In this pandemic at-home time, I don’t want to lose track of my days and experiences. To get to the absolutely vital, I need some sort of accountability, some kind of checklist that comes out of these questions:
How do I organize my days?
How do I take care of myself?
Gosh—What is most important?
How do I live this time kindly and gently?
Very importantly—How do I manage my day job at home (often with overtime) without over-doing it or under-doing it?
I am a list maker.
Even as a young teenager, I mimicked my mother’s “Jot it down—you don’t want to forget; mark it off, isn’t that satisfying?”
As a college student with a heavy course load, I organized my days in two hour blocks of time. They ran from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. six or seven days a week, in order to get all of the studies and papers completed with revisions and any technical glitches—which at the time involved a portable typewriter and carbon paper—and short breaks for meals.
My desk sized calendar was covered with tiny smeary black pencil scritches of lists, time periods, what was left to do. Complete with panicked exclamation points!!!! and underscores for emphasis (and more exclamation points!). My body ached for movement and relaxation and something other than school. The lists kept score and I persevered.
Looking back now—the lists were brutal and effective. But not sustainable.
Lists can often scream at you only about what you have not accomplished, until out of desperation you write down things like Get Up, Make Bed, Eat Breakfast. Some days that is all you can do, for various reasons.
Especially right now.
Six weeks ago, I created a list. Called it A Check List. Then A Care for Self Checklist. Finally, I had to mention the Pandemic—that there is an overarching shift in the world that has to be acknowledged as I take on this Care for Self.
Pandemic Care for Self Checklist.
Bold type, 17 point font on my paper. These are big things, for big challenging times.
JOURNAL. YOGA. WALK. CREATIVELY WRITE & PHOTOGRAPH. JOYFUL HOUSEHOLD. CONNECTION. COOK. READ. RUB A BODY PART. DAY JOB HOURS WITH GENTLENESS. INDULGE/RELAX.
I use the back to jot down those “gotta remember” things, as well as exciting meal ideas from what I have here at home, future Zoom meetings, and projects I intend to tackle in small bites. However, those are not requirements with a due date necessarily; they are written to relieve the heaviness in my mind, loosen it for other things, like letting go of the list.
I spend time crying and laughing. I do completely unexpected things.
There’s a lot to write about this list. It has grown and shifted over the weeks.
But for now, I toggle between these various actions that feed me. I don’t expect to get every one of them done every day. I note and delight in any accomplishments—and there are quite a few, especially ones that wouldn’t normally make it onto a list.
What is on your Pandemic Care for Self Checklist?