For a long time, productivity was a crutch I relied on to get through difficult times and would beat myself up if I wasn’t being super productive.
Beating ourselves up for NOT BEING PRODUCTIVE is COUNTERPRODUCTIVE!
Whether it was moving past a major career change or trying to navigate a family issue, throwing myself into work or side projects always felt easier than actually experiencing the hard emotions I was ultimately experiencing but still masking.
Comparison will kill any chance of joy we can find in the slow and the everyday… it is an unfair way to judge ourselves and stops us dead in our tracks from accomplishing anything. Comparing others strengths to our own weaknesses is a setup for disaster. Even if we compare strengths to strengths, there will always be some of us perceived as “better” than others. Comparison also messes with our self-confidence and decision making abilities and drowns out our inner voice and desires. Breaking the habit of comparison helps us to realize how much is coming from that as an influence. We need to become AWARE of it and STOP ourselves when we do it . We need to count our own blessings, focus on our own strengths, stay true to our values, be ok with being imperfect, focus on our own journey and learn to appreciate others for where they are in their OWN journey. No comparison needed.
With more time at home, it is so easy to question ourselves and constantly ask the questions of Should I do more? or Am I doing enough? We feel this sense of guilt with the world slowing down yet simultaneously falling apart and somehow still manage to think that we should get MORE done so as not to FEEL the weight of it all. In some ways FOMO and comparison makes it worse and whether we realize it or not we are constantly given messages that tell us slowing down and not being active is WRONG because there is just something innately wrong with JUST BEING…or just being home…or is there?
The end of the year is a time I am always putting pressure on myself to wrap up the old and go in with the new – with a bang. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself to start new projects, launch new ideas, plan out my year and make a path towards my intentions and goals that I set out before myself. All of that is great. This year, the pressure was still there but I had to stop dead in my tracks at the risk of seeming NOT productive and missing out somehow. I also had to change my mindset on the whole “January New Beginnings” in order not feel like a total and complete failure.
And you know what I realized? IT > IS > OK…to NOT be productive.
I realized, that is completely natural and normal to feel a lot of things right now. Or even to feel nothing at all. The bottom line is: whatever I am feeling is 100 percent okay. For almost a year now, we are not a normal situation, have no control over many things and it’s of utmost importance to practice compassion and give ourselves permission to not be as productive as maybe we once were or others seem to be. I also realized that I don’t have to be productive to take care of myself. Often, not being productive is taking care of ourselves. Sometimes doing nothing is the BEST form of self-care and we rarely know how to do that anymore. Taking a break from everything is often what our body actually needs especially when dealing with anxiety and overwhelm.
When I do find myself feeling overwhelmed, I journal and practice mindful breathing. Moving my body and eating nutritious foods (because nutrition impacts mental health) has helped too, but I am reminding myself to still be flexible with that and not beat myself up in any area particularly body image; always with a reminder to remember to be flexible rather than rigid with myself.
Taking a break from scrolling can help too. With our real lives in slow motion our internet usage is up and whether we realize it or not, this can take a huge toll on our mental health as well as our feelings for the NEED to DO MORE and BE MORE productive. It is ok to just slow down, to just BE. It is also a good time to find a therapist if you feel you need more support and also seek out the vast array of digital apps out there that can help calm, soothe and comfort us rather than rile us up to feel the need for MORE.
There is nothing wrong with having goals and being productive. I LOVE IT! There is also nothing wrong with slowing down and allowing ourselves to have some grace at a time where we feel out of control and out of bounds. Things will turn around and seasons will change. It is OK to survive at times and not always be in thrive mode. Feel it. Be OK with it. Don’t beat yourself up for it. For now, if you are feeling anything like me, take it easy…and BE easy on yourself and others right now. We all can be kinder to ourselves and stop the negative self talk as a first step. When we noticed a negative that’s creeping in…Reach out to those you love and connect with them. We all could use some calming compassion more than popping productivity at a time like this.
Worrying about not being productive only makes things worse. Not being productive doesn’t mean we are being lazy or not taking care of ourselves. It is quite the opposite actually. We all need time to rest and recharge and sometimes that comes in the file of just slowing down, going for walks, reading a nice book, watching TV, or cooking a nice meal and not trying to fill up our days with tasks so we can brag about how busy we are or tout how much we have accomplished. It’s ok to have a season of “slow down”.
And for the record…I never understood why resolutions had to be in January anyway, the coldest darkest month of the year? Self sabotage much?