The Pressure to be Productive

Many of us have noticed that our lives look a little different right now. The shape of our days may have changed, or daily activities may be new to us. While this can cause stress like we explored in our last blog post, it can also put pressure on us to do or achieve something in these different times that we normally wouldn't be thinking about. Let’s take a look at some additional stressors that individuals are talking about.

Social media – We may be seeing posts from friends, celebrities, and even strangers who are accomplishing a myriad of things that are being idealized right now – like cleaning, learning something new, or accomplishing a goal. Social media can often make people feel like they’re behind, or they’re not doing what they should be. But it is okay to not being doing something amazing right now. Surviving is enough.

Expectations from others – You may be feeling pressure right now to get certain grades or achieve a certain amount of productivity. If that is possible and reasonable for you right now, that's great. But for many of us, stress and other factors may make that harder. That's okay though! Even the expectations our friends and family members to keep in contact or schedule times for calls or virtual face-to-face time can be stressful or hard. It is normal need some time for yourself to deal with what you need to and to make sure that you're doing okay physically, mentally, and emotionally.

The focus on health right now – Because our world is experiencing something that affects a lot of people’s health, we may be paying a lot of attention to our own health. We may have goals or expectations around staying healthy as well – whether that has to do with certain kinds of exercise, eating certain foods, or continuing with particular lifestyles we were before. That may not be feasible for some, though. We may not have access to the groceries we normally do and we may not be able to go to the gym or play basketball in the park like before. We may not have the energy or extra time with other stressors in place. Please give yourself some patience and understanding around these things. 

Spaces that we’re in – Some people are achieving goals related to their homes, or the spaces they're in right now. Maybe they're doing handiwork, creating art to decorate their spaces, or cleaning and organizing in a way they didn't have time for before. That could feel like a productive or helpful thing for some of us, and for others that may add to the stress, or can’t be a priority. It's okay to recognize that your time and actions can look different from others’.

The best thing right now is evaluating what is healthy and comfortable for YOU. That means that you shouldn't measure your success, productivity, achievements, or free time by anyone else’s. This can be hard, but it's an important skill. Remember that it is not as simple as living your life from home right now, but that we are living through a pandemic and time of social distancing while trying to keep all of those other parts of our lives on our plates as well. And that's a lot. It is perfectly fine to recognize that you need to give yourself some time or cut yourself some slack. 

It is healthy to be able to acknowledge when something is hard or stressful, and then to adjust accordingly. That way you can get through the day with more manageable expectations and goals, and ultimately feel better.