2020: Furlough

When I first heard the word furlough at the beginning of the year, it didn’t come with much emotion. I thought, “That makes a lot of sense.” With COVID-19 putting so much of the Entertainment industry on hold, I braced myself for impact, assuming that halting productions and theme parks would mean halting recruitment. I accepted pretty quickly that my team would be furloughed.

On the day that this assumption was confirmed, I again, didn’t feel very strongly about it. Social distancing and “safer at home” had been underway for almost a month, so I thought, “OK, this will last a few months, and I’ll be back to work.”

Now that it’s been nearly 100 days since my furlough began, apathy has been replaced by an array of emotions that changes day to day. I never know what I’ll feel when I wake up.

  • Monday – Sad. I miss work.
  • Tuesday – Bored. Time to play a video game.
  • Wednesday – Frustrated. What am I even contributing to the world right now?
  • Thursday – Bored again. Let’s find a book or documentary to learn something new.
  • Friday – Angry. Why aren’t people wearing masks?
  • Saturday – Fear. The federal unemployment stimulus is going to end really soon. Will I be able to survive without it?
  • Sunday – Peaceful. That early morning hike really helped my mental state.

And repeat. And repeat. And repeat.

While I can’t control the way I feel when I first wake up, there are a few ways I’ve been spending my time that have actually helped:

Learning something new.

Reading books about anti-racism. Watching documentaries about police brutality. Listening to podcasts about diversity & inclusion. Watching YouTube videos about world history.

Feeding my brain with new lessons has been a great way to feel productive. There is SO MUCH content available, and most of it is free or part of a service to which I already subscribe. This has been one of my default ways to spend my time lately. (And I’d love some recommendations in the comments!)

Volunteering my time.

I am not able to go out and join the Black Lives Matter protests on the streets, but I have found a number of local organizations who have online volunteer opportunities, which have been such a productive use of my time.

JusticeLA sends action alert texts every Monday/Wednesday/Friday with 1-2 small things to do each day to support the community. This is one of my favorite ways to get involved. I also usually send each action to a few of my friends in LA who also want to contribute. Click here to learn more!

Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) is another local organization which is dedicated to raising the voices of everyday Californians to fight for the policies and programs we need to improve our communities. I volunteer with ACCE as part of their texting bank. Click here to learn more!

Lastly, RepresentUS is a national, non-partisan organization that aims to fix our broken elections and stop political bribery. I’ve also joined their texting team. Click here to learn more!

Beating video games.

Video games are the perfect combo of stress-relief and productivity for me. During my furlough, I’ve replayed both The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Spider-Man, which are two of my favorite games ever. I also fell in love with Animal Crossing.

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

These games all work so well for quarantine fatigue because they give me goals to accomplish. Animal Crossing does this in a relaxing way. Zelda and Spidey do it too, but they challenge my brain more by providing puzzles to solve.

I am also planning to play The Witcher 3 and Batman: Arkham Knight. Let me know if you have any favorite games to recommend!

Meditating and exercising.

I never thought I’d be a person who meditates, but I am a now a major fan. Every morning that I start with 10 minutes of Headspace and 30 minutes of yoga has led to a better mood throughout the rest of the day. Without fail.

If you’re unemployed or furloughed, you can get Headspace free for a year by visiting this link: http://headspace.com/unemployed

I’ve also gone on a few early-morning hikes with my sister before most people wake up, and those have really helped me clear my head and connect with nature.

View this post on Instagram

sunrise hikes ⛰😍

A post shared by Jule Gamache (she/her) (@julegamache) on

If you’re unemployed or furloughed, like me, let me know what you’re doing to feed your soul!

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