Do we really have to be our best selves during a pandemic?: How to manage productivity anxiety during the COVID-19 pandemic
By: Shauna Gavin
Updated: 16 April 2020
You may have been seeing a lot of content on social media currently talking about the importance of being productive during social isolation.
Be creative. Be active. Be there for friends and family. Work from home. Amuse and care for children. Be your best you.
However, even though the creators of this content probably just made it with the intention of motivating people, they have been receiving a lot of online backlash over it. Many people are finding it very difficult to relate as they may have been having trouble being productive at all due to the stress and anxiety of the pandemic. Anxiety and depression can destroy a person’s productivity and these are countless people out there who’s productivity has gone downhill since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Productivity shaming seems to be rampant on social media these days and we have compiled some ways to avoid it as best as you can during isolation. At the end of the day, it is a pandemic. Do we really have to be our best selves during a pandemic?
Try to not take social media so seriously
It's important to remember that pretty much everyone tends to post the absolute best versions of themselves on social media. When was the last time you saw someone posting pictures of themselves on Instagram in their pyjamas eating takeaway food with no makeup on? Exactly, never. Remembering this is key to avoiding productivity anxiety. The next time you see someone on social media talking about how much exercise and work they’ve done, instead of feeling inferior, remember that that social media is a curated version of our best lives. The picture that that person might be putting out is possibly not what their reality looks like at all.
Actually, maybe just try using it less
By limiting your social media time every day you will naturally drastically reduce how much you socially compare yourself to others. Now, more than ever, analysing how we use social media has become an area of massive interest. Nowadays, social media is the main outlet everyone uses for news and with such worrying news being published every day with the COVID-19 crisis, limiting the amount of it that we consume each day will directly benefit our mental health. If you find it difficult to log off for extended periods of time (you may feel lonely or like you are missing out without social media), perhaps selectively unfollowing accounts that make you feel inadequate or anxious would be a better course of action for you.
Try to not compare yourself so much
Comparing yourself to others is one thing that will be of absolute detriment to your self esteem and mental health during a time of crisis. Adopting a kind voice to speak to ourselves with is not an easy feat but we owe it to ourselves to try our best. If you were to talk to a friend about their anxiety and lack of motivation during the COVID-19 pandemic you would use a kind voice. You would assure them that their feelings are valid. Imagine what this kind voice would sound like and try to use it instead the next time you catch yourself being hard on yourself.
Be aware that there is no set of rules on how to cope during a pandemic
Pandemics don’t come with a manual on how to cope unfortunately. This is something that we are all either dealing with or struggling with as it comes. Not everyone will thrive in quarantine while others will be getting mountains of work done. The world is made up of introverts and extroverts and whichever you are will determine the kind of self care you need to be doing. Understandably, many people are feeling very overwhelmed by the COVID-19 pandemic and this will be affecting their productivity and motivation. Others may be good at compartmentalizing and can assign themselves a task to distract their brain. If your brain isn’t functioning this way, you are very much not alone and there is no need to be hard on yourself.
Create a routine
Routine is extremely helpful for many people’s mental health. Planning a routine based on activities and hobbies that make you feel good is so important. If you need to exercise, schedule in a few weekly workouts. Plan some time spent outside if you can. Always make sure to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner. Whatever you used to do to feel good before we had to quarantine, make sure there is time scheduled regularly for that. These are just some small things that you can do for yourself that will benefit your mental health dramatically.
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