Quarantine Crankiness

by Tom Swift

I go along thinking shelter-in-place hasn’t affected me much. For every adverse effect, I can find a positive. For every downside, I can see an upside. As one who is neither sick nor unemployed, it is, frankly, hard to muster a complaint. With so many in true duress, I am, by comparison, fortunate. No doubt. Yet maybe I missed something. Yesterday I got irritable in a hurry. Not for the first time in the last couple of weeks, I should add. There were triggers, different ones at different times, and I won’t here dig into the particulars except to say they were garden variety — no major life developments. In that moment yesterday, I paused. I self-scanned. I mean, it happens. It’s a human response. Everyone knows what it’s like to be cranky. Yet because emotions can be valuable teachers I am thinking about yesterday’s irritability today. Is there something I need? Something I need to do? Something unsettled in me?

Sometimes when I ask myself such questions I get rapid responses. Usually, and in this case, it takes a little longer. Initially, I reached for answers that seemed to be perfectly plausible yet also not suitable to me at this time. One of the best things I have changed about myself over the years is resisting false clarity.

So the answers may take time and that is OK. I think there is value in simply asking oneself good questions. Answers come up. Not unlike moments of irritability that way.

Makes sense, though, to consider those areas in which I am most likely to have gotten in my own way — to get some readings.

Exercise. After initially adjusting well to home-based workouts, my frequency has stalled some. Intuitively, last night the little buddy and I jogged during our walk. I also got a quick workout out in while he was enjoying his dinner outside. I woke up in a better place this morning. We shall see.

Diet. I have been eating more or less well — not eating out — but one thing that comes up is that I haven’t been as on top of my thyroid-boosting foods of late. Maybe I will have some kelp with breakfast. (No, I won’t pretend it takes good.)

Sleep. I have been so engaged in things during my free time that I am often still fired up into the evenings, resulting in shorter nights of rest, now that I think of it. This could be a big one.

Social. Well, yeah, break down alert here. Not surprising, talking up the checkout clerk at Trader Joe’s once every 11 days doesn’t a social life make. I have been good at Zoom meet-ups with friends and other emotional-intellectual counterparts. I love snuggling with my dog, but very possibly I could use some human touch.

Spiritual. My studies of philosophy have been feeding me for sure. Yet this could be an area of expansion during this time.