Hello lovely folks! Most of us are now deep in lockdown 2.0. Since writing about the six-month wall, many people asked me about how to take a “mental shore leave”. Here’s my plan, which might help you think creatively about yours. Good luck! 😊🙏🏽❤️ THREAD
Most of us cannot take an actual leave from our pandemic-stressed work and family lives. But to get through this six-month wall & emerge happy, it is imperative to take a break. So, how am I going create a psychic retreat for the next 4 weeks to recharge my batteries? /1
Well, I have come up with 2 parallel mental shore leave strategies: daily reprieves & weekly retreats. First, I need more rest & quiet time each DAY. Second, I need a full day off once a WEEK. In my crazy busy life, this sounds impossible. But here’s how I am doing it. /2
First and foremost, recommit to my core wellness practices. Morning meditation/prayer, daily exercise, & a walk in the park are priorities. So are weekly online services with my spiritual community. 🙏🏽🧘🏽‍♀️No matter how busy I get, these need to be inviolable. /3
Next, my first major goal is to get DAILY downtime. Ideally, I would like to find at least an hour a day where I turn off all my tech, put up my feet, drink a cup of tea, and read a novel... as if I was on vacation. ✈️🏝️Here is how I am going to find that time in each workday. /3
Work smarter, not longer. Research shows in an 8 hr workday, most people do 3 hrs of work. The rest is wasted. Yikes! But even if you’re 2x as efficient as the avg person, that’s still only 6 hr. Check out this cool piece from Harvard Business Review.

If I can do 8 hrs of work in 6 focused hrs, I save 2 hrs a day. I tried this last week & it worked. How? I turned off all social media & sometimes I even turned off my internet connection. Answering emails was cordoned off to a set time. /5
Most important, I did my super-focused workdays with my best friend to keep up momentum. Every morning, we set our respective goals & then had team “power hours” to achieve them. 💪🏽😎 Each hour, we reported back on our successes & then powered through the next round. /6
Double up on easy tasks. For example, I have a regular online meeting that does not require me to have my camera on. I mostly need to listen. So, it’s a perfect time to do the laundry. Or wipe down the kitchen. Or bake a quiche. /7
Adopt easy, fast new recipes. My classic recipes are delish, but they take hours in the kitchen. This month, I’m doing easy one pan oven bakes. Spice it up & toss it in. That way, I can have my feet up with that novel while also putting food on the table. Tasty AND easy. /8
Set an unplug time in the early evening, so that all tech is off. I cannot stress enough how much psychic relief I have experienced just by turning off the digital noise. Also, a total moratorium on doom scrolling & 24 hr news. Read Reuters once a day. Done. /9
Now, for the WEEKLY retreat. For me, weekends get eaten up with chores & work. Unless protected, they disappear. Leave the phone at home & play outside for 3-4 hours. If rainy, wear a raincoat. Being unplugged & outdoors has been a mental health gamechanger for my family. /10
After being outdoors for several hours, don’t come home & start answering emails or texts. Keep the tech off for another 2 hours & read a sci-fi or fantasy novel. Top this off with a 20 minute Epson salt bath with a candle from the dollar store is as good as a spa day. 💆🏽‍♀️ /11
Most important, share the time saved. I’m lucky to be able to finesse my work life this way at home. But my husband is an emergency worker & has much less time for self-care. So, if I save 2 hrs, I can use half that time to support him, so that we both get an hr of care. /12
This applies to all our loved ones, neighbours, & community. Everyone needs a break these days. Teachers, nurses, parents, emergency workers. How can we take a little, and give a little? The rest & respite we all crave is much easier to find when we work as a team. ❤️✊🏽 /13
Finally, the best retreat is an imperfect one! It doesn’t need to be a 5-star spa vacation. Any solid effort at self-care pays dividends. Read Dune. Laugh when your pets or kids ruin your candlelit bath. Enjoy a rainy park day. Have a happy, creative mental shore leave! 😊🙏🏽

