My apartment has been carefully decorated. Having a creative space that I enjoy being in was really important to me. Especially because I knew that I was going live alone during a pandemic I was careful to make sure that my apartment was bubbly, bright, and pleasant to be in.
During the winter it was easy for me to rationalize staying in my apartment for most of the day. The bad weather, the unshoveled and unsalted sidewalks were more than enough reason not to go outside. It was made more convenient to skip out on socialization because there’s no reason to go outside.
Thanks to Zoom University it’s easy to pretend that skipping out on the outside world is good for you. My bedroom has become my library, the office and to be a little melodramatic a fashionable prison cell. I’m not being antisocial; I’m being productive.
Unfortunately, this isn’t good for your mental health. It’s no secret that going outside for a walk is good for your health mentally and physically. You can’t stay in your apartment all of the time. If you want to go out for a walk in the sun take time for it.
After working on an essay for a few hours I found myself getting frustrated. It felt as though the walls were caving in on me. I couldn’t write a single sentence much less successfully write and edit an essay. Although I really didn’t want to take the trip outside I knew I needed to. I was suffocating myself and I had to get out of my apartment.
It was weird to walk around campus again. It struck me that I haven’t seen a lot of campus since I was sent home nearly a year ago. It felt like I was visiting my school for the first time again–everything looked so different.
For a second I sat in the park and draped my mask over my ear. Wearing a mask to and from activities is a must. But, in this empty park I was safe enough to take a few deep breaths of fresh air. It was heavenly.
It also set the tone for the rest of the day. When I got back to my apartment I felt like I was recentered. I could finally focus for the first time in ages. What I thought was a little bit of distraction was actually a productive activity that allowed me to finish my essay in hours.
Toxic productivity isn’t only unhealthy but it’s not even productive. I felt like I could have taken a short walk hours earlier and my essay would have written itself. So, from now on I see a lot of walking shoes and sunlight in my future.