The Pandemic Showed Us the Way We Work Is Not Sustainable

pandemic and work

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Wake up, roll over, hit snooze. Do it again, and again, and again. Then suddenly, during this exhausted state, you look up at your clock only to realize you are now twenty minutes behind schedule, which causes you to leap out of bed in fright. You change your clothes as quickly as possible and rush out the door. All while desperately looking through your phone for the closest place to get a coffee. You race to the coffee shop and then run to work. You subtly power walk into the door, only to find that nobody has noticed you are late or missing. Everybody is in their own “bubble,” eating their scones, drinking their coffee, staring at their screens. You get to your desk in utter despair of how exhausted you are. “What day is it?” you ask yourself. It’s only Monday.

These days can look normal for many people, especially in the United States; it is culturally acceptable and expected to be overworked and exhausted. Most of us don’t really “want” this, but for so many of us, it’s the only way we know how to survive and has become the norm on many levels.

Hitting the Restart Button

Then, like a bolt of lightning, we were all faced with a pandemic that put the entire world into lockdown. It has been a whirlwind of a year. We all have had our fair share of challenges; some of us lost loved ones, jobs, and experiences of a lifetime. Many students who planned to travel abroad could no longer go, many graduating could not celebrate with their classmates, many could not visit their elderly loved ones in nursing homes. It has been a challenging year.

However, one of the few good things to come out of this pandemic is this not-so-shocking realization that the way we work may not be sustainable for some of us. We were forced to pause and look at the way we were living our lives. Were we spending enough time with the people we love? Were we giving ourselves enough self-care? Were we taking care of our bodies? Were we leading lives that we were happy and proud of?

What Does This Have to Do With Recovery?

One of the most important and yet often least talked about pieces in recovery circles is integrating everything we learn in our support groups, recovery programs, and personal sobriety journey into daily, mundane life. There will always be parts of our lives that are difficult to face, and challenges will always come our way, even if they present themselves differently. The longer we are on the journey, the more we learn to develop healthy coping mechanisms and use the available tools at every moment. However, this is a difficult feat when our daily lives are not set up for such endeavors. Healthy coping, rituals, and tools that we learn in sobriety are not like our past-time quick fix addictions. They are a continuous work in progress that needs patience, time, and commitment. When we are working 40-50 hour weeks, have obligations to other people (i.e., partners, children, or other loved ones), and trying to keep up with this “on-the-go” lifestyle, it can be challenging to do what we know we need to stay healthy and happy.

A Blessing in Disguise

Though we may not be conscious of it at first, slowing down may be a blessing in disguise. Though the pandemic offered us different challenges (isolation, confusion, lack of security, etc.), if we were lucky enough to keep our jobs and work from home, we started to have a lot more freedom in our daily lives. It probably took a lot of getting used to all that freedom at first. However, by the time a few months had gone by, many of us were slowly waking up, making coffee, and hopping on zoom calls in our pajamas (at least the bottom half!) rather than rushing out the door. It has shown the entire country that we all need more rest, more time with loved ones, and more time with ourselves to live happy and healthy lives.

So, Where Do We Go From Here?

It is no secret that we have to work to live the lives that we want. We need financial security to feel safe and secure in our lives. However, if we have learned anything from the pandemic, it is that we do not have to kill ourselves to get there. We don’t even have to come close to it. We can learn a lot from what a world of isolation has shown us; we need more time with people we love, we need more time with ourselves, we need more routines and rituals that help us build healthy and happy lifestyles rather than rushing out the door at the last second. Even though the world is slowly opening up again, we must consider what this year has shown us and what we truly need.

The pandemic has been devastating in a lot of ways. We all have been learning how to handle a worldwide lockdown while still having to work, take care of our families, and take care of ourselves. At Hired Power, we know how difficult it can be to juggle all of life’s aspects while in recovery. We believe in taking care of ourselves so that we can take care of one another, and we are here to help you do that. This year has been challenging but has also shown us many things about what it means to love and live. Hired Power is a dynamic group of recovery professionals that provide an empowering range of services in a compassionate and healing environment that gives people the best opportunity for long-term success and happiness. Our Personal Recovery Assistants encourage and motivate clients to become active participants in their own lives. Contact Hired Power today at (714) 559-3919.