First of all, that’s a headline I never thought I’d write. My thoughts on our world midst COVID-19: I hope people will look at the people who make this world run – healthcare, service, factory and delivery workers, among many other unsung heroes – with a greater respect and admiration. I certainly do. I also hope you’re all keeping safe and sane with your families. 

For office-based workers, we are a few weeks into a drastically different lifestyle than most of us have experienced. We’re privileged to be able to work from home in the first place, as that isn’t the case for many people who help make our economy survive and thrive. I miss my team at Mars Wrigley. There’s no question about it. My writing desk is seeing more action and coffee stains these days and my favorite coworker is our new puppy, Sonic. We’re calling him Sonic the Shadow because no matter what we’re doing, he follows a few feet behind waiting for a treat. 

Reflecting on my last few weeks in quarantine (also a sentence I never thought I’d write), I’m going to be vulnerable for a minute… 

I’ve developed a healthier routine working from home than ever before, strangely. Rituals I’ve been trying to adapt for years have been positively enforced by our unfortunate circumstance. Many lessons learned over the last month:

Rise early and get a head start. I’m waking up earlier and getting outside as the sun comes up. Because, when you have a puppy, that’s what you have to do. We walk only the length of our block keeping a distance from neighbors, unless another dog wants to play. 

Indulging in simple pleasures. I learned how to make a  vanilla latte and I actually enjoy it at the start of my day. Typically, I’m juggling the coffee, laptop, and more from meeting room to meeting room.

Take breaks. Getting up from my desk  every few hours to walk the dog is making me realize how much time I spent sitting at work. And, I have more energy than usual. I’m trying not to be a work robot and ignore my basic needs, schedule brief breaks like I would schedule a meeting. 

Take a pause from the news cycle. The news is overwhelming right now, and my job as a communications manager is to be one of the first to know the latest. Thanks to technology and instant alerts, I’m keeping up with what’s relevant to my team and business. I’m experimenting with ways to stay up-to-date while also giving my brain (and soul) a break from a volatile news cycle. A friend told me she recently locked her phone in her car overnight. We have to do what we have to do right now to relax our minds. 

Connect in new ways that make you smile. I’m checking in with family and friends regularly. We’re building resilience together, practicing empathy and listening. We’re all impacted in different ways. My youngest sister, a college student, is navigating virtual learning and questioning who will be able to afford summer interns. My friends are anxious about their work and livelihoods, especially those who are losing clients, patients or cases as a result. My neighbors in our high-rise condo building, are ordering groceries online for the first time and saying hello more often when passing through the lobby. I think we’re seeing each other, and ourselves, more clearly and with more compassion. 

It’s hard to believe this way of life will continue on for the foreseeable future. I’m curious to see how this changes the way we live, play, learn and work together in our communities. I have no doubt that it will. 

Have you all developed any rituals, or made a change for the better in this troubling time?