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Posts Tagged ‘practices’

We’re in the middle of week 6 (of how many?) of quarantine over here, and it seems clear this is going to be our lives for a while. I am alternately grateful for my blessings and privileges (my lovely apartment, a job that allows me to work from home, virtual connection with family and friends) and really missing the aspects of “normal” life that are suspended right now (in-person yoga classes, trips to the library, hugs).

Like a lot of folks, I do better with a bit of routine and structure, so as I adjust to wearing a mask, doing yoga online and canceling travel plans, I’ve come up with a few daily rules for myself. I’m sharing them here, and I’d love to hear yours, if you have any.

Leave the house twice every day.
I need fresh air and movement like I need oxygen. And while getting out for a run is great (I do this most days), I get tetchy and restless if I’m inside for the entire rest of the day. So I’m walking myself to work, going to the bodega, meeting my guy for a bike ride, walking the compost bag down the hill – whatever it takes to get outside more than once.

Related: Get up and move. 
I’m spending a lot of time sitting at my kitchen table, and my body is starting to feel it – so I’m trying to get up and move around the apartment as often as possible. Even a few steps makes a difference (or so I’m telling myself).

Write it down.
I journal regularly anyhow, but those morning pages (and sometimes evening ones) feel important right now. Sometimes I’m just whining on the page, but sometimes it helps to think things through, remember moments of joy or make lists. I stocked up on journals right before our stay-at-home order hit, so I’m set for a while.

Drink more water.
However much I think I’m drinking, it’s probably not enough.

Pick up the phone.
I’m alone most of the time right now, but I need my people, and I want to be there for them, too. So I text a friend (or three) every day, FaceTime my sister, call my mom, trade Marco Polo messages with a couple of friends. Hearing a friendly voice, or just getting a text update, helps.

Wash the dishes.
Because if I don’t, they tend to pile up quickly – plus it’s often oddly grounding.

Tackle at least one book from the long-unread stacks every week.
While I’m bemoaning the temporary loss of my library, I’m trying to see this as a chance to catch up on the books that tend to linger on my bedside shelf. So far, I’ve picked up (and loved) an Ivan Doig novel, a quirky collection of Boston-themed comics, and now a memoir about life in Alaska.

Make a list.
I’ve been making “Today I…” lists each night, as a way to reassure myself that yes, I did the essential things today, and to capture some memories in list form if I’m too tired to write it all out. It’s a (mostly) reassuring practice.

Give myself a break.
My friend Jen Lee keeps reminding us to “go gently” in her Morning, Sunshine videos (they are so good, y’all). I tend to be hard on myself at the best of times, and it’s helpful to remember that we are all dealing with a lot right now. So I’m giving myself a break: curling up with a book (see above), taking a leisurely walk, going to bed early if I want/need to. This rule (and the first one) may be the most important one on this list.

Do you have any rules/practices for your daily routine during this time?

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My one little word for this year is comfort. And it has been elusive so far. I feel like I’ve had to chase it, instead of finding it around every corner, the way I did last year with “brave.”

I’ve been trying hard to provide physical comfort for myself and my husband – not always an easy task during a long, cold winter. Lots of tea and warm boots and tights under my jeans; coats and knitted accessories; bowl after bowl of soup; warm desserts, like apple crumble or soft, chewy cookies. Twinkle lights in our living room. Soft tissues for our constantly leaking noses.

I suppose that has been, more or less, successful. But the kind of emotional comfort I’m after – the feeling of ease, of belonging, of finally feeling like we have a place here in Boston – is still eluding me.

I catch glimpses of it, to be sure, when we’re at Brookline singing and sharing life with friends; when we spend Sunday evenings at Ryan and Amy’s, sharing a meal and then singing some more; when I meet up with Abi and Shanna on Thursday nights. I’m starting to glimpse it in my new office, though I still feel like the new kid. And J and I have had several “friend-dates” lately with new people or couples who live close by.

Still, though, I’m struggling with homesickness. I miss wide streets and spicy salsa and running into people I know at the grocery store. I miss Sunday nights at the Donagheys’, Tuesday nights at Mezamiz with my coffee ladies, lunches with Julie and other girlfriends. When I was in Abilene I longed to leave it for new adventures; now that I’m gone, I miss it keenly, every single day.

I know it’ll always be different up here. But I’m still waiting for that feeling of yes. That feeling of knowing this is our home for a while. Getting a full-time job, and having to adjust to a whole new rhythm, threw into sharp relief how unsettled I still feel here. We are still strangers, and that is not comforting. And that kind of comfort is harder to manufacture than the physical kind.

I suppose the answer is to simply sit with the discomfort, to fall back on the practices I know will nourish me as I keep settling in, keep seeking comfort in this new place. And, of course, a cup of tea or a bowl of soup or a cozy handknit cowl never hurt anyone.

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