One Month in Self-Isolation: Stress, Calm and One Big Question, Productivity?

Today is my one-month anniversary for being in self-isolation. Some days I wake up feeling like that time has flown by. Other days it feels like this past month has been the longest decade of my life.

At the heart of the month I have been in isolation is my routine, the daily cystic fibrosis routine we all know too well.

Wake up

Make coffee

Do treatments

Eat breakfast

Go to “virtual” class

Eat lunch

Do homework or write for the blog

Exercise in some capacity if time allows

Spend time with Darcy

Maybe play Xbox?

Eat dinner

Do treatments

Read

Bed

The routine strangely feels normal. It’s the routine I relied on for nearly half a decade – before my health improve. It’s the feeling I wrote about last week. That familiarity also extends to the emotional burden the pandemic has forced upon me. I have found myself stressed some days and full of relief the next. It’s an existential rollercoaster that I imagine many of us are riding.

The stress is undoubtedly connected to the helplessness many of us feel related to the coronavirus. Fighting an enemy without a face is hard. It is anxiety provoking. It has also led to an internal conflict for me. Should I do whatever I can to be productive or do I need to let off the reigns?

I have used productivity as a coping mechanism for as long as I can remember. Whether it’s work, social or play, I feel like I have always forced myself to do something. It’s probably why over the last month I’ve read three books, overloaded my virtual class load, written tens of thousands of words of blog posts and opinion submissions. The latter has been met with more failure than success – 9 out of 10 failures to be exact. Maybe that’s contributing to my frustration and stress? But such is the writing process. I have also hiked more miles than I care to count and poured through Love is Blind (that show sucks) and Tiger King (wow… amazing) on Netflix.

On the other hand, I have let my productivity wane. There are days when I sit on the couch after class and let hours pass by without lifting a finger. I have found that it is okay not to be productive, too.

I refuse to treat this time in self-isolation as time off. Instead it exists at the intersection of business as usual and newfound territory. Just as I use every day to evolve the way I cope with cystic fibrosis, I am using each day to learn how to internally deal with the slow dissolution of the society we have all lived in. Next, we will learn how to live in the world shaped by the coronavirus pandemic.


Earlier this morning I tweeted some thoughts on my one-month anniversary: