over a week of being at home

I’ve been working form home full time for a week and a half. And almost done with my first weekend of being at home. It’s been a tough week. And something that made it worse was that most people seemed to be ok. Or at least far better than I was.

Then yesterday (Saturday), I saw this tweet! It really helped because it was the first thing I had seen that made me not feel like an overwhelmed crybaby. And I was able to “admit” on Twitter that I cried too.

On Friday, I made a comment that I didn’t say anything on a call because I didn’t want to “admit” I wasn’t fine on a call with 22 people. I’m realizing that is contributing to the problem. If anyone else on the call wasn’t fine, I contributed to the illusion that everyone is fine. Posting the tweet was scary. So is posting this blog entry. The internet has more than 22 people on it!

What’s been on my mind the past week

  • Having trouble concentrating/focusing
  • Frustrated that I was having trouble concentrating
  • Distractions (I normally get distracted at home. When I’m only telecommuting for a day that’s not a problem because I would just get more done the next day. That approach doesn’t work here)
  • My work setup is less than ideal. It’s better than when I ad-hoc telecommute as I’ve sacrificed living space to build a work area. Some of that came from getting rid of space I need when I have friends over and the like. All stuff I can eventually unroll.
  • Fear of leading a four hour meeting when I couldn’t even focus for short periods of time.
  • Fear of how I was going to be ok without seeing my friends for a long time
  • Fear of how I was going to be ok with being home almost all the time
  • Fear that we are going to lose the ability to go get takeout and/or go for a walk (like parts of Italy)
  • Worry for my immediate family (out of state so limited ability to help)
  • Plus the normal fear of the future/disease that everyone has, friends and family, etc

Triggers

Part of the problem was that I had pretty much no emotional resiliency. So things that normally wouldn’t have set me off turned me into a puddle. And just thinking about the things I was afraid of did the same.

It also meant I didn’t have the ability to mentally process. Normally, I’d be able to think about something rationally and determine if it was a problem and/or how big before panicking. Last week was not that week. Instead, turned into a puddle.

I cried 7.5 times during work hours in the 8 days I’ve worked at home so far. The half a time was the one I was able to hold in. (I didn’t count the # of times outside of work hours.) I think that metric will be lower next week

Why I feel better now that I did last week

  • I ran a one hour Toastmasters meeting on Thursday. I was one of the more comfortable with remote meetings of the people on the call so I was both teaching and being a good role model. I also felt like I was in “leader mode” so fine. Kind of like how I am our floor fire warden and know I can stay calm in actual emergency.
  • The four hour sprint planning meeting went fine. Two of my teammates brought their cats to the meeting which definitely helped!
  • On the weekend, I have had three video chats, a long call with my best friend and some emails/texts with other friends. I also got two offers two video chat whenever I need. So I don’t feel freaked out about being alone anymore. (Not the same as actual human contact, but seems like enough to keep me grounded)
  • Two of the three video chats involved my friends kids and pets. Also helped with virtual human contact.
  • NYC doesn’t appear to be moving towards banning the ability to go for a walk. I’ve always needed to walk for stress relief. The times I’ve hurt my leg/ankle have been really stressful without that release!
  • Friday was in the 70s after work. Walking was more enjoyable. And I was able to sit on my balcony and read for an hour. I like sitting outside. And since it is private space, it is allowed. (Conveniently my building has separate balconies that are more than 6 feet apart)
  • A friend sent me flowers to make me smile. I put them on the balcony where they should last longer and preserve that message.
  • I read about putting up a post-it happy face to give the neighbors something to smile about. Mine makes a cool shadow in the afternoon which makes me smile!

The coming week

There’s still plenty of things I’m worried about. I’m sure that’s true for everyone. But I think it is now below the level where it is impeding my ability to think. My hope is for a mildly frustrating week. That would be a huge upgrade from last week!

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