Chatty Check-In: How Have Your Life Standards Lowered After 1 Year of Quarantine?

Check-In time! Let us share our life choices after 1 year of quarantine. What has gone from “it’s okay, it’s an emergency” to “I guess this is just life now”? From make-up to work/life dividing lines to family time?

I’ll start!

Food: I think my parents have fully switched to produce delivery life style. Instead of going to the story and figuring out what to buy, you just get a magic box and then try to find recipes that match it. Are you also produce boxing? And will you ever go back to the other way?

Meanwhile, I have switched to the Home Food lifestyle. When I was working, I used to get coffee before work and then usually snack on stuff like crackers and cookies from the work snack bar instead of lunch, and then have a big dinner as soon as I get home. But now I make actual lunches for myself from the food in my fridge! How about you? Have you replaced eating out with homemade lunches or do you miss your nice outside lunches?

Clothes: I have gone from leggings most days and nice tops and underclothings and shoes, to leggings and whatever tops and sports bras and crocs. And I am so happy! Why did I ever buy real shoes and real underclothings? Why can’t I just wear crocs and sports bras all the days of my life?

Make-up: never really wore it, continue to not really wear it, no big difference there. I do still paint my fingernails no matter what, but that just makes me so happy I can’t stop. Are there things you have stopped because you don’t care any more and other things that are just to make you happy?

TV viewing: At the start of pandemic, I was watching and reviewing stuff like Little Things episode by episode. And my parents and I were trading off watching critically acclaimed movies and things. And then we started just watching Midsomer Murders every night and I started binging documentaries. And now I have fallen to bad true crime shows on in the background for company at all times and my parents and I are watching Columbo. It’s all a brainless easy comfort entertainment, no more “thinking”. Same for you? Has TV viewing gone from a special activity to a minute by minute necessity?

Housing: Interesting journey here for me. I started out getting really lazy, going from having people over once a month at least to never meant that I could turn one room into just the general Pantry/Boxes/Storage room and set up my living room to be perfectly comfortable for just one person (pillows permanently piled for me, coffee table angled just right for one coffee cup, etc.). And then I switched to putting in the work to make it really nice while also still just for one person. Got a standing desk, picked out prettier pillows for my couch throne, organized the coffee table so it would work better, and so on. And finally my current phase, I’m just bored of being in the same space and am thinking about rearranging for no reason beyond being tired of looking at the same things all the time. Has anyone else done that? Gone from sort of “nothing matters, it’s an emergency” to “well, this is life now, so I need to make it work really well” to “I’m just so bored, I’m rearranging pictures”?

Emotional Health: I’ll tell you this, back when I first moved in my Mom had one quote on the bathroom mirror (I think the Andy Boyle one). And now there are 5. We need every one!

21 thoughts on “Chatty Check-In: How Have Your Life Standards Lowered After 1 Year of Quarantine?

  1. I’m actually finding lockdown easy. But then I’m old so any excuse not to “go and do” is welcome. I work at home, my sons or Sukumar (who lives in) shop for me, TV or NPR on 24/7, I eat mostly eggs and sandwiches, don’t worry too much about the house (except to remove the random turkey carcass from the rug) and I have my dog. Except for missing my husband, life is not exactly good, but okay.

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    • I’ve now entered the point where it is too easy, like I am not sure I will be able to jumpstart myself back to a normal life once it happens. Comfy clothes, comfy bed to work in, comfy family only social life.

      On Tue, Feb 2, 2021 at 10:36 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  2. Food:
    By working from home, I’m really missing out. I have the best colleagues, who would take turns cooking for everyone, simple but decently healthy meals. Now I have to cook enough every weekend so my wife and I can live off leftovers. We also order takeout at least once a week ever since the restaurants closed, hoping to keep the local places in business.

    Clothes:
    The combination of winter and lockdown is making me dress only in comfy shirts and leggings, then put on the outer layer only when I go out to get our boy from daycare and take him for his nap/stroll.

    Make-up:
    Have never used any. For a while there, I even gave up on hair product, too, because that could save my poor hands one extra wash per day.

    TV:
    We don’t have time to watch really interesting stuff together anymore and instead I’m choosing my Netflix fare of the day by what will be least distracting. At some point I guess I’m just going to swear off TV again.

    Housing:
    My wife loves rearranging things, but the only thing that has moved around because of the lockdown is my “office”. Depending on whether our kid’s home I’ve had to set it up in the bedroom a few times, so I could lock the door behind me.

    Emotional Health:
    My journey towards emotional health awareness started before lockdown. The circumstances don’t make it easier of course, but at least I know I’m not the only one struggling right now.

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    • Food: You are lucky! I am jealous. Although my office would sometimes share baked goods.

      clothes: I have a really hard time adjusting to this. I keep putting on sweaters and then being overheated all day because I am just sitting on my bed working on my computer, not going out and catching a bus or whatever.

