Pandemic Productivity Is Not A Thing
The coronavirus has brought with it a wave of chaos and uncertainty. These are unprecedented times, and we are living through a historical event. Most of us are so tired of living daily life right now, but at the same time, we fret over our lack of productivity. This is the myth of Pandemic Productivity.
There is a big difference between staying home for rest and relaxation and staying home to prevent other people from dying. One is much more stressful than the other. Our bodies are in a constant state of heightened stress and anxiety as we are all experiencing a collective trauma. It is mentally and physically exhausting. If ever there was a time to cut yourself some slack, this is it.
You are allowed to just exist sometimes. Your self-worth is not contingent on your productivity. Have you ever had a pet? If so, chances are you never expected them to be productive. All they do is eat, sleep, and play. If they get permission to just exist, and be loved while doing so, why can’t you?
In 101 level psychology classes, we are taught about Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. The general idea is that basic needs must be met before we seek out increasingly higher-level needs. We are currently at the bottom of that pyramid. Our lives, and the lives of our loved ones, are threatened by a force we can't see. We hear of the danger the economy is in and worry about our jobs and therefore our health and safe housing. Now may not be the time to tackle that huge remodel or write the next great American novel. Those things are at the top of the pyramid.
This global pandemic is highlighting huge flaws in many broken systems. Capitalist systems push us to spend our entire adult life either working to make money or recovering from work. Realistically, no one looks back on their life from their deathbed and thinks "wow, I wish I would have spent more time at work!" This system, that has always emphasized the importance of "productivity," is currently encouraging citizens to prioritize profits over human lives. This only adds to our feelings of "not doing enough".
Until there is a vaccine, the best solution we have requires great compassion for other human beings. We are seeing many examples of non-compassionate behaviors in our country right now. While we may not be able to teach the anti-shutdown protesters compassion, we can certainly practice it with ourselves.
The bar is pretty low right now. Keeping loved ones safe, loved, and if possible, happy, is more important than pretty much anything. If your new sourdough starter, crochet project, or planting a vegetable garden brings you joy or peace, great! But if watching all of Netflix is what you need, go for it. Your only job during this crisis is to survive, not thrive.
Be gentle with yourself.
Written by Meg McCormick
You can contact Meg here.