I don't mean to brag, but I've gotten out of bed, made meals for my family, went for walks, and exercised during a pandemic. As a result of that last one, I've coined a phrase: Burpee Thighs. Feel free to use it.
I've also done laundry, vacuumed, paid bills (for now), not watched the news, succumbed to the news, unclogged a sink with one of those plastic snake doohickeys, counted my blessings, planted a balcony garden (who knows how that will turn out), not looked at my 401k, played Destiny 1 again, ordered a crazy amount of stuff online, discovered some amazing meat-by-mail companies (one I recommend without reservation) and blanched and froze a crazy amount of farmer's market vegetables because who knows when the farmer's markets will be allowed to return. All during a pandemic.
I've also published a pandemic cookbook, finished a new novel that is currently in the inboxes of literary agents just waiting to be rejected, pitched and won new business for an agency (email me for details as well as any of your CD/CW needs) made some spec ads, and wrote some lines for a Swedish CD/AD named Dabitch who could have just spaced the A D L A N D logo apart and washed her hands of it, but instead created a t-shirt line to help us all remember to stay the hell away from each other. Imagine that -- using advertising to solve a problem.
To top it all off, during one of the last in-person advertising awards shows to happen before we all turned into shut-ins, I ended up winning eighteen awards for an advertising campaign.
Including best of show.
During a pandemic.
The reason I led with the personal instead of the professional is that we all seriously need to give ourselves a huge round of applause and pat on the back for adhering to the social distancing and adjusting and adapting to this fucked up reality. We need to champion our spirits, especially those of us who donated to charities, checked in on our families, or did what we could to help those less fortunate. It actually is a big deal, and one we should all feel proud of.
I've managed to remain prolific during this time not out of some superhuman strength but because I still get excited about good ideas. And, well, it's a coping mechanism.
I realize everyone is different. But I would urge everyone out there in adland (Dabitch has this trademarked in case you didn't know) who is feeling overwhelmed right now to make themselves a "whelm" list of their month's accomplishments.
What's a "whelm" list? The opposite of overwhelm. It's a list that includes both normal and extraordinary behaviours. It doesn't include freak-outs or breakdowns because we are all going through that.
You need to make a whelm list to show yourself as much as the world that you are still alive and functioning. It is important for your well-being and I would suggest it will be an inspiration to others who may be in a fragile state, too.
Even if it's getting out of bed and not wearing sweatpants for two weeks in a row, it's still a big deal.
Pretend you are updating your LinkedIn profile of everything you've done since you've been at home. Adding "during a pandemic," at the end of each of those accomplishments will show you just how strong you are.
I hope you'll be surprised when you're finished writing it. And I hope you'll be inspired, too.
You are now the official whelmsman of the pandemic.