We are in lock-down. And from day 1, we have been flooded with courses and up-gradation of skills that push us to make the best of the situation. There’s all this input (along with the continuous influx of news about the Corona-virus) that we will never get this time back, that this is it, if we lose this time we’ve lost something valuable and irreplaceable. That it’s up to us to make the most of it or we’ve failed ourselves and the opportunity.
But is that true? Initially, I felt drawn towards this excitement. It was great to hear all this positive thrust and intention and I jumped the bandwagon and tried to push myself. Pretty soon, I was repelled by it. I was exhausted and drained out, physically and emotionally. I realized all of that enthusiasm had made me operate from a place of guilt and not inspiration. I had to slow down. The only thing that worked for me was the realization that I had to be true to myself.
I’m sure we’re familiar with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. It definitely holds true in times such as these. Here I was with my support system( cleaner and cook) not coming anymore, my schedule gone for a toss, my groceries empty and bags packed for a relocation in 10 days and top it all, my kids and husband home, all day! This definitely wasn’t my idea of a perfect place to be self actualizing.
I couldn’t do it and if you’re trying to, you need to stop or a better word, pause! Make sure you’re taking care of the lower and more important needs first before you try to get beyond yourself.
Make sure you know what you’re doing for food, that’s right, do you have your groceries in place or at least know where and how to get them. Plan your routine, create a new schedule. This is important because these are our basic physiological needs. Try self actualizing on a hungry tummy?
Make your place of stay (I know some of us are not at our own place) safe or chart out the plan to keep it clean and hygienic, distribute the chores. Check your bank account and budget it if needed. Take care of your health and sleep and put things in place to take care of your office work or whatever involves your ‘moolah’ coming in. This counts for safety needs and it’s important to put this in place so you can have a sense of security and comfort. Also, make sure you earmark your weekdays and weekends because there’s no external measure for these anymore, at least temporarily. You have to draw your own boundaries.
Do what you need to socialize. Social isolation is the wrong word, you’re only meant to keep social distance. Don’t quote me wrong, maintaining physical distance doesn’t mean you can’t socialize, it just means you can’t do things together in the same place. You can still talk to your friends, hangout as a group, go for your music classes and do exercise. Just that you need to do it without meeting them. The one thing you should take advantage of is the internet. Do it all virtually. It won’t be as great as sipping coffee together and you will miss a hug and a pat on the back. Well, imagine living in your parents’ age. Now you’ll have perspective.
Now would be a good time to think about productivity. Though define productivity in your own terms. And take it one day at a time and most importantly be true to yourself. What do you really need today?, would be a good question to start with. Hear yourself be honest. Maybe you need to sleep, read or soak in the bath or maybe even do nothing. Honour yourself by choosing to do it. If you feel like it, go to the next question and ask yourself, what do you want to do today? Maybe you feel really charged up and want to try something new or enroll yourself for a course you’ve always wanted to take. Go ahead and make it happen. Maybe there’s an idea that you’ve been pushing aside for quite sometime now and today feels like the day you should prepare for it or try it out. Maybe, you’re so excited that you’re gonna risk something totally out of the blue. Be true to yourself and take the plunge. BUT, define productivity for yourself. You might be in for a dare one day and just take a break the other. You might want to paint by yourself or record something publicly another day. You might even feel like helping someone else, checking on someone, or even volunteering(if possible).
Acknowledge that your needs are different everyday, every moment. You change and grow bit by bit every day and so will what you need to do to nurture yourself especially when there is so much uncertainty around. One day you might feel like this lock-down doesn’t change anything about where you are and the next day you might be overwhelmed with the restriction. Which is why, only you will know what you need to do for yourself. Don’t let anyone else tell you what you should be doing. You run the risk of being resentful, bitter and giving up sooner than if you had wanted to do it yourself. They might inspire you, encourage you, ignite the spark and refresh you. But the choice is yours. That is true freedom and you build yourself that way. Being authentic to your needs, helps you be gentle to yourself and in turn to others. Isn’t that what you would want for yourself and isn’t that what the world needs more of now?