Almost one year of working from home, a reflection

Before the pandemic, working remotely or working from home has always been a grand concept. Waking up, getting off the bed, opening the laptop, and ta-da, it’s the office! The more illustrious version of this is traveling to another place and working by the beach or mountain while sipping some kind of cocktail. The possibilities seem endless!

To a degree, I have this. My current job is fully remote and flexible enough that allows for traveling and other activities while still on an 8-hour workday. I did not quite take advantage of this pre-pandemic simply because my mind refuses to participate in Zoom meetings and respond to email and Slack messages while on holiday. So instead, I just signed up at a hippie co-working space in Berlin.

When Coronavirus reached Germany, almost everyone was forced to stay indoors and carry on with our professional responsibilities from the dining table, living room, bedroom, garage, balcony, attic, or wherever else space can be afforded. The very first lockdown was March 2020, nearly one year ago. One year of this chaotic situation.

I am incredibly lucky — to have kept my job; that my family and friends are healthy; to live in a country with great health care system; that there’s no shortage of parks and outdoor spaces in Berlin.

That said, working and living in the same space have been a total mind fuck. The apartment has turned into an office, gym, bakery, bike shop, pub, salon, and whatever else in between. There are also two of us in a one-bedroom flat which makes it tricky, then and until now, to do video calls and meetings at the same time. We clash and have spectacular fights. We compromise and set clearer boundaries. Moving to a new and more spacious apartment, albeit for non-pandemic reasons, made living a tad more bearable. It has been a wild ride to go through this discovery process and journey together.

This new way of working, safe to say for a lot people, greatly affects mental health. For me, there are literal days of darkness brought on by this very harsh winter. On those dark days, my motivation to do anything wanes but I try to do something through sheer willpower (a.k.a hunger). I tried a lot of things like cleaning, baking, cooking, drinking tea (or something stronger), practicing yoga, lighting a shit-ton of candles, all of which have rescued me when I’m on a spiral.

There are also some days when I miss the Philippines. Homesickness is not something I usually feel but the holiday season, my best friend’s wedding, and hard lockdown here made me wish I had the power to teleport. But until it is safer to travel again, I’m staying put.

A lot more people have it worse: parents, teachers, nurses, doctors, bereaved loved ones, unemployed, etc. I have no tips and tricks to offer. I am still navigating life in lockdown. More importantly, our realities differ from each other. One thing that has kept me afloat though, is living one day at a time. Everyday let’s wake up and face the sun (or in my case grey skies), and start from there.

Love and light xx

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