It’s funny how the unpredictability of COVID has led to my daily routine becoming the most predictable it’s ever been. It’s almost like this pandemic has given me the chance to reset and evaluate what really matters.
Before COVID, I was all over the place. This January, I had three different jobs, I was overextending my budget, I was running 6-10 miles a day, and I kept myself as busy as possible because I believed that’s what success looked like. But my days all looked different, and I had no clear motivation for the future. I also wasn’t doing any of this for myself, so I wasn’t really fulfilled. Before COVID, all I ever did was compare myself to others.
Then March hit, and it felt like the whole world turned upside down. Everything came to a screeching halt. I went from being busy 12-15 hours a day to having all the free time I could imagine. For the first time in my life, I didn’t have to do anything or be anywhere. Everyone was stuck inside, so I didn’t have to prove anything to anyone. But I did have to live with myself. I had to learn what made me truly happy. I had to get to the root of why I kept myself so busy and did all these things to look like I was doing well on the surface. I had to figure out what it was that made me feel so empty even though my schedule was so full.
I had two options: sink into a deep depression and just let myself believe that the universe had nothing good planned for me, or take the time to dig deep and find ways to bring happiness to my daily life. It would have been easy to just give up. It would have been easy to let the pandemic ruin my superficial life. I chose the more difficult path. I did the hard work—I’m still doing the hard work—to build a life I can live with.
Instead of filling my days with meaningless busywork, I started working on myself. I started figuring out what works for me. I started taking the time I so desperately needed for myself. I started building a daily routine that’s sustainable.
Once the world started opening back up, my schedule, like many others’, started filling back up. But instead of slipping back into the messy life I used to live, I found ways to make time for myself to do what I want every day.
I still work two jobs, but I love the work I do. And now, I give myself time every morning to drink my coffee, play with my puppy, read and watch an episode of whatever show I’m on. And I build time in to go to the grocery store. I cook my own food (most of the time). I eat what I want to eat and what makes me feel good. I go on walks or hikes. I run sprints across my apartment or parking lot with my puppy. I finally do what I want to do.
Stay healthy, give yourself time.