Coronavirus (COVID-19) Health and Safety Guide
ASERT has put together some resources for those with autism and those who care for people with autism relating to the current Coronavirus outbreak.
Ever since May 18th, 2020 I have been working at home as a CAPS and so far, I will admit that during the times of quarantine, this has been a very comfortable setting for now. Working at home has been quite the adjustment to me, but the thing is when I do it, I often don’t think about how it would be like when I actually start going out of my house and start doing my job in an actual office. There are other ways where I try my best to get around to making my work setting look as busy as possible, but still, it makes me think that I’ll always be here at home due to constant issues involving the spike of cases with COVID-19.
Part I: A Good Morning
When I first had my job, I would always start my day by PRETENDING I was going to leave out the house to go to work, I mean heck…, if it was early enough, I would leave my workbag near my usual spot of where I was going to work and then walk out of the house and then just take a look outside. All of that was just to makes it seem like that I was going to go to work once this whole thing is over with. I would have the initial thought to leave the house and just go without that “I don’t want to” mentality, ever since then, those days have quickly turned themselves into weeks and weeks now months. Alongside with the weather, I thought it would probably be better if I just not walked or even went outside first thing, but first listen to some music and get into it for about a half-hour (which is still on time on the clock because I often try to have about a timeframe to have a small break before working).
Now since the weather has gotten a bit fair I do take the time to sit on the porch before working to clear my thoughts before I get into work. I try my best to stretch out that half-hour time window to an hour to either jog or do a small exercise before I get into work so I can have a tired out body and mind to keep myself focused and tackle out the rest of the morning onto the afternoon.
Part II: Paperless
No matter how lively my body feels, I don’t think I am good at keeping up with physical notes at all! So, I do feel glad that I have a laptop to keep up with all these materials instead. Since then, I have been able to alter my notes in checkmark format via One Note, and organize my other items via Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Calendar on Outlook, and other programs that make my job and organization of tasks feel more structuralized. I have found myself not even going through the problems of ever having to physically write a thing down because I have taken advantage of almost every single program my job ever wants me to use.
I like the idea that I don’t have to use paper whenever I make lists, generate ideas, or organize meetings. This has made my space settings very light and my mental stress does not go up at all since I am ensured that all of my work is properly saved. I know it is still in my possession and do not have to go on a wild goose chase to figure out where I last put my assignment or any sort of physical note whether it’s a planned reminder or not. I just like this format and I don’t want it to ever change, even though I think that there may be an issue to the point where I think it may actually toy around with my mind whenever I think about generating ideas online instead of doing them in person. So, one point was when I did a PowerPoint some time back. I like the way where I can just show the presentation on one screen and have all the editing tools on the other one. I was also able to show other forms of professionalism by having the notes on my PowerPoint and to my possession without the intent of using flashcards or even having to draw my head in certain directions whenever I am nervous because it’s almost like I can see everything. I feel as though that idea of working at home can be something that I can really get into the habit to over being in the office, despite me not actually seeing the place at all. However, I do see the issue coming up with how much I do enjoy typing and trying my best to at least exercise that by either writing a blog, practicing a typing game, or even generating ideas, just to improve on my typing speed. This has led me to overdo my work sometimes to the point where I just go into blank stares or even overwrite my lists, just because I enjoy typing which causes me to overwrite.
Part III: Too comfortable
I honestly don’t think that it’s just my laptop that I have been spending too much time with either. I think this can go over the fact that ever since I have made that 2-part YouTube video with my mother back in April that I have gotten used to the format of working with a dual-screen setup with my job to the point that I barely keep track on how much time I consumed making schedules, notes, videos or even doing casual zoom parties with my friends. There are times where I would easily take in 2 hours of sleep, and because I know that my job is about a couple seconds away from me, I would just wake up the next day like it’s nothing and then sleep on my break for about another hour.
There is the fact that my job is in my house and we must be inside for the majority of our lives to prevent having anything infecting us. I think the same thing could be said from the way my working desk is set up. It is literally just my gaming set. Therefore, it does feel comfortable when I just set sit down and I barely have the desire to get up. I spend just as much time sitting on the chair video gaming and talking to my friends as I do working. So watching these videoes games or watching YouTube videos for hours in the same place I complete my work can affect my work mentality.
This has me wondering how it will be like when I go into my workspace outside of the house. This doesn’t really make a big effect on me since I like to work here and everyone who has seen my work is fine with the work I complete as I am doing a good job. But whenever I think of changing locations especially after making the first one your favorite spot (my laptop set up), the thought of changing seems rather strange. However, I don’t want to think of that right now since we are still in quarantine and traveling to certain places without the proper materials is even more of a worry than something like going from different locations to work.
Part IV: Activities so far
It still surprises me to this day that I have been spending the majority of last year trying to write points about how I have wanted to spend more time out with my friends and trying to explore even more spots than I usually would taking pictures and editing them for the format of my blogs. Now all of that has turned into sometimes going taking screenshots of Zoom meetings or even jogging with a combination of taking pictures so I can at least try to keep my goal of being a more outgoing person in mind without the intent of just staying at home all day. So far, it seems like it is working. Sometimes I’ll wind up going to Zoom parties where there are causal discussions, movie viewings, sports viewings, karaoke, or even just a virtual game for anyone to enjoy.
I still want to keep this goal of trying to walk around and clearing my head without the fear of just staying inside to not be a worry, even though it has. I just want to spend some time to at least do something outside to clear my head depending on however the day is going, or I could even just sit outside.
So far, I think that I have learned to adapt to these settings. At the same time, I do think that it’s probably going to take some time for me to get into the conditions like last year where I was outside (without thinking of a face covering). I personally find more good than bad out of it, like I can write notes without the use of pen and paper, I don’t have to worry about rushing to work because it’s there, I can also work on future projects and not have to worry just because I have to physically leave to go anywhere, it’s almost like everything is there in front of me. However, I do miss doing things with people, going to actual events and communicate, and even not having to worry about going just because of the constant hearing of COVID-19 and its aftermath.
Overall, despite my spring and summer not being properly planned because of this, I was still able to make the best of this and that’s what I want to get out of this year, is a safe and productive year that doesn’t put anyone and myself at high risk.