give myself side projects which tie-in with my interests as well as teach me something new. I have taught Science and elementary Mathematics to students and wanted to expand into teaching more advanced mathematics. I turned to one of many available concept explainers of calculus and took my time to learn. Now, I am ready to teach advanced mathematics. The key is never to rush and put unreal expectations on oneself.
- I have themed meetups with my friends, and these themes (like the Great Gatsby from last week) encourage conversations to be inventive and give hope in times when death and disease govern the new cycles.
Space of Inner Life
It is an important time to take care of one’s own inner space as much as the outer, physical space. This would require constant check-ins with oneself and permission for emotions to flow freely. Mental health crises are one of the results of such a massive change in our ways of living. It is important to acknowledge that there is a change at hand, and it might take a while to adjust to this ‘new normal’.
- I journal every day to keep a record of my emotional well-being and use the page as a canvas to express my thoughts.
- I ensure that I keep the consumption of news to a level that is agreeable with my mental health. It is important to not fall into the pit of mindless use of content.
- Regular working out- in one’s own capacity- is vital to get one’s daily share of exercise. Sweating out is a great stress buster.
These times can be read as a reality check about the outer world and how we, as a collective of people, and even as a civilization, choose to go on living. The changes that have a positive effect on our inner and outer health can be continued to be practiced even after the pandemic passes us, and becomes a thing of the past.