On one hand, we’re supposed to sit on our couches and binge-watch television. We are inundated with articles suggesting the new series we should watch with our “new-found” time.
On the other hand, we are told if we don’t come out the other side of this having finally learned to play piano, we wasted our time.
All of which makes me chuckle.
For one thing, in the first couple of weeks of this, I had a higher workload than ever. I’ve worked in my home office for a year and a half, so it isn’t like this was liberating. Every day is a hustle to make enough to pay to keep the lights on.
Hey, I’m not complaining. I’m was glad to have the work. But new-found time? Hah!
Meanwhile, I find myself glancing at my poor, neglected musical instruments and music apps just a little guiltily. Shouldn’t this be the time I finally put in all the woodshedding I’ve neglected for nearly 40 years and make something of it?
Changing a lifetime of behavior is never an easy task, however. There’s always an excuse. My latest, living in a townhome, is I’m sure the neighbors don’t want the racket. Far easier to spend too much time procrastinating, reading far too much news and wasting the day on social media.
Who knows? That may change. The lockdown is beginning to hit me, as well, as some of my smaller contracts are going away due to the financial crunch. Busking may be in my future. Coins can be flipped into a music case from six feet, can’t they?
But this isn’t an “oh, woe is me” column. This is about not being so hard on ourselves. Being stuck inside, life at a relative standstill, that’s enough to deal with right now without the added pressure of being “productive” in the eyes of others.
It is vitally important in these strange and difficult times for us to take care of ourselves. Get outside when you can — hike, walk the dog, golf if that’s your thing and you are allowed. This is becoming increasingly difficult as people ignore the rules regarding public gatherings and social distancing, resulting in closures and spoiling it for the rest of us. In the long run, this will be problematic. The simple fact is, being cooped up inside all the time isn’t healthy.
And while you are inside, enjoy your families and your time together when you can grab it. Play those video games, binge watch those series, do whatever it takes to help you through. In our down time, we’ve enjoyed playing games and catching up on a couple of series that we fell behind on.
Read a good book. Or several. As a journalist, I spend most of the day reading the news. Take it from me, don’t do that. Unplug. Your stress level will thank you.
And most of all, be responsible. Just as we don’t want to put others at risk from the virus, we want to contribute to mental health, as well. Social media is a great way to stay connected at a time like this, avoid using it in a way that contributes to stress and anxiety.
We’ll have plenty of challenges getting back up to speed when restrictions are lifted. Ones that we can’t even imagine and will require us to be at our best. So take care of yourself. Do whatever it takes to get you through.
That sounds productive to me.