Life in the time of Corona


What a strange situation we're currently in, with the whole Covid-19 pandemic thing. Few months ago I was in my denial phase; I read and heard the news everywhere about how dangerous the virus is, yet I kept telling myself that "Meh, it's okay, it's just flu, I have healthy body". At that time, I guess I decided to keep my eyes closed as I didn't want to cancel all plans that I had.

Me and Junda initially will go on our annual holiday to the UK. We're one of those people who work their ass off to save money throughout the year, to have their 'dream' holiday come true. We've planned this UK trip since last year, and we've been looking forward to it, badly. I was on my busiest period since the beginning of the year. The workload have been crazy. Sometimes I could easily cry due to panic-induced stress while remembering how much work I had to do. But what kept me going day by day was knowing that it will all be paid with a nice 16 days holiday to the UK. Some of my friends and families told me to cancel the holiday but I just insisted that the show must go on. 


But shit just got more real each day, especially the day when we got the news from the airlines that the flight will be all cancelled, including ours. After a long long contemplation, numerous amount of refund request (thank God almost all bookings could be fully refunded due to the new Covid policy) and making an agreement that we'd fly to the UK immediately after this damn virus vanishes, the wisest thing that we could do now is just stay at home, and wash our hands frequently.

It's been 1 month + 9 days since my office have this work from home (WFH) policy. Although I should remember that having a chance to work comfortably from home and still have your monthly payroll is truly a blessing and such a privilege that I have to be very grateful for (frankly, I often cries thinking that someone have so little when I have more than enough), I couldn't lie that it bores me out. Me as an extrovert person is longing for a human-to-human interaction while the introvert Junda is thrilled until now cause he doesn't have to meet many people in the office.

So I guess this post will be more about how I cope with this #stayathome situation.

1. Create a comfortable working space

As I live in a tiny apartment, creating a comfortable working space might be tricky. Although WFH is actually not a new thing for me and Junda (we occasionally chose to work from home instead of going to the office), we don't have dedicated place to work. Junda is more comfortable sitting on the floor, while I have to sit properly in order to focus on the work and to prevent the back-ache since I have scoliosis problem. Day 5 of WFH, we impulsively ordered a dining table from IKEA, since the one we previously had was more of a 'temporary' one (it's a cheap folding picnic table provided by the landlord). Although at the time of purchase we felt that it's quite an impulsive decision, now we kinda looked back and thought that it was an okay decision, especially when we know that the WFH period will be extended until June (God please don't let it be extended again).

The new dining table!

Junda usually sit like this, or using a foldable laptop desk

My home-working space

2. Set a line between work and personal life

Some of my friends said that they feel more exhausted now, since the working hours could be extended until late as they don't feel the urge to wrap-up their work and go home. But to me, the key is to set your own working hour, and stick to that. Mine will be 9.30 - 6.30, where all the work related matters (email and Slack) will be ignored outside that time frame. Junda is going with a more 'formal' approach, as he and his whole team agreed on active hours beforehand and set an automated reply for emails and messages that arrived outside those hours.

I couldn't work with the messy surroundings, therefore, I usually do house chores; cleaning, preparing food for lunch before 9.30AM. At night after 6.30PM, I could watch Netflix, scrolling Instagram aimlessly, or do simple workout. I also go out of my way to change outfit into sleepwear when office hour is finished to give a sense that, 'hey, the work is over, now it's time to chill!'. This scheduling works for now.


Also, if possible, differentiate your work and play station. Some of my friends complained that they could not relax on weekends because they still opened the same laptop that they use for work, the difference is only on the tab that they open. I told them I couldn't relate since I always completely close my work laptop after office hours and committed on using my personal laptop for leisure instead. I even used to leave my work laptop in the office. It prevents you to accidentally opening work-related app/files while relaxing, which could potentially ruining your mood.

3. Do what you love! 

Especially the one that you didn't usually do because you didn't have much time. Good news is, now you do have lots of time! I strangely find peacefulness in cleaning the house and making it tidy, and also cooking! Cooking is one of the therapeutic activities that always works for me, especially when I cook new dish that I haven't tried before, or dish that is complicated to make.

My favourite place in the house: the tiny kitchen.


Tried cooking Soto Betawi once. Now I know that even though it has simple flavour, it uses a wide-range of spices and herbs (coriander, cloves, cumin, candlenut, cinnamon, you name it)


Japanese food is easy but satisfying. The ingredients are simple but the result is lovely.

Meal prep once a week is also therapeutic. I mean look at those arrangements!

4. Stay at home most of the time, but don't forget to move your body and greet the sun!

Take time to realize that the sky is now clearer, especially in Jakarta. After finishing my house chores, I usually take 30 minutes to go outside to get my Vitamin D intake. My favourite activity is sitting by the swimming pool (I'd like to swim but the pool is now closed, again due to Covid), ignore my phone, and read. After that I'd fell more refreshed and ready to start my day. Sometimes I also walk around the apartment complex while listening to a podcast. I do it after I realized that my daily steps now decreased drastically, for obvious reason!

Since the sports that we could do is now limited (oh how I miss running and swimming outside!), it's time to get creative! I usually do online Zumba, or simply following Yoga or Body Combat exercise from YouTube.

Re-reading "And Then There Were None" - Agatha Christie



5. Talk to your friends!

Though now I kinda used to this whole new stay at home routines, as an Extrovert I could not lie that I still miss talking to real people. Me and my colleagues have this 'afternoon meeting' where we talk about non-job-related matters as a sanity checkpoint, where everyone is recommended to turn their camera on. I also have video calls with other group of friends. Sometimes we just talk and exchanges life-update, sometimes we play online game (you should try Gartic or Among Us!), and last week I even have an online drawing session with fellow colleagues who love to draw.

Time to use the watercolor kit again

---

Well, it's a hard hard situation, for everyone. Hopefully future me looked back to this notes and realized that I passed this with flying colors!

There's nothing much we could do, but we could take care of ourselves and our loved ones! Keep yourself sane by doing anything that you love, eat healthy, drink much water, do exercise, and wash your hands!

This too shall pass!

3 comments

  1. I’m sorry to hear about the postponed UK trip, hope you’ll get through this safely and get to do your vacation then.

    For the designated workspace and sticking to the work schedule, I can vouch for those! I’ve been working from home for almost 6 weeks now and it hasn’t been a problem, in fact I feel a lot more productive as there’s much less distraction than the office. Having a proper desk and screen really makes a difference ��

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Dixie!

      True, I also feel more productive, a bit unmotivated to be honest, but still more productive compared to working at the office. I loooove your workspace setup, btw. I actually inspired to write this post after reading yours!

      Delete
  2. Hi Mba Mira!

    So sorry about the postponed UK trip. Semoga suatu hari nanti kita bisa jalan-jalan lagi. Situasi sekarang ini memang membingungkan sekali ): Tetap semangat menjalani rutinitas selama di rumah, ya, Mba! Aku salfok sama soto betawinya nih, pengen bikin juga ah kapan-kapan :D

    ReplyDelete