Why It’s OKAY Not To Be ‘Productive’ During A Pandemic

Last week, I rolled my eyes at yet another story about Dalgona coffee, put away my phone and walked into the kitchen to find my mother skillfully whipping up brown foam. Okay, so here’s the thing. It’s not that I have anything against any form of coffee, but the idea of people accepting the need to attempt everything they see on social media. It irks me, especially because I do it too. 

Sure, we’re all overwhelmed by this heavy feeling of uneasiness and unsureness, and enforcing calming ideals in our lives seems to be the only way to survive self-isolation. Most of which, have stemmed out from our increasing consumption of content on social media, now that we have ample time at our disposal. While some find this to be the best time to keep themselves busy, others find it beneficial to do absolutely nothing. I am going to talk about the latter half, you know, the ones who have chosen not to be productive all day long.

This is what I normally do these days when I am on social media. I compare the shape of my body with that of the people I see on my phone, I try to dress like them, to act like them…and this process never ends with me feeling satisfied or accomplished in any way. If social media is a bad influence on a good day, imagine what it can do to you during a pandemic?

You see all these people talking about how they are using their time to start new online courses, reading a thousand novels in an endless sequence, working out, and learning new recipes. The last two are quite amusing actually; on one hand, you have people posting workout videos (perhaps even nominating you) and on the other, you see them cooking their favorite, most sugary, buttery, cheesy comfort food. How much irony can you consume? In what way will this affect the lives of people suffering from eating disorders and body image issues?

Of course, working out and cooking may be coping mechanisms for some, but it’s important that we don’t treat them as universal. What’s important to understand, though, is that it’s perfectly fine if, by the end of this pandemic, you don’t emerge with new knowledge, new skills or a new body. A lot of us are working from home, and after a long day of sitting through meetings, phone calls, and emails, you don’t have to feel guilty for choosing to Netflix & Chill instead of learning French.  

We are in the middle of a global pandemic, and it is scary even for those of us who are safe and healthy in our homes. Just watching the news can be draining sometimes, and even more so for those of us suffering from anxiety disorders or other mental health issues. Then there are those of us who usually spend most of our time outside or in the company of friends. There are others who have difficult relationships with their families, and those who need to go for a walk or run to pull ourselves together (sigh… Randall from This Is Us). 

Feeling guilty about not being productive and making the most of your time in the middle of a lockdown is not constructive, but harmful. Of course, this is not to say that you have to sit and home and do nothing, but to remind you to focus on doing things you enjoy. if you enjoy doing any of the things mentioned above, I will personally cheer you on with endless dancing lady emojis💃. Just remember, not to get caught up in measuring how much or how well you do these activities. 

Draw, sing, paint, cook, work out, write, dance, read and do anything you feel like (Dalgona coffee does taste nice actually). In fact, getting through the day with your sweatpants on with unkempt hair, or even letting those unwashed dishes be is also fine. Do them badly, do them irregularly, change your mind halfway if you need to. The best thing about this lockdown is that there is no one around that you have to explain yourself to, so don’t take on that pressure from people sitting on the other side of your phone. 

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