Furloughed/Unemployment

As many other people are still out and about on the front lines working, and others are working from home, others still are now furloughed/laid off. Andrew is now in the third category. The company he works for decided to keep a skeleton crew and the rest were furloughed for at least the next two months. For that time they will receive health benefits so that’s something positive and because the federal government passed a bill a couple weeks ago we will be receiving enough money to live on for a while. We are also lucky to have no symptoms of coronavirus so we have nothing but time. If you’re in a similar situation, maybe this post is worth reading.

Watching the clouds blow by.

For many, the idea of being laid off or furloughed is new and difficult. We’ve done all this before when we were younger and I have been without a full time job for 4 years so I have a couple suggestions😉 The first is to see this time alone at home as an opportunity!!

To begin with I suggest you look at your finances. Not to feel guilt over what you spent or didn’t save. Rather to make decisions to allow you to sustain in this situation as long as possible. For example, we had subscriptions last week to Amazon prime, Netflix, Audible, Pandora, etc. We decided that in this time of reduced income we would keep Amazon (it’s already paid up for this year) and Netflix (T-Mobile pays the majority of our subscription – a promotional deal when we switched carriers). We canceled all the rest. Maybe things will get back to “normal,” maybe they won’t and we will cancel the rest then. Take a look at your water and electricity bills, can you turn down your hot water tank? Can you shower less often now that you’re not seeing people? Can you open windows and live with warmer temperatures? Everyone is different and different solutions will make sense depending on your situation. I highly suggest doing this even if you’re still receiving your regular income. It’s a great way to build up a little savings and in some cases helps the environment at the same time.

Now that your finances are in order, or at least you have a plan and have done all you can, you can stop worrying about it. Take time to breathe, take walks outside if you can, if going outdoors is not an option take walks around your dining room table, do yoga/Qigong/stretches, meditate, take a nap, read a novel you’ve had on your shelf for a while, relisten to an audiobook, cook something you normally wouldn’t spend the time on, binge the Netflix shows you love. Do something that makes you feel better/happy/calm/good/joyful. Decide to take time for these activities you love everyday. Do them EVERYDAY. Allow yourself time to be unproductive everyday of not for entire days!!

Once you’ve spent a few days/weeks/months (no judgement, take the time you need) doing what makes you feel good you might want to start working on the projects around the house you never get to (or you might not). The leaky faucet or fan that doesn’t work quite right…. I bet you’ll find a video on YouTube to coach you through it! The windows you never bother to clean… Now might be the time to clean them so you can enjoy all the views from your quarantine space. Doing little things to repair and spruce up your space might help you feel better. Notice that there is no need to spend a lot of money or possibly any money to make small home improvements.

Renovation insulation
Renovation insulation and shiplap complete!

Purging could be another great project while quarantined. I like Marie Kondo’s book and use her methods ongoing in my RV. There are also YouTube videos and websites all about how to go about pairing down and organization. You could do a bit of research for yourself (don’t get too bogged down online trying to be perfect, there is no such thing) and see if there is a strategy or method that seems to fit your personality or needs. Or, just jump in by dumping your junk drawer/closet/craft box/etc and start sorting through it. I do suggest you have bags or boxes next to you as you do this for trash and donate.

No matter what you decide to do or not do in this time remember one thing. There is NO judgement. If you want to take naps or read non-stop, then do it. If you want to take walks or binge Netflix, then do it. If you want to be unproductive, super productive, lounge on the sofa, run, or bake until you run out of ingredients, do it knowing it’s what is in your best interest. I honestly have said for years that everyone deserves a few months to a year off from work a couple times in their lives. I have had nearly four years and it’s provided time for me to explore me. To see what I like, don’t like, and to enjoy my environment. It’s an opportunity to live without the clock demanding what you do, it’s an opportunity to make lists and have time to complete them, it’s an opportunity to have no list and decide moment by moment what you want to do through out the day. Take this as an opportunity!!! Even if your finances are not how you’d like them to be, even though you can’t visit your friends and family, this can be a time for you to do you.

Meditation in this time…

This is an unusual time in our lives. If you’re like most people you’re locked down in your home or on your property and that can feel stressful and uncomfortable. There are many kinds of meditation techniques which you can try in addition to sitting on a pillow (although this is a great meditation, too). I’ll share some of my favorites!

My first and favorite go to is dance!!!! Literally. Put on your favorite music and dance. Slow swaying movements, jamming to pop, air punching, randomly flinging your body around, you name it. DO IT! Set time aside to dance every day. Even one song can make your body and mind feel sooo much better. Get your blood flowing and your lungs working.

Now, as you dance each day your focus can change. Your focus on yourself IS the meditation. At first you might be doing dance moves you’re familiar with or have done before. As days go by let yourself move in ways that are unfamiliar, rather than “look cool,” focus on “feel good,” and provide sensations in your joints and muscles. Notice what the movements are that feel good. Notice how different parts of your body feel. Notice if your feet move, hips move, are you only standing? Are your hands touching the floor? Are your knees? This is the meditation aspect of movement and dance! Notice how your body feels. Notice how your body wants to move. Do that!

Try closing your eyes. Dance with your eyes closed. Notice how your movements change. How do your emotions change? What are your emotions like before dancing? During? When different music plays? When you move in certain ways? After?

Play and enjoy the privacy and space of the quarantine! Try it with without music. Try it in a room alone. Try it with your kids. Dance with your cat and dog. If you have outdoor space, dance inside and out. Build this as a meditation practice that will last you long after the quarantine is over.

Sorry, we’re closed

Lake Mead: That’s our rig on the left. You can see we take social distancing seriously ?

That’s what we’ve been told by the park rangers at Lake Mead (through a sign, no personal contact) and Desert National Wildlife Preserve. We carefully selected a spot away from others at Lake Mead. We had a nice view of the lake. We enjoyed a couple nights, several walks/hikes through the dry part of the lake (there is an absurdly long boat ramp that leads to very dry ground-climate change) and to the lakeside. Then the weekend hit, lots of Vegas locals looking for fresh air came out to enjoy the space and then Monday we were told to be out on Wednesday. We left Monday.

Lake Mead: Notification that this park is closing.
Lake Mead: Dry lakebed walking.

Monday we found the Preserve, trying to stay somewhere warm, near Vegas. There was no signs or anything on the website about this park being closed so we figured it was a good spot. We parked on the side of the road for the night just inside the boundary and I scouted out an amazing little space further into the park so we moved in there and setup on Tuesday. Setup includes leveling, moving slides, rugs, cording the refrigerator closed/open, zip ties on some of the cabinet, etc. We are pretty stuff free and I’m pretty good at the process so it takes about 20 minutes to pack. Depending on how level the ground is it can take way longer or less than that to setup. Tuesday’s setup took quite a bit of manipulation to get level with all our tires on the ground, but I was done in under an hour.

Desert Preserve: We had even more space here for our social distancing… Until the ranger stopped by.

Tuesday night we were enjoying the sunset when the ranger came by to let us know we had to leave because the park was going to lock the gate Friday morning. We packed, again. We moved this time to the Great Dunes area. This is BLM land and we figured there is no gate so we should not be locked in or out! We are all alone; it is beautiful; we are continuing our quarantine! With luck we will be here for a couple weeks. That’ll make our quarantine three weeks long and then we will be certain we are healthy before heading back to a store somewhere to stock back up on tp and food.

Great Dune, Nevada
Great Dune: This is BLM living which is what I love the most!!! We are alone!