Image by elizabeth lies


Cagla Su Isbilen

Before you start reading this article, I want you to think about your day. What have you done so far? How productive were you today? I’m guessing the answer will be “Not much” for the majority, because truthfully, we are never as productive as we’d like to be. The funny thing about this is the fact that we all know it, yet we struggle to accept it. Of course, the fact that we are constantly bombarded with the images of people making the most of their day does not help this situation. Have you seen the banana bread your best friend made? It looked delicious, what a shame you couldn’t take up baking. Are you not working out regularly like your cousin? Too bad, because he’s improving himself and you’re not. These kinds of social comparisons come naturally as you scroll down your social media feed; we are our own worst critics after all. Regardless, seeing these posts when you have barely got up from the couch the whole afternoon leaves you with an inevitably bitter feeling. Well, I’m here to tell you that it shouldn’t.

The “Hustle” culture has especially found its niche in the quarantine days, where we spend an entire day at home. In the beginning, staying at home and not commuting to work or school meant extra time for ourselves, the time that we could use to finally do that one thing we’ve been putting off for the longest time. Some of us really did put that extra time to use, they baked or exercised or got work done. Some of us didn’t, and contrary to the popular belief, that is also equally praiseworthy. There is this predominantly millennial idea that