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More from @ProfAishaAhmad

9 Oct
To the brides & grooms who have to adapt their weddings for lockdown 2.0: Take heart! We did it in June on a lawn. Be courageous in your love. 💖💪🏽 Mini-thread.
First, I admit that I ugly cried trying to learn how to do my own hair & makeup, especially given that I’m more of a bookworm than a pretty girl. I’m so grateful to @ProfAgard & @RTVLaw for listening to me cry on the phone & reassuring me it would be ok. It was.
Second, I also did not get to wear my big beautiful wedding dress with the train. It couldn’t be hemmed under lockdown, so I ordered a white dress off the Internet, doing my best with the sizing chart. Arrived on time, with a trusty zipper in the back.
Read 10 tweets
20 Sep
The 6 month mark in any sustained crisis is always difficult. We have all adjusted to this "new normal", but might now feel like we're running out of steam. Yet, at best, we are only 1/3 the way through this marathon. How can we keep going? THREAD /x
First, in my experience, this is a very normal time to struggle or slump. I *always* hit a wall 6 months into a tough assignment in a disaster zone. The desire to "get away" or "make it stop" is intense. I've done this many times, and at 6 months, it's like clockwork. /2
This time, our crisis is global and there is nowhere to run. That's OK. I've had to power through that 6 month hump before and there is life on the other side. Right now, it feels like we looking ahead at long, dark wintery tunnel. But it's not going to be like that. /3
Read 11 tweets
30 Aug
My dept has advertised this job. Please apply. But, as a Brown Muslim woman in this dept, I also have to some truth to share. Real talk. ❤️🙏🏽 THREAD.
First, for the record, I am a tenured Assoc Prof in this dept and have served on half a dozen EDI initiatives at the university. I am also a multiple award-winning researcher & lecturer. I have 2 teaching prizes AND 3 distinguished research prizes. /1
Bad news up front. You can tell from the job ad, this approach to EDI hiring is problematic. My friend and colleague Dr. Rinaldo Walcott highlighted the problems with the ad with this simple tweet. /2
Read 14 tweets
13 Apr
This is an important issue, especially as we increase restrictions on parks. Access to green space is crucial for mental health. But we need to share. THREAD. /1
Importantly, we are all still allowed to go for a walk, either alone or with members of our households. Keep your distance, but walk around your neighbourhood. The restrictions are on park amenities, not getting fresh air outdoors. /2
Confinement is a very, very serious source of psychological stress. It is one of the hardest parts of living in a disaster. The fact that this refugee family from Syria is having a hard time keeping children indoors should give you some context. /3
Read 7 tweets
1 Apr
Hey Toronto! 😊❤️ Are you distressed at the prospect of 12 weeks of lock down? Take heart! First, I promise that your feelings will shift & that you can be happy & well during this period. We are going to do this together, & it's going to be awesome. /1
To start, know that your feelings today are not going to last all summer. It's just a transition period. Right now, it feels like your whole world has been taken away, but that's just because you haven't hit your creative adaptation phase yet. Trust the process. /2
It's upsetting when our expectations & plans are overturned. Give yourself a moment to grieve. 🙏🏽 But don't let your grief trick you into thinking you're going to suffer every day. That's not happening. Your mind & body will adjust. Joy & freedom are still on the table. /3
Read 12 tweets
26 Mar
Friends: our country is at critical juncture. We must act now, as a team, or it will be like a war. Most of you have never been in a war zone. It is soul-destroying. Your discomfort today will feel like a picnic. But we can stop it. Here is what you must do right now. /1
1. Quit the denial. This global pandemic is a world-changing event, of equal magnitude to a war. It is in motion now. Yes, that is scary. Yes, it is normal to want to deny this is happening. But if you deny or dismiss it, you will likely act in ways that will make it worse. /2
2. Maintain total compliance with the Public Health guidelines. These emergency measures are to prevent a war-like disaster from sweeping our cities. Non-compliance is like being a wartime traitor. Don't betray our country. Don't collaborate with COVID-19. /3
Read 9 tweets

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