In Finland this week was the last week of COVID-19 isolation that the kids are home. Schools opened on Thursday, and we are more or less back to our regular routines with kids.
I believe there is a saying that there’s a possibility in every change. How was it now? Was there a possibility? How did I manage to use the opportunities, or did I even notice any?
Create a way to digest the news
Local press has had major headlines, for example, over, remote work, relationships, travel bans, and the economy. I have been really selective about the news I read. Not because I wanted to isolate myself, but rather to prioritize my time and energy.
I categorize news and many other things in three blocks:
- Informative, decisions have been made, and you can’t do anything about it. You can stay in the loop, but you shouldn’t dive into details.
- Responsible, you actually can, and you should do something about the issue. It’s in your hands!
- Accountable, is it election time soon? These are the kind of news where you can give your input by selecting your representatives in the future, but not now.
(Informative) I don’t have anything to say (don’t necessarily want to either) whether regions get closed or not, but that is something that will have an effect on me. (Responsible)I can decide how I’m planning my days, how much, and what I eat or if I go outside running. (Accountable) And based on some news I can make up my mind if my representative has done a good job or not for the next election.
A bit like an adjusted RACI matrix, but it works for me. The categorizing saves me from an information overflow. I think I’ll continue this in the future.
What did I learn about myself during the isolation?
I’ve been doing different kinds of projects as long as I can remember. I realized quite early that for me this isolation was a crisis project without an exact timeline or a deadline. I concentrate on the task at hand and narrow down everything else that is not relevant to that point. I focus on the core things (food, time spent outdoors, activities, sleep) and keep them as routine as possible which leaves room and energy to react if needed. It feels like you’re physically and mentally really attentive and see the smallest changes around you. It’s as if you’re constantly ready to sprint, but you’re still really calm.
I had a plan and timetable, and I stuck with it.
Learn how to communicate
I’m not that much of a social person, insofar isolation would be a problem. But I took a habit of calling someone when I had my daily walk. Adding to that, I don’t necessarily come across as the most communicative person, especially in a crisis situation. So this was something I needed to learn.
Thanks to my mentor, Carita Nyberg, I knew that already, but now it was time to put myself to a test and start talking. The absurd part of this is that talking about deep stuff has never been a problem. Talking about everyday stuff is 🙂
Pushing through the tasks that don’t feel like they are yours
Being home with all the kids (aged 2, 10, and 12) is not the easiest job. Especially if that’s not really your cup of tea. I’m no perfect housewife and I openly admit that seeing my husband working at his home office, made me mad and jealous of the work. I wanted to feel that urge to innovating something new or pushing professional limits more often than I had a chance now.
Luckily our relationship holds strong and I could show my jealousness openly and talk about that. Did we have arguments? Yes, we, for example, managed to have an argument over a side dish. He wanted pasta and was sure we’d agreed about it and I made rice… Mature, right?
Are you a negative or positive person?
Is your cup half empty or full? I wanted to come out of this isolation with a smile on my face. I wanted to see something positive coming out of this situation. I also noticed that nagging, whining, and complaining about things is more common than I realized.
It’s easier to concentrate on the things that you can’t do anything about and carry all the problems of the world on your shoulders. It gives you the possibility to feel bad. Perhaps it’s an excuse, so you don’t have to do anything else.
Negative people are really hard to hang around with. They suck all the life from you. I am sure everyone knows how to complain. The question is, do you want to do that all the time?
What did isolation teach you?
At the moment, what comes to COVID-19, we are not yet of the hook. It might be that we’ll end up isolated again if and when the second wave breaks.
But for now, it’s time to reflect on the situation. Did something change in you during these few weeks of isolation? Here’s a quick quiz to go through some of the issues before you look in the mirror after the situation improves, and when you can have a first date with yourself.
- Is remote work your thing or did you hate it?
- How would you describe your relationship with your spouse, to your family, or to your friends?
- What was your mentality to survive through the isolation? Push it through? Let it flow? Why?
- Did you notice changes in you or your family members? Are your loved ones positive or negative people?
- Did you learn anything new about yourself during isolation?
- Did you take care of yourself during the isolation?