      Make-up: I never skimp on haircare! And also, it feels sooooooooo good to have clean hair.

      TV: I’m on the “least distracting” kick too. No content of actual value, just something in the background to make me feel like I have company.

      Housing: My boss has a 5 year old, and for a while his office was the landing outside his apartment. So he “left for work” every morning and was all the way outside the apartment, and that way she wouldn’t bother him.

      Emotional Health: Similar. In a lot of ways I am doing better now than I was this time last year. But not as good as if quarantine were over. No matter what, not being able to see friends in person and go into buildings that are not my house is just really hard to keep living with. Even though my anxiety and a bunch of other stuff is far better than it was last winter, the lockdown is just working away at me like it is everyone else.

      On Tue, Feb 2, 2021 at 1:14 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Oh, I do wash my hair, sorry if I wasn’t clear about that. My scalp immediately starts itching if I don’t. It’s just the stuff I put in for styling that has become less than an absolute necessity.

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  3. Food: No changes, we never ate out. Except Spouse has sometimes gotten excited about making food, and now makes his own pizza and even made Berlin style Donor Kebabs. I enjoy going along for the ride, but I’m not the driver.
    Clothes: I’m more willing to wear the same thing two days in a row because it isn’t like people see me all time.
    Make-up: When it comes to make-up I continually think of the Crazy Ex Girlfriend song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2lmojePnA0
    TV: I like it when I get into a series like Lucifer or the much shorter Bridgerton, but it happens so rarely. Lately I’m simply not watching a whole lot, which has to to with how the house is set up and the computers we have as well.
    Housing: The never ending cycle of cleaning is even more frustrating when you are home all the time.
    Emotional Health: It’s been a year, but I am actually in a better place this year than I was at the same time last year. I had a hard January last year. I organized and worked a Missoula Children’s Theater program for the community (for free) and was upset with how little other parents would help. At one point I was begging parents watching a rehearsal to come backstage and help, and the only one who offered to help was the Fire Chief. When it was over I was mad at the community.
    With the first stay at home order it seemed like the town was pulling together, but national politics soon dissolved that as well. I don’t live in the same town I did before this happened. I’m not sure where I am living. I remember around Halloween carving pumpkins and just sobbing in the front yard because it was all too terrrible. But somehow, when things got really bad virus wise in my community this January, I was fine. When the @#$! actually hits the fan I’m fine. I’m too lazy though. I would like myself to be more active, to get more chores done. But instead I spend too much time reading the news online.

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    • Food: One of the great joys of being adult and childless is getting random spantaneous food whenever I want it and not feeling guilty. So, I guess, that’s less of a quarantine thing for you and more of a “having to live in a family” thing. I love going over to my apartment for the weekends largely because I can have cake for breakfast and NO ONE KNOWS. But I used to be able to go out for cake for breakfast, I miss that.

      Clothes: My parents have gotten surprisingly picky about my clothes. My Mom has bought me a few tops and things as my current ones got more and more raggedy. But on weekends, it’s all sweatpants over PJs and joyfulness.

      Make-up: YES!!!! Kimmy Schmidt had a similar thing, about “female empowerment”, which means being able to dress as sexy as you want and be cold all the time.

      TV: Opposite! I have finally created my perfect work from home space, so that I can watch TV and look at my computer screen at the same time. It’s heaven. Not as nice as actually being in an office with people, but pretty nice.

      Housing: YES!!! Ugh. A clean bathroom brings me so much joy, and then in like a week it is all gone and I have to think about cleaning it again. And there is no way to escape it and forget for a bit that it is there.

      Emotional Health: Oh Genevieve! I’ve been worrying about you ever since you mentioned in the fall how hard it is being in a small town. I really really hope that once folks can gather in person again it all eases. Community gathering has such a strong sort of innate bonding to it, you can’t fully “other” someone if they are right in front of you holding your hand. My wish is that post-pandemic, your town comes together in a great big memorial/festival and somehow it starts the process of healing wounds and bringing you together again. Or, if that isn’t possible, my wish is that you are able to strengthen and lean more on the bonds that have remained until they can sustain you more and more.

      On Tue, Feb 2, 2021 at 3:38 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • My mother cares more than anyone else what I wear. I imagine that will hold true forever. At least it is her opinion I think about when I buy clothes (once every two years).

        When I worked at the bookstore I felt connected to the town with all its groups and clicks. Yes the very religious homeschooling family and I did not agree on everything, but we both were excited about children reading books. We had more in common than apart. And that truth held for everyone. I had to leave because I couldn’t afford childcare, but maybe when this is over I should go back. I need to internalize that sense of more in common again.

