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COVID-19: How to stop feeling guilty for not being productive in quarantine

COVID-19: How to stop feeling guilty for not being productive in quarantine

I can just imagine it… You’re scrolling on your phone and you see social media posts or online articles pushing you to be even more productive during this pandemic. You see entertainment reports of celebrities doing some prolific activity that keeps them busy during the stay-at-home order. However, if you’re not being productive during this COVID-19 pandemic, it’s totally understandable and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it.

With people urging you to use your time wisely, I would assume the pressure to do something weighs too heavy on your shoulders. They may intend to reassure or motivate you. But at a time like this, it feels some sort of judgment, especially from people who use their time indoors social distancing to exercise more or bake a loaf of banana or sourdough bread. Quarantine or not, hustle culture just doesn’t stop, does it?

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COVID-19 news updates cripple your concentration.

I should know better but I still feel this kind of pressure, too. Every COVID-19 news update cripples my concentration and even my motivation to do something productive. As a writer, I may be typing away on my laptop, trying to reassure whoever reads my articles online. Yet, worry and anxiety would suddenly creep out on me and stop me from doing… more. Then, for some reason, you feel a twinge of guilt hitting you as you realize that you have fallen behind a schedule.

You start questioning yourself why aren’t you doing something better or working more quickly. To be honest, it’s probably because you’re too critical of yourself. As a society, we have developed this construct where self-worth relies on an individual’s accomplishments and being over-all productive. When taken away, there’s this feeling of nothingness that remains a difficult thing to deal with. With that said, we should learn more compassionate ways to reframe the pressure that we feel to stay focused and productive.

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Recognize that stress does different things to different people.

There are people that thrive under this kind of stress and pressure. Then, there are people who don’t. You may be doing your best but sometimes, you feel as if it’s not enough. This is the time that you should recognize that stress does different things to different people. It won’t do you good if you continue to compare yourself from others. Do not expect to innovate and you might feel less weight on your shoulders.

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Go at your own pace.

You have to recognize when to push through or when to call let go. Calling off the workday, as unnecessary as it sounds, remains an essential part of knowing the reasonable pace to you could go through. Go at your own pace of productivity and learn to punish yourself less. You can stick to your schedule or your routine but if you’re feeling the COVID-19 anxiety, you have to be as forgiving as you can be to yourself.

Understandably, the new normal is hard to adjust to. However, you should not shame yourself for the distractions that you experience and for not adjusting quickly enough. You’re suddenly apart from your friends and family and it remains a vital part of your wellbeing to support yourself. That way, you can support others, too. Some people don’t have the luxury to call off the workday but, it’s important to take a deep breath and time off.

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Congratulate yourself whenever you accomplish something.

Doing your best during this pandemic might not seem good enough for you. Still, you have to recognize that finishing a task is already a huge achievement. Congratulate yourself whenever you accomplish something as little as finishing a simple task. You can congratulate yourself for cooking something healthy or remembering to call your loved ones at the right time they told you to. Allow yourself to feel joy when you accomplish something and make the time to really mark the occasion.

Try not to rush off and meet yet another deadline. Take a step back and acknowledge your achievement. Even if you have to fake it at first, you will be able to make space for joy and develop a way to calibrate a sense of achievement over time. Aside from congratulations, you should thank yourself once in a while, too. Tell yourself how proud you are for finishing that task and reflect on what it took to actually get there.

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Ending the day and getting through it is already enough, a thought that we hope you realize soon. Read more articles from Village Pipol here

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