It’s quite stressful being on the internet nowadays. Everybody is baking cakes. Working out at home. Or painting. The pressure to keep up is immense.
As you scroll through all those social media posts, you feel like you too have to maximize every moment during the three-week lockdown. You almost feel obliged to pick up a new hobby. Or learn a new language to be more productive while working from home.
But relax, you don’t have to feel guilty. Be gentle on yourself. This is not a vacation. Working from home doesn’t come with a reduced workload or more free time. You’re still on video conference calls. You’re still pushing deadlines. And you may even have to double up as a teacher to your kids or a caregiver to an aging parent.
Moreover, these are extraordinary times. We are in the midst of a global coronavirus pandemic. It’s quite natural to feel anxious. So, it’s okay, you can take a moment to slow down. You don’t have to constantly push yourself to be on the productivity treadmill.
While we are in this together, our response and methods to cope can be completely unique. Now more than ever, we need to be kind to ourselves. Learn how to play the guitar or do that data-analysis course if you really want to, but be careful not to let it be an added pressure.
Giving in to pressure may make you feel like you are winning the rat race but it sets you up for burnout. So, use your emotional intelligence to guide you. Learning is best when it comes with joy, curiosity and genuine interest. Don’t let all those social media posts about being productive during the lockdown guilt you into jumping on the bandwagon.
If taking some downtime to sleep in or just play with your dog is what you need, then go ahead and do that. Rest and leisure are not a waste of time. It’s the nourishment your brain needs not just to be functional, but also creative.
You could also catch up with a little culture for some relaxation. And the internet can be your friend here. You could do a virtual visit to the National Gallery of Modern Art or attend an online poetry recitation event with your friends. A lot of platforms are offering online access to events such as the Russian Bolshoi Theatre.
Or how about some good old-fashioned fun? Remember fun? You could play interactive online games with your friends, read comic books with your kids. Do you want to make it like a real-world activity? Invite your friends for a virtual game night. After a long week of work and deadlines, you can still claim your fun weekends.
Spending time on non-stressful activities with your friends can boost the sense of connectivity and decrease the sense of social isolation. It can also provide mental enrichment, relaxation and motivation to reset and get back to your more intense learning goals.
Productivity is a personal journey; so do it at your own pace. Taking it slow is not a sign of weakness. If anything, it’s a sign of emotional intelligence and strength. It’s okay to drop that productivity guilt and pressure to maximize every moment.
While you navigate the uncertainty and embrace the changes in your life, be true to yourself. It will add to your reserves of resilience. Remember, it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. And we must train accordingly.
Ragini Thakur is a Specialist with the Curriculum Team at Harappa Education. She is a postgraduate in International Relations from Jawaharlal Nehru University. She enjoys old Hindi songs, books meant for kids and all things food.
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