I’m talking with a lot of folks lately who are convinced that they’re not being sufficiently productive during this time of the Corona virus quarantine. I’m asking them to consider how much thought went into their expectations of self through the course of something the world hasn’t seen in over a century.
I’ve learned that what we expect of ourselves are guiding principles in our behavior, but too often, we take on new challenges and change without considering our own needs and limits.
Despite living in these very uncertain times, an awful lot of us are convinced that we’re doing quarantine wrong. Just to be clear – if you’re not learning a new language or organizing your attic during a global pandemic, that’s ok.
I’m reminding folks that most of what we see on social media isn’t real. It’s a pitfall too many of us jump into – we compare what’s going on in our lives to what our acquaintances and coworkers are posting. We have a tendency to make invalid comparisons between ourselves and others. I urge folks to notice that the comparisons always result in feeling less than. What we’re really doing is comparing our insides to other people’s outsides.
The idea that we’re not doing enough is tied to the belief that we are not enough. A dear friend of mine in the field would often say, “We’re not really human beings because we don’t know how to just be. We’re human doers because we derive our worth from what we do.”
The drive to be overly productive is obsessive and when we find ourselves in that space, we’d do well to take stock and ask ourselves, “What am I avoiding?” Too often, we are seeking a never-ending series of distractions from self.
Anxiety creates nervous energy that demands release and resolution. Yet, instead of seeking acceptance and peace, we seek excessive order in our environments or new accolades.
So, maybe what you’re seeing on your Instagram feed is a whole lot of people pretending that they’re adjusting wonderfully. Maybe posting photos of one’s perfect family is the modern-day “keeping up with the Jones.” Maybe the Tik-Tok videos you’re seeing about day drinking are closer to the truth.
Ideally, we’ll take some time during quarantine to simply improve our self-care and maintain connections with people we love. That is more than enough.