Why You Should NEVER Feel Guilty If You Can't Be Productive During Lockdown
When you seem to have all the time in the world, it can often feel like you should be doing something big with it.
"Motivational gurus" are obsessed with the idea that this is the time to finally learn, do or create those things you keep putting off—but in practice, that isn't so easy. We can feel guilty about our lack of productivity when that's the last thing we should be worrying about.
We reached out to Dr. Susan Biali Haas, a medical doctor, speaker and author who specializes in managing stress and preventing burnout, to learn all about it. She gave us some great insights into why so many of us are feeling this way, and how to cope with those feelings. Keep reading to find out more.
Sweety High: Right now, we're hearing a lot of people say that if you don't come out of social distancing with a new skill or creation, you're just lazy. Why is that untrue, and why can the idea be harmful?
Susan Biali Hass: I find this type of attitude during a pandemic—a pandemic!—really frustrating, and even infuriating. Sure, if you happen to be someone in a really stable situation, with good health and lots of free time, there's nothing wrong with being productive. Disciplined living is generally a good thing.
That said, I find these types of statements or posts to be outrageously tone-deaf toward the millions who are really struggling right now. Countless families are struggling to make ends meet or put food on the table. Kids and teens of all ages are navigating challenging homeschooling, missing their friends and grieving the lost activities from their lives. The daily news stories are scary and strange, and we don't know what's around the corner. This is the environment that all of us are living in.
SH: What types of things should we be focused on right now?
SBH: My "assignment" to anyone, rather than learning or creating something new, would be to do the very best you can to take good care of yourself, physically and mentally, during this very difficult time. For some people, taking a shower every day, making their bed, getting out for a walk and getting their basic work done would be a significant accomplishment—an accomplishment that I would celebrate with them!
SH: Why can it be so hard to get things done at home in the midst of this pandemic?
SBH: There's so much going on in the world right now. It changes every day. Our future is uncertain. We, our families, our friends and even our world leaders are in circumstances that are new, extremely difficult and strange. This is a lot for our brains and hearts to process. It's like a constant background hum that we're all dealing with. This processing of such a huge event in the history of humanity takes up a lot of space in our lives. This can leave us with a lot less mental, emotional and physical energy for our usual day-to-day things.
SH: How can we avoid feeling guilty about not getting much done?
SBH: Be gentle and compassionate with yourself right now. Set basic goals for yourself in your day—things that would be really good or important to get done, and don't worry too much about the rest. When you set goals, be realistic and kind to yourself. You probably need to lower your standards a little. Some days, your goal might simply be to rest, or to get to bed on time, or to eat healthy foods. Focus on the things that really matter right now, let the other stuff go.
If your parents have the news on 24/7, click HERE to find out why too much exposure to the news might be stressing you out.