You Don't Need To Be Productive During Quarantine

Most of us are now around one month into social distancing due to the coronavirus outbreak. With many of our lives suddenly turned upside down, people are now looking for new ways to spend their time. There’s certainly no harm in painting or doing a few pushups (emphasis on a few), but I have found over this month plenty of social media posts encouraging people to not “waste” this time. These posts tend to take things to the extreme; if you’re painting for fun, why aren’t you selling your work? Now is the perfect time to make some extra cash, right? If you are working out for fun, why aren’t you trying to lose weight? Don’t you want to impress everyone when you see them again? These views are problematic to begin with because you do not need to make a profit for your hobbies; you are allowed to do things just because you want to. However, this “rise and grind” attitude is especially problematic and toxic given our current situation.

This is an unprecedented time for all of us, and no matter what our situation is, we have all made sacrifices. The vast majority of us are now in a less-than-ideal situation, to put it lightly, and for college students, our spring and summer plans have been decimated. Between completing my school work, doing tasks for my now-remote job, applying for local jobs, and applying for remote internships, I easily spend at least 6 hours a day on my computer. And none of those hours are being devoted to learning a new skill or making a massive profit. My motivation was pretty high when I was on campus, but now that I am back in my house in a distracting environment and there is so much chaos in the world and in my personal life, it’s a miracle when I get through my daily school assignments.

Another huge obstacle many of us are facing right now is mental health. For me personally, my mental health was pretty good after I moved out of the house and went to college. When I was in high school, I never really socialized or went outside because I was struggling, but in college, I was practically forced to do those things, and thus, my mental health improved. However, moving back home and literally not being allowed to have face-to-face social interaction has made my mind feel like I am back in high school. People who are enduring mental health issues right now should not feel obligated to do something that the outside world would consider productive. Does watching TikToks for 5 hours make you feel better than writing a novel would? Good, then do the thing that makes you feel better.  

Regardless of our situation, every single one of us has missed out on something we were looking forward to, and it is okay to take this time to grieve. Especially for you seniors, do not let anyone tell you that you cannot be upset about losing graduation and your last few weeks of school. For some people, keeping yourself busy and active is the best way for you to grieve, and if that is you, do that. For others, putting everything on pause and recovering is the best way for you to grieve, and if that is you, do that. The only thing you should be required to do during this time is to take care of yourself and your mental health. Do not feel required to become a new person with new hobbies and side hustles. Of course, you should try to do your school assignments if you can and work if you still have a job, but if it takes you longer than usual or if your work quality is not as great, that is okay.

With all of this time that we now have, you should not feel pressured to accomplish any massive feats, but you need to take care of yourself. Spending a bunch of time on Twitter or watching the news probably will not make you feel any better because of how upsetting the stories on there are. Whatever prioritizing mental health looks like for you, do that. For me, I have been following the Blogilates April workout calendar, I have been writing down 10 things that I am grateful for every single morning (to keep me positive), and I have been slowly but surely cleaning out the clutter in my room. But the things that I have been doing may not interest you or work for you, so I hope that you can find out what things you truly enjoy doing, regardless of whether they are considered productive or not.