Productivity in Isolation: How to Stay Balanced During a Global Crisis
Now that we’ve been “Safer at Home” for over a month — and it looks to stay that way for a while longer— we’re seeing the impacts of self-isolating firsthand.
Everyone is dealing with this global crisis differently. For some, it’s a welcome reprieve from the distractions of everyday routines. For others, it’s a daily battle to simply stay afloat amongst economic uncertainty and physical isolation.
The productivity obsession
U.S. society has long valued productivity. It’s everywhere — from articles packed with time management tips to rigorous calendars that schedule our lives down to the nearest minute. Everywhere you turn, it seems we’re always under pressure to “go, go, go”.
So now, even though the semester has wrapped up and public outings are still mostly on hold from COVID-19, the message to stay productive has only gotten louder
Free time and resources
In some ways, the situation we are in seems like the perfect opportunity to take up a novel hobby or hone a new skill.
There are countless personal enrichment resources available right now: audiobooks you can download for free, workout videos you can stream in the comfort of your own living room, Facebook lives full of recipes and music lessons and everything in between. Unless we are doing essential work, it seems that without commutes, sports, clubs, and our other usual activities, we should have more dispensable time to invest in our growth than ever before.
But what if you don’t want to engage in personal enrichment right now? Or simply feel like you can’t?
It’s wonderful to look at the positive opportunities of the current situation — but this experience isn’t the same for everyone. Self-isolating is not synonymous with “vacation”.
Grief and uncertainty
COVID-19 has altered the fabric of our world. We have all lived through drastic changes, and change can be traumatic.
Change can also mean loss: losing experiences, time with friends, maybe even loved ones or finances. Everyone deals with grief — whether conscious or not — in different ways.
One of the most difficult things about this situation is not knowing when it is going to end. It’s particularly hard to find things to look forward to — a key element of staying positive — when you don’t know when you’ll actually be able to do them.
- Can you get excited about that concert in the fall?
- When will hiring for jobs start to open up again?
- Will you see your friends again first thing next semester?
- Is your yoga studio going to reopen?
The sad truth is that no one knows for sure — and it’s perfectly reasonable to feel sad or be overwhelmed by that uncertainty.
Finding your balance
The truth is, virtually no one alive has done this before. As clichéd as it may sound, you are the only one living your life — so you get to decide the best way to move through these experiences.
Whether we admit it or not, many of us spend a good amount of our time making comparisons to those around us. Social media — though a valuable way to stay connected — can also make us feel worse when we compare our behind-the-scenes headspace to our family and friend’s highlight reels.
At the end of the day, we need to find the self care that works for us. Recognize that your balance might not look like someone else’s — or like the productivity articles tell you it should.
As important as it is to eat healthily, move your body, and learn new things, it’s also important to listen to your body, mind, and spirit — and know when to give yourself a break.
Some days you aren’t going to feel like learning new things or joining a group Zoom call, and that’s okay!
As the world navigates one of the most tumultuous seasons in a century, it is not the time for comparisons or competition. Instead, it is a time to be kind and patient, both with yourself and others.
Candid is here for you
Here at Candid, we celebrate every win — and we try to practice grace and offer support in the face of difficulty.
If this time of #saferathome has given you time for new hobbies, we applaud you. If it’s been a rollercoaster ride of emotions and anxiety, we understand.
Don’t hesitate to reach out — though our individual experiences are different, we’re still in this together.