As of this writing - almost six months to the day that my husband and I decided to begin our at-home quarantine to ride out the pandemic - I have gained seven pounds. I ate pizza and pasta once a week and dessert most nights. All. Summer. Long. We also binged all seven seasons of Game of Thrones, both seasons of Cobra Kai, all of The Innocence Files, and the entire reboot of Unsolved Mysteries; drank our way through *several* cases of wine; and played dozens of games of Scrabble and 80s Trivial Pursuit.
Lazy? Unmotivated? Unproductive? Um, no. That's not how I roll. It was all part of my master plan, to not just survive the quarantine times, but to thrive. Well, maybe not the seven pounds part, but all the rest. Because thriving - during a pandemic or any season of life for that matter - requires down time, play time, and our own brand of "me" time.
Because, logging some sofa time? That's not all I accomplished since March. I also:
Launched a new website and blog
Wrote 3-4 blog posts every month
Published 10 eNews issues
Founded a virtual book club, Let's Get Lit!, and read and discussed 5 books
Produced and hosted 4 weekly hour-long Mindset Mondays episodes in May
Produced and hosted 12 weekly hour-long #LifeInBlissburg episodes, June - August
Debuted my new weekly hour-long series, Sparked, on Labor Day
Overhauled my eNews (new issue drops this week)
Began writing a book that’s part memoir part national wellness call to action
Made weekly donations to charity
Started a weekly movie Date Night ritual with my husband (23 films and counting)
Nurtured meaningful connections with loved ones
Read a book for pleasure and a book for my IRL book club every month
AND, managed to get at least 7 hours of sleep most nights
I'm also a caregiver for my mother, who lives with us and battles early-stage dementia, and a furmama to four rescue kitties. So, how did I nail pandemic productivity and devote quality time to family, friends, and self-care and down time?
I'll be honest: I don't succeed in a vacuum. My husband is the best partner I could ever ask for, in all things. He is a badass singer/songwriter and a pandemic productivity success story in is own right. Quaranteam!
I gave myself permission and space to struggle. Not every day was a model of achievement and awesomeness. There were tears. Like, a lot of them. There were meltdowns. There were naps. There were *several* cases of wine.
I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Our habits make or break us. My morning ritual is consistent, non-negotiable and the single most important part of my day. It starts with waking up with the mindset that I have the power to make this day a good one. After food and fresh water for the kitties because, let's face it - they always come first - I make the coffee so I can do the things. My Chemex pour-over coffee prep is a ritual itself , and while the water heats I decide on some kind of nourishment: usually a container of Icelandic Provisions Skyr (Peach cloudberry and key lime are my faves. Yum.) or toasted slice of Wegman's cheese bread with a light spread of garden vegetable cream cheese and some fresh berries. I read the Washington Post - yup, the actual hard copy, old fashioned newspaper is delivered every morning. Then I journal: my gratitude list and my 10 big dreams for my life. I also review my top three objectives for the day before heading upstairs to our exercise loft or going outside for a walk to the neighborhood pond and back. And lastly, I meditate with my Calm app and stretch. I know - it's a lengthy morning ritual, but it centers me and sets me up for success.
I literally remind myself - in writing - of my dreams and goals, every single day. It keeps me focused, fuels my purpose, and aligns me with my core values before I do one minute of work. Not looking at my phone until I open my Calm app is still a work in progress, but my husband is a strong accountability partner on that front. I also advise every client I work with to create a morning ritual that speaks to their specific values, dreams, and goals - and to make sure it includes a journaling practice, because we are 42% more likely to achieve our goals when we write them down. It also helps to build resilience in the face of challenges and enables us to recover more quickly after setbacks, because it keeps the focus on our purpose.
Our habits should reflect our vision for our truest, most beautiful lives and who we are when we feel like our very best selves. So, bingeing your favorite Netflix show is totally fine - as long as it's done with intention and purpose as part of a bigger life plan. In the premiere episode of my new series Sparked, I share my #1 tip for making the time to add a new habit to our lives. Check it out here.