A few short weeks ago, I smugly thought I knew all about working from home, maintaining a schedule and maintaining sanity during this prolonged period of insanity. Boy, was I wrong.
I may have known what to do, but I could not continue to implement effectively. Through a perfect storm of stress causing issues, including personal, work and fear, I found myself in a serious funk.
My schedule went to hell. I stopped working out early, mainly because the gym closed, but also because I lost the desire to do so. I stopped shaving regularly. I found the need to drink more often. Then I stopped going to the market, something I found very stressful. It turns out that relying upon Instacart to pick fruit and make substitutions was not good for my stress level.
In all fairness, I have it pretty easy compared to most, but that did not stop me from spiraling into a funk. I knew I was stressed. I had pain in the pit of my stomach, resulting in an inability to eat or to at least enjoy eating. I mean I did not even crave chocolate.
My heart rate, which usually hovers at or below 60 was in the 70s. I heard it all night, mainly because I was up most of the night, but also because it was beating faster than normal, a good indication that my flight or fight response was being triggered continuously.
I was working out, but I tried to do it in the middle of the day, a bad idea as that added to my stress.
During this time, one of my friends asked me what I missed most since the retirement in place orders began. He was referring to real acts, like eating out, going to the movies, seeing friends, etc. I answered, eschewing references to real acts. Instead, I told him, “I miss the ability to leave the house, have groceries delivered, pick up a piece of mail. or open a box from Amazon without wondering if I am risking my life.”
Each night, I slept a couple of hours. Then I would wake up to a racing heart. If it wouldn’t have woken Pam up, I would have read my Kindle in bed to relax. Instead, I found myself wandering around the house, laying on the couches in the den or the living room, and reading in one of those places. Eventually, I would fall back to sleep and awaken at some random time. The only good that came out of these nocturnal jaunts was that I heard strange sounds in our crawl space, leading me to determine that we had rats roaming around. Great.
About a week or so ago, my saintly wife, Pam, read a blurb on-line about the importance of maintaining a schedule during this crisis. She mentioned it to me, saying, “Didn’t you write something similar to this?” She went on to say, “What happened to you? Your schedule is non-existent.”
I took her comments to heart. I established a new schedule, running or doing calisthenics first thing in the morning. I re-instituted daily shaving. Though I did not reduce my consumption of tequila. As the days wen by, I noticed two things: First, I was sleeping better. I had no need to visit the den or living room in the middle of the night. Second, my heart rate returned to normal. These two simple acts helped me restore a sense of order in my life, and my flight or fight response was no longer my best friend.
I plan to keep it that way.