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How a Pandemic Changed Our Mornings

I’ve always thought of myself as a morning person. Before COVID hit, it was pretty common for me to have gone running, done some work, made breakfast and lunch, and cleaned up the kitchen, before sitting down with coffee at 730 AM. Now though, things are looking a little different around here.

It all started with a shift in my morning commute. Sometime in mid-March, around the week of the 16th, I simultaneously realized that I would have to keep going to work at least some days, and that I really did not want to get there on the crowded bus. Before COVID, I didn’t really mind my bus commute- it was crowded to start with but usually thinned out after a stop or 2, and I really liked that I fell into a great reading habit. One thing the bus did involve, though, was more steps and more waiting: a walk to the bus stop, a 5-10 minute wait, a bus ride, and a walk to the office. It usually took anywhere from 35-45 minutes.

Now, though, I’ve been cycling to the office two to three days a week, and door to door it takes 17 minutes. I think it’s the shortest commute I’ve ever had. On non-office days, I only have to plop down at my kitchen table to get started with telehealth calls. Magically I’ve found myself with an extra 35-90 minutes every day, and I really notice it! I also don’t need to pack a lunch for myself half the time, and since Jan is full time from home, he never needs one.

These days, I’ve found myself sleeping in a little more. I usually have an alarm set for 6:40 (allowing for a 5 minute snooze) but almost always wake up before it around 6:15. I read in bed for a bit, which is just a really relaxing way to wake up! I used to have to drag myself up a bit, knowing that snoozing meant not getting something important to me done.

Since I also would exercise in the morning, I never really worked anything for my skin into my routine first thing. I would usually just splash my face with some water, eat something small, and then run. When I got home, I’d jump in the shower first and just wash my face in there. Now, I get up after reading and go through my morning skin care routine (saying “skin care routine” makes it sound like a lot but it takes 3 minutes) and just make breakfast while Jan makes coffee. We sit together and I have so much longer to linger over breakfast! I’m not running around cooking/eating/gathering things while trying to drink coffee that’s still too hot. I feel so much more organized and calm.

Instead of exercising first thing, I’ve been taking a break around 9:30 to go for a run or do a weight training workout on home-days. It’s easy to book patients around this time, and since I’m at home, I can just jump right in the shower when I’m done. Easily a 40 minute workout, shower and snack accomplished in an hour away from my computer. On office days, I have my bike ride there and back as light exercise- it’s nice and flat, but there is one solid hill on the way home, so I say it counts :- ). We’ve also been going for an evening walk before dinner, because suddenly finishing up work at 6 PM means actually being home and done with work– not rolling in the door at 6:40, already hangry.

I’ve been reflecting a lot on what I’d like to keep of this moving forward- BC is starting to reopen and while I still really think it’ll be a long time before things are the same as they were before March, I also want to be mindful about how I define “normal” in the first place. I’m hoping the bike commute, flexible schedule and slower mornings are here to stay.

Has your routine changed? What will you keep in your normal?

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