As the COVID-19 pandemic continues its journey, it has had some interesting effects on people.
Cabin Fever is rampant. With people only really allowed to leave to do life-or-death things, there is restlessness at home. Some people really don’t like working from home. Sports fanatics are desperate for something to watch, especially baseball fans.
For me, there are some wild conflicts going on between my ears.
My energy level has been awful. In addition to being a VA and freelance writer, I’m also a nurse. No, I don’t have any training or schooling, but I have had to become one for my wife.
We are still trying to get on Medicaid so we can get an in-home aid (Since October 2018 and counting). The needs there are pretty much the same as they have been since her most recent spinal cord injury in October 2017, but it’s harder for me to do. I fall asleep during the day more frequently. And when I finally go to bed at night, my sleep is inconsistent and of rotten quality.
Motivation has also been a problem. Writing in this space hasn’t been what it could be. I know my audience is small, but it’s never going to grow if I only write once every blue moon.
It’s not like I have nothing to say. That has NEVER been my problem. Putting the words on (virtual) paper has been tougher these days. I’ve come to believe Cabin Fever has been the root cause of these issues.
“Well, how are you doing spiritually?”
This is really going to make total nonsense. I think I’m in a better place spiritually than I’ve been in a long time. A year ago, I was convinced God had thrown me to the wolves, having become completely exhausted with me and my many issues. Grace was no longer in play, because I had exhausted God’s unlimited supply of it. Every misstep I make from here on out would be met with punishment, I concluded.
But I have spent the last several months studying grace and God’s love, and those poison thoughts are becoming fewer and further between. Things have been rough in the building of this business and in my wife’s health, but I’m certain God is going to deliver. We’ve been in a terrible desert, but we’re going to get into the promised land eventually. (That’s a promised land here on Earth, not just surviving turmoil until making into heaven after death.)
How back-and-forth is all that?
I have been working from home for two years now. It is wonderful. I do not miss the daily commute, even though for me it was riding on a city bus. Not reporting to a boss is phenomenal. (You could call the clients bosses, but that’s not exactly the same dynamic). In the current environment, with everyone at home, VAs are much less in demand. And while I still call myself a Virtual Assistant and am open to such work, I have been doing more freelance writing than anything else.
So I’m stuck at home like everyone else, VA work is almost non-existent, and I have time. So I should be writing like a madman, churning out reams of high-quality stuff. Right?
I have one standing freelance writing project every month. When I submitted the March content, the client said, “Uh, this kinda sucks. Can you do it again?” Well, he didn’t use those words; he said it professionally. But I agreed, because looking it over, it really did suck. I can do so much better. So I set about working on revisions. It took much longer than it should have (which goes back to the motivation issue).
Less work means less income. It’s gotten VERY tight during the lockdown. So yeah, I’m tickled pink, purple, turquoise and peuce that the government is going to send us a $2,400 check. “I thought Libertarians hated government handouts.” Generally, we do. But it’s not like a pandemic breaks out every other month. True emergencies demand emergency solutions. Fear not, I’ll get back to my “I Hate Big Government” screeds when the virus has been defeated.
Better times are ahead. Corporate workers, seeing that stuff gets done even when the boss can’t see everyone, will want more work-from-home time. Some will decide to ditch the rat race and start their own home-based businesses. And many businesses will resume standard operations. All of this will be good for VAs and writers. I intend to be ready.
So what can we do?
Build spirituality. For me, it starts there. No matter what goes on around me, I am NOT going to miss starting a day with some Bible study and prayer. The work to change my thoughts from doomsday to God’s opportunity is starting to bear some fruit. If I get bad news in the mail now, I’m able to process it without freaking out.
Make the most of what human interaction you do have. My church of about 500 people is divided organizationally into about 40 smaller groups we call “family groups.” Our evangelists have been creating sermon videos on the church’s YouTube channel. After each one, the family groups get together via Zoom, where we talk about the sermon and how to apply it. I also cherish my plasma donation trips. The people that work at the center are fabulous people. It’s nice to be able to see them twice a week.
Make sure to laugh. I have a stable of comedians I follow, along with some great humor accounts. Hold My Beer, Dumb Drunk People, news bloopers and Dilbert are things I check in with regularly.
I also strive to keep the news feed at a reasonable level. I disabled all the notification alarms in the various news apps and go online to catch up once or twice a day. Since FOX News is right-wing propaganda, while all the other national outlets are left-wing propaganda, I’ll read a story from 2 sources. Each article will be to one extreme or the other. You will usually find the truth somewhere in between.
And finally, keep hope alive! This will not last forever.
How are your thoughts as this goes on? Feel free to share.