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        • When I stay at my parents, every morning the first time my Mom sees me, she says “OH! Don’t you look pretty today!” As in, every morning it is a new surprise how pretty I am. Which is lovely for the self-esteem, and is also exactly how my sister feels about her baby, as in, every morning she goes “oh! He is cuter today than he was yesterday which I didn’t even think was possible!”

          On Tue, Feb 2, 2021 at 7:45 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • My mother tells me I could have been her prettiest child if I was thin! In fairness she only said that when I was an adult, she waited till it was hard to warp me to speak reality! I should note my mother was obese when I was growing up and then when I gained a lot of weight in college she joined weight watchers with me; we both lost weight, but she lost 100 lbs!

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          • My mother tells me I would look prettier with bangs. But now I have bangs, so she has nothing to say, HA!

            On Wed, Feb 3, 2021 at 10:07 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. Clothing: I used to look forward to wearing jeans, now I’m sick of them. Same with bras, I wore sports bras for so long I got sick of them and broke out the underwires for work days. On the other hand, I haven’t worn anything but comfy sneakers or slippers for months, and that’s kind of nice. I walk so much less than I used to with my standard commute that I haven’t worn through the sneakers like I usually do. Cheaper that way but I miss moving around more.

    Hair: I still blow it out every time I wash it, though I sometimes wonder why. I am on video calls a good chunk of every day.

    Makeup: I basically cut two steps, which took my 5 minute routine down to 3. I’m always in my own bathroom and can grab lipstick if I need to before a meeting. The weirdest part is not having to get ready all at once and go face the day, it can happen in stages as I get around to it.

    Food: started out v aggravated with all the meal prep and washing up for four people, three meals a day (split with my husband but still). But my kids are eating better lunches than they got at school, and we were eating better because everything was homemade. Then I hit a wall where I was out of ideas and sick of my own cooking. We get takeout a couple of times a week now to mix it up but the trash bothers me more than before. I’d say I miss grabbing lunch by the office. I miss NY delis where you can order ramen or salad or tacos or a hero sandwich depending on your mood, and I miss the little Indian restaurant down the block. I miss chilling in the kitchen with my coworkers. I don’t miss bringing dinner in because I got home too late to cook.

    Housing: I have the best work space because I was the only one who already worked from home some days. I enjoyed that when it was just me and the cat. I can’t even remember what it’s like to work without children wandering through needing things at inconvenient moments, or long, uninterrupted stretches of concentration. Mostly though I’m grateful to have our house, it’s big enough for the four of us, and we like our street and enough of our neighbors to feel like we have company through this.

    Emotional health: good enough. It’s better now that it feels like there’s a way it might end. We were planning at work and someone said there are schools saying they might still be remote or hybrid in *fall*, and that made me realize I am fiercely clinging to the hope that we will all be in a better place come summer. So much has happened in the past year, it feels impossible that we would just stay stuck here. If every month feels like a year, I need that to also mean a lot can change in a month or two or three.

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    • Clothing: I think I need to get new underwires. WEaring them while lounging ont he couch or bed all day makes them wear out way faster. But then it is very hard to feel inspired to buy new nice bras when there is no real reason to wear them.

      Hair: I am never on work video calls, only friend video calls, but I also still try to make my hair look nice. Even though none of them would judge me.

      Make-up: YES!!!! My mornings have gone from full ready, out the door with the dog to the office, to walk the dog before anything else, then brush the teeth, then answer work emails, then get dressed, then do more work, then make coffee, so my whole morning routine that used to take half an hour is now stretched out over 2 hours.

      Food: Have you tried Blue Apron or similar? Just curious, not necessarily recommending it. But it seems like it might be a nice middle-ground.

      Housing: It took me a while to set up the work space, but at least I don’t get interrupted. Except by things like my Dad bringing me my morning coffee, or my Mom bringing in a pile of clean laundry, and I can’t really complain about that. Agree with being grateful for already being set up. My parents having a 2 bedroom apt with their own workspace designated already, and me having a 1 bed with plenty of storage and stuff has made all the difference. If I was still in the studio apt I used to have, I would be going buggy.

      Emotional Health: If nothing else, we both live in temperate climates. So things will change, because Spring will come and then summer and then fall again. No matter what, that will happen.

      On Tue, Feb 2, 2021 at 11:26 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • My husband has stingy streak and strong opinions about grocery shopping. There was a time right before kid 1 was born when I was working less and started doing more of the house stuff, but when he started interrogating me about how much I’d spent on bananas (bananas!) I told him he could either do all the grocery shopping or leave me and my receipts in peace. He picked do all the grocery shopping. That was 10 years ago. So yeah, no food boxes at my house.

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  5. Clothing: Black leggings/ sweat pants, and some sort long sleeve black shirt. It’s easy to throw on a jacket if needed for calls and make it look professional while not having to actually worry about actually wearing grown-up clothes every day. I finally did end up buying some comfy but stylish sweatshirts, which I can wear them during most video-conferences.

    Hair and make up only gets done when I know I have video conferences or important meetings. But generally I can throw my hair into a pony tail and it is fine. My make-up generally only consisted of eyeliner and under-eye concealer, which I will do as necessary.

    Food: I started off losing a bit of weight because I was always stressed, and my dad was here cooking delicious homemade food and making me eat at regular intervals. Then he left and we went back to our bad habits of eating take out late at night. I am hoping for normal meals again now that he is back again for a bit.

    Housing: It was nice having my husband work from home during the beginning of the pandemic, but he has since had to go back in and I am basically alone with the dog all day. Surprisingly, I don’t mind it. I almost feel like I am getting so adjusted to this lifestyle that going back to an office and dealing with people in person every day is going to take some effort. At the same time, I know going back to an actual office is actually better for my mental health. Now, I feel like I can’t separate work from home and it is leading to severe burnout.

    Emotional: Last year was not easy due to a lot of personal-health-family related issues, but I also feel very thankful for what I have: a dad who could stay with us and who spoiled us by cooking and doing nice things like organizing my kitchen, and also forcing me to stop work and watch TV with him or discuss a book with him; a wonderfully supportive husband who I not just love but actually like and have fun and who was able to handle my emotional outbursts while still making me laugh; and Theo who just filled my heart with all his antics and made me a dog mom!

    The biggest realization that I did come out with as the year progressed was that I really need to be better at expressing my mental health realities to people around me and even doctors. I think my go to is just to be practical and talk about next steps and focus on what I can control that I think sometimes even the physicians forget that there may be a mental health component that also needs to be addressed. I just had a call with my doctor about the ups and downs of last year and asked her for a recommendation of a psychiatrist specializing in what I am going through and her reaction was “Oh my gosh, I am so sorry I didn’t think of recommending one sooner or asking you about it since you always just seemed fine and practical.”

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    • Clothing: Everyone should work in tech support! I never have video calls, because I’m always doing screenshares where they have to see my screen instead of my face. I have leggings and long shirts, but never bother with the “formal” jacket. Or, like, unstained shirts.

      Food: Same!!!! Except that I was moving in with my Dad, not vice versa. Back last spring through most of the summer, I was eating Dad-food about 80% of the time. And then this fall I started growing up and spending more time at my place, and now it is Dad-food more like 40% of the time. And the remaining 60%, it is really tempting to just do delivery or take out. Last weekend I ate an entire frozen tiramisu from Target all by myself and it was DELICIOUS.

      Housing: I am very spoiled in that my job is a firm 9-5. So the clock helps me a lot with separating. But yes, I have had a few times where work stress chases me around the house and I think “wouldn’t it be nice if I could leave this big black cloud behind me at the office?”

      Emotional: Dogs are THE BEST!!!!! It’s just amazing what a difference they make in keeping you emotionally/mentally stable. You know those helper dogs for anxiety, PTSD, etc.? I always think they must almost train themselves. I mean really, pick up a random scruffy shelter dog and in about 4 weeks, he will train himself to treat your PTSD!!!! I was just thinking about this because my parents and I watched the documentary Pick of the Litter (not as good as the TV show). One of the dogs was trained to be a seeing eye dog by a PTSD vet. And ended up dropping out of the program and being a “pet”, only you look at them and go “That’s not a pet! That’s a therapy dog! Just, without any official training beyond being-a-dog!”

      As you know, because I wrote posts about it, this is the exact same mental health journey I went on. Years of vitamin D, and sunlamps, and self-care. And then FINALLY getting up my courage to talk to a doctor and get medication, and it wasn’t scary at all, and I should have done it years ago.

      On Wed, Feb 3, 2021 at 10:17 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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      • Yes!! To everything! My reluctance with making the appointment came from knowing that I should really go back on meds, but because I have also been going through fertility treatments for years, I don’t want to do anything that is going to further jeapordize me having a successful pregnancy. What I finally came to realize is that at the end of the day, my mental health is very important and there are some things where talk therapy just doesn’t work. I may as well make an appointment with a specialist and have all the doctors just talk to each other and figure out what’s best for me.

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        • Really, what baby would want a crazy mother? Do it for imaginary baby -1!!!!

          On Wed, Feb 3, 2021 at 12:30 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • I mean no one wants a crazy mother but my future one may not have a choice! 🙂 But, yes, I know what you mean. I have now tried all natural remedies, acupuncture, exercise etc. Now it’s time for all the meds!!!

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          • When my sister had her baby, my mother’s wise words to her were “looking back on the time when you were a baby, my biggest regret is that I didn’t nap more”. Which is funny, but what she meant was “instead of rushing around trying to do laundry and house stuff while you were sleeping, I should have napped too and then I could have been a saner better happier mother which is the most important thing”.

            On Wed, Feb 3, 2021 at 12:48 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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