With this whole work-from-home thing, as part of our self-quarantined lock-down COVID-19 situation, one would think, cool! As a writer, I need time in isolation to write. Fantastic! Right? Unfortunately, there have been some external and internal stressors that have made this more stressful than, honestly, it is necessary. The long arms of micromanagement extend especially far into work-from-home environments where, well, it’s easy to let that consume me and easy to consume more calories…
There are some factors I do to address this stress.
The most important one for me is that I don’t leave my work-from-home setup out to casually see when I’m off work. I immediately put everything away at the end of my shift into the cardboard boxes that act as my standing workstation, to abstract the area, reclaiming what was theirs during my shift to what was once mine before this whole thing.
It’s not like I hate my job; I just don’t love all of it.
There are a few petty factors I won’t get into that are active impairments toward me enjoying the job, and I understand why they do it, but all it means is that I’m not putting in my best effort. Let’s put it that way. If any management there were to read this, well, hello there, good to see you, and let’s just say that micromanagement is insecurity and if you want to feel more secure then don’t tear me down but help see things from my perspective, and let’s work together on a good solution that is healthy for both of us.
I love working at home and I don’t like the idea of going back into the office.
Still, I know this won’t last forever, partially because eventually we’ll either return to work or something further will crumble within society or whatever kind of lingering stress causes the sort of existential dread that is actually a very real threat right now – and that’s even a month before this essay’s publication. I can only imagine things are worse in May, especially if non-essential businesses don’t reopen as initially estimated on May 04.
I haven’t addressed the eating side of this yet because it’s an effect, not a cause.
I haven’t been exerting myself more over these past few weeks to necessitate more caloric intake. I’m not hungrier because I’m physically burning more calories. I’m hungrier because eating is good stress relief for me and these are scary times. I fear for the lives of my family, friends, and acquaintances, because even though they should be fine, there is a national pandemic that is killing people daily with or without pre-existing health conditions.
This is not a time for pedantic analysis of metrics and stats.
But since it is, apparently, rather than take all that in from work, along with the work itself, current events, and season it with a side of more calories than I need, I should figure out where those stress points are and mitigate their hold on my psyche. On my days off work, I am more tired, oftentimes going to bed early, which messes up my schedule. On my days on work, I keep a fairly rigorous schedule and I try to let these things not stick too much, but even still, they stick and they dig in deeper than COVID-19, it would seem.
That’s where the abstraction helps.
Early on into my career, I would incessantly check my emails at home, research work to do outside of business hours, and otherwise ruin my personal life to get ahead in my professional life. This carried on for years, until I think it was right around the time I started this website and writing that I shifted gears into needing to split these two sides of myself.
Will I need to do that once my avocation becomes my vocation?
I imagine that just as Murakami writes about in his memoir, I’ll have scheduled times for writing then scheduled times for living the rest of my life. I love writing more than anything else, but other things are nice, too. Having the flavor of being able to cook some salmon won’t help me write an essay, nor would provide much substance or sustenance for a fictional scene, but the act of cooking then eating something healthy provides all of that necessary disengagement from stress that I need right now.
The important thing, though, is to not get addicted to that disengagement.
I am stressing my body right now by standing. I’ve been standing for 36 minutes on ready mode. My ankles hurt by the end of yesterday’s shift. I have a foam roller I’ll lie on in about one hour to stretch out my back. I may even sleep on it for a few minutes. That’s the sort of activity that will help me address the stress more than eating, because there is the mental stress of micromanagement, the physical stress of subpar ergonomics, and the societal or existential stress of worrying about whether we’ll even have had a need for jobs or money in the months and years to come, if things continue to fracture as they have.
I suppose I’m lucky to have a job.
I suppose that we’re all just stressed out and express it in our own ways. I would just prefer, especially if we’re getting worse rather than better, for us all to take a step back and think, ‘ya know what, now’s not the time to be petty.’ One of my first work-from-home callers explained it best: before all this happened, it was like high school, with cliques and petty favoritism, but now, everyone’s working together like we’re all adults. We should be mature with ourselves and others. Eat if you’re hungry but don’t glutton yourself with food unnecessarily. That stress energy could be channeled into asking others how they’re doing, helping out as you can, or even helping yourself.
We won’t get through this by beating each other up over pedantries.
|Sources: My personal and professional experiences.|
|Inspirations: Continuing off “Count Your Rowing,” especially its footnote, and maybe “Calorie Counting Charts,” I wanted to write about my stresses and how that influences my decisions to eat more. Did this help you as much as it helped me?|
|Related: Other Sober Living essays.|
|Picture: Just the generic picture since I preferred thinking about the essay contents than visual element.|
|Written On: Written: 2020 April 04 [1:33am to 2:01am, Gdocs.]|
|Last Edited: 2020 April 08 [Adapted from Gdoc, so, second draft; final draft for the Internet.]|