In November of 2020, I joined a gym just so I could get out of the house more than one day a week. Working from home had me bouncing off the walls and I needed some way to release the pent up energy. On the bright side, my house has never been cleaner.
Between my blog and managerial work for my day job, I did not exactly have a nine to five schedule. Beyond virtual meetings, I was left to my work with only deadlines as my time constraints. And with most of my work consisting of being parked in front of my computer writing articles and doing research, I began to realize something.
Every writer has their own preference on the best time of day to write, and I do my best writing at night. It's quiet, I'm left alone, and my clean house is nondistracting. I can curl up in my snuggie (the most useful gag gift ever) and have a hot cup of tea while I work without distractions.
I began to fall into a routine different from the beginning of the work from home movement. Instead of getting up at six in the morning to get ready for work, I began to wake up around nine and go to the gym (and run whatever errands) before coming back to the house to tackle household chores. Unless I had a meeting scheduled, I usually wouldn't begin writing until after dinner, my house clean and my pent up energy spent. I found that I was able to focus better and found my mental health avoiding what I call the pandemic plunge. Though I usually attempt to head to bed around one, sometimes I have to squeeze in that extra episode of my latest binge-watching fixation.
According to an article published by the CDC in August 2020 covering a survey of American's mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic, " 40.9% of respondents reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health condition, including symptoms of anxiety disorder or depressive disorder (30.9%), symptoms of a trauma- and stressor-related disorder (TSRD) related to the pandemic† (26.3%), and having started or increased substance use to cope with stress or emotions related to COVID-19 (13.3%)."
The truth of the matter is that we are all trying to survive in a world we don't completely understand. While maintaining a schedule is important, so is finding a schedule that is right for you. What works for one person may not work for another. By figuring out a way to create a healthy work/life balance (or as close to one as humanly possible), we can avoid the pandemic plunge in our mental health.