I’m about to share a riveting series of photos with you. Are you ready?
… are you sure you’re ready?
You might want to hold on to your seats.
It’s almost mid-February, and I feel like this picture represents the scope of my life for the past few weeks. Like, the whole scope. One end of my entire living and working space as viewed from the opposite end.
Actually — you know what? That’s a little unfair.
Sometimes, it’s actually more like this picture:
Or maybe this one:
(Yup, that’s approximately two feet away from the last photo.)
Occasionally, when things are getting really crazy, this becomes my perspective, and I get to stand up!
I told you it was going to be riveting.
I don’t know about you, but I find this late-January-to-early-March period pretty brutal. It was the same when I worked in a corporate office. The excitement of the post-holiday return to routine wears off. It’s endlessly gray outside (and endlessly cold, too, if you live in most parts of the country). Spring feels impossibly far away — and don’t even get me started on summer. Regardless of where or how you work, I just think this can be a really challenging time mentally. I find myself dragging out of bed most mornings, checking things off my to-do list throughout the day but never feeling quite inspired by any of it. When you do creative work like I do, that lack of inspiration just adds a whole other layer of mental exhaustion.
When I told my family almost a year and a half ago that I was planning to leave my job and try working as a full-time writer out of my home office, they were almost entirely supportive. My mom’s one concern — and as moms tend to be, she was right — was that the work-from-home lifestyle would be especially difficult come February. Like I said, I struggled with Februarys even before I was working for myself, but this month’s low energy is particularly draining when you spend the vast majority of your time in a teeny tiny apartment with the windows closed. My routine isn’t that much different in the spring, summer, or fall… but the whole world feels different — and that translates into my apartment in a really heavy way. Do you know what I mean?
Because I’m so busy these days (a good problem to have!), I’m finding that I need to make that much more of an effort to combat the February stir craziness, since it’s really easy to drown myself in work for ten or more hours in a row and finish the day feeling like a shell of a human. Whenever I can, I’ve been trying to take my exercise break in the middle of the day (I usually go first thing in the morning) to break things up, and if I can’t do that, I’ve been prioritizing a walk in the afternoon. Fresh air goes on my daily to-do list with everything else! Even if it’s raining, I bundle up and get out of the apartment for half an hour. It’s amazing what a difference that time can make. And how could I possibly miss out on exploring all these pretty streets in my neighborhood?
I guess what I’m trying to say is that if February is wearing on you, you’re not alone. And while working from home in the winter does offer some serious perks (I’m definitely very content to not have to rush out the door to the subway every morning at 7:30), it comes with some unique challenges, specifically an intensified version of the general feeling of “meh” that sets in with so many of us in late winter. We’re all in this together!
How do you handle winter stir craziness? Whether you work in an office or from home, I’d love your suggestions!