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Productivity in Lockdown

Productivity In Lockdown

So, it appears that the world has stopped, or at least seems to be turning slowly and erratically. Many of us are confined to our homes, not able to work, socialize or see loved ones the way we wish. At the same time, we live in a culture that places a high value on productivity, to the point that we regard any kind of down time as a negative thing.  We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to be productive during lockdown, and that's not necessarily a healthy thing.

Not that productivity is a bad thing. In fact, on the whole, it's good. In a situation where many of us are shut in, having something useful, even creative to do can alleviate the boredom. When we may be worried about a variety of things, ranging from our finances to the well-being of loved ones we can't safely visit, giving the utility closet a clean-out or doing a craft can provide a much-needed distraction. It can mean the difference between healthy concern and unhealthy anxiety or depression.

But many of us feel that while we're unable to go to work as normal we should make use of the time to get things done, and if we're not making some "productive" use of our time it's a failure of ambition or even character. So mums pressure themselves to homeschool their kids, dads pressure themselves to build an addition on the house and  it ends up falling apart because they don't have the energy to sustain it.

We are in an extremely stressful time right now. For many people, the disruption of their lives is traumatic. Our bodies' natural stress responses are designed to survive immediate threats. Over the longer term, they deplete our energy. Stress hormones can even cause physical damage to the body. We simply are not designed to thrive under chronic stress and anxiety. To put pressure on ourselves to use this "down time" to learn a foreign language or rebuild the engine on your car only creates more stress.

If you have the energy and lockdown is making you stir crazy, by all means have at it. It's a healthy way of coping.  Just bear in mind that coping is what you're supposed to be doing right now.  If the anxiety of the current emergency has left you drained to the point that you just want to crawl under a fuzzy blanket and sleep, well then go ahead, in moderation. Don't allow yourself to feel guilty about needing some extra rest. Just take it.

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