A Fresh Start

Returning to the office last week provided some challenges for keeping myself healthy and safe after months of working from home. However, it has also provided opportunities for a fresh start with new routines and priorities.

I was able to set a new schedule that hinges on getting up a little earlier, something that doesn’t come easily to me. However, this gets me into the office before most others and it gets me out of the office earlier as well.

Even an extra thirty minutes each evening can feel like a lot when you work full time.

One thing I loved about working from home is the found time that was no longer needed for tasks like commuting or fixing my hair. I could throw a load of laundry in to wash in the morning and put it away at lunch or use my break to clean the bathroom. Instead of devoting an entire evening to house cleaning, it could be done in 15 minute increments before work and at lunch. So I have now broken up housework into smaller tasks to be done each evening.

Last Monday, by 6 p.m. I had walked two miles, vacuumed the house and was heating up dinner. By 7, my lunch was packed, dishes done and the kitchen floor mopped, freeing up the remaining evening hours to read and relax. I curled up with Scout in my favorite chair and embraced the luxurious feeling of productivity rewarded by relaxation.

Another big piece of this new routine will be working in a couple of hikes each week. Experience has taught me that I’m healthier and happier when I move in nature. Besides, a friend and I are planning a big hiking trip next fall and there’s no time like the present to start training.

For someone who likes to plan and who thrives on going out and doing things, this pandemic has been rough. All the cancelled plans and disappointments have been hard on the morale and the loss of control has potential to be paralyzing.

Luckily, there are some things within our control. Most of us have some say over how we structure our free time and what we prioritize.

Right now, my focus is on building a life that I don’t need a vacation from to be happy. It seems logical to me given that most people have only a few weeks of vacation a year. If you get two weeks for being happy on vacation, that means you’re spending fifty weeks struggling and living for the other two.

Now is our chance to turn that ship around and simply build a happy life.

Who’s with me? What are you doing to build a happier life for yourself?