The uncertainty I find myself in has been sending my anxiety into overdrive and so I’ve found myself marked by time. My life has fallen into the ever-present coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic routine, and I find myself constantly looking at the clock to make sure I’m on “schedule.” Yes, even sitting at home requires me to have a schedule. I wasn’t this way in the beginning. Back in March and a good portion of April, I just kinda did whatever, whenever. I still had my internal clock of course, but for the most part, I felt adrift.
Over 110 days now of being home (at the time of writing this) and I now have times of day that I look forward to — nearly every hour of my life is planned in my head. My days go a little something like this:
5:30 a.m. to 6:30 a.m.
Wake up; immediately make coffee.
Scroll social media, check email, play or read.
7:30 a.m. — 8 a.m.
Make a second cup of coffee; cook breakfast while coffee brews.
Eat and watch something (usually whatever my husband is watching on YouTube).
Workout and shower.
Read, play, clean or watch something.
3:15 p.m. — 3:30 p.m.
Sit on the balcony in the sun spot for 8 to 10 minutes. (No longer than that as it’s way to hot)
7 p.m. until bedtime (around 9 p.m. to 11 p.m.)
And that is nearly every day’s schedule.
On Saturday or Sunday morning, I pick up groceries.
My favorite times of day are right when I have my first cup, the period I’m writing, sitting in the sun and reading for hours before bed.
In between these time periods, my brain is usually in overdrive with worry, but I realize that it’s a weird time for everyone. Sometimes it feels like a bizarre Groundhog Day. Or like we’re all being Punk’d and at any moment, Ashton Kutcher is going to jump out from somewhere with a camera crew.
Prior to the pandemic and my subsequent furlough, my day was marked by the 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday workday. I had most of my day mapped out there too. My life feels more stable when it’s marked by time. I think that stems from the out-of-control nature my life had been in for so many years. I never really thought about the importance of structure in my life until it was turned upside down on March 17. St. Patrick’s Day is forever changed for me.
I notice now that whenever my mind feels really out of control, I turn to the clock and I feel anchored again. I’m not so rigid though that I am unable to do things other then my “schedule.” For example, we went to Ikea last week on a whim and it felt good to break up the routine. I recognize that sometimes, too much adherence to a schedule can also become monotonous. I’m learning how to strike a balance now.
I’m sure once I’ve struck the balance, everything will be right as rain again. At least. that’s my hope.
Struggling with your mental health due to COVID-19? Check out the following articles from our community:
- 7 Things to Do If Social Distancing Is Triggering Your Depression
- An Activist-Therapist’s 15 Affirmations for Hope Amidst COVID-19
- 10 COVID-19 Emotions You’re Not the Only One Having
- Mental Health Resources to Help You Cope During COVID-19