This Is a Pandemic...Take Care of Yourself

There are two kinds of people in the U.S. right now: those who are getting up in the mornings to make their usual coffee and sitting at their laptops trying to become the next at-home Steve Jobs, and those who are playing Animal Crossing. Here’s the thing though — neither of those makes you automatically better than the other. 

I’ve been seeing a lot of posts from the blog world of Instagram and a community known as “rise and grind Twitter” about how to ensure that you’re staying productive during your isolation, like starting your side hustle now instead of waiting or finding ways to work online if you lost your job. While these posts may not have bad intentions, sharing them without acknowledging that it’s okay to take days off and mourn the loss of your everyday routine (especially if you lost your job!) can have incredibly harmful effects. They create the idea that somehow, if you do not have the resources to do these things, or even the motivation, you are wasting away. For those of us who suffer from depression, for example, it was already extremely difficult to focus on small tasks such as getting to class, even before any of this happened. It's not inherently “less than” to not be as high functioning as someone else. And it's absolutely not necessary to focus on trying to do more than you would on a daily basis in the face of an international pandemic. 

Celina Timmerman-Oversized Tshirt And Cup

The idea that productivity is tied to self-worth and value is, honestly, incredibly out of pocket. In my opinion, self-worth comes from acknowledging your own limits and knowing that whatever you can do is enough, even if it’s just logging on to your Zoom lecture on time. It makes more sense to applaud yourself for what you have been able to accomplish, rather than cause yourself unnecessary anxiety because you didn’t make three new pieces of art this week. Think about it — was that something you did outside of quarantine anyway? Hasn’t our daily life been disrupted enough by the outside world for it to be rattled even more from the inside?

Now, this is in no way to promote ignoring all of your responsibilities! If you're still in school, or you're fortunate enough to have a job you can work remotely, then I encourage you to continue your duties. But remember: there may have to be some necessary changes, five coffee breaks a day, and little meltdowns about this possibly being the end of life as we know it, and that’s okay! It’s all a part of learning to adjust, so don’t be too hard on yourself if things don’t go exactly as planned, or as they would if you were in a library or office. Just remember to breathe. This is not the ideal situation for any of us, but staying at home will bring us to a quicker end to isolation and soon we can be back to normal. Do your work, but make sure not to overwork. Think about how sometimes you’d just rather go to Target than sit at a desk, and replace that for the time you’ve spent selling your soul to Tom Nook! If you didn’t view the former as bad, there’s no need to view the latter as such either. It’s a quarantine everyone, be nice to yourself.