Tell me if this sounds familiar:
Today’s To-Do List:
Yoga & meditation
Finish school work
Bake a cake
Write a novel
Learn sign language
Clean my room
(I don’t necessarily want to do all of these things…but I feel like I should want to do them. And I’d like to show off to everyone what I’ve been doing during all of this free time.)
As we’re entering the ninth week of the Illinois state stay-at-home order, some of us have struggled to balance productivity and relaxation. While some have been setting lofty goals for themselves, others are finding it difficult to get motivated. Regardless of which category you fall under, you still might feel like a failure at the end of the day for not meeting your goals or for not making the best of your time. Being thrown into this uncharted territory has seemed to awaken the desire to be unrealistically productive, yet our unrealistic expectations can be paralyzing.
With the influence of social media, teenagers are very aware of how themselves and others are spending their time. Many of us love to be busy and productive; it makes us feel valuable as humans. However, problems arise when our sense of self-worth is directly impacted by our accomplishments and achievements.
I know that I’m personally guilty of tying my self-worth to my productivity. I have felt the pressure to buckle down and ignore the scary reality of this global pandemic. While this pressure to get things done can have a positive, inspiring effect for some people, it can also have a negative one.
It’s important to recognize the presence of pressure, and then use it as fuel. The thing is, many people think we should be achieving more than usual with our extra downtime. While this is somewhat true, it’s important to remember that we’re also carrying more weight on our shoulders than ever before;It’s not an equal tradeoff. Maximizing “quarantine productivity” ultimately adds more stress to an already emotionally challenging situation.
It’s okay if productivity has looked different this spring. When the end of the day comes and you recount all of your accomplishments — even if that accomplishment is merely getting out of bed — remember that what you have achieved is enough. It’s okay to feel lost right now. It’s okay to not be as productive as you have previously been. You are allowed to process whatever you are feeling today. Take this time to focus on the basics: what makes you feel comfortable and grounded? Dedicate more time to that.
In all honesty, all we can do right now is take life day by day and take time to be grateful for all that we have. So, clean your room to make yourself feel better, but not because you feel like you have to. This can be a rewarding time for growth; not only a time to get more done, but to slow down for once in our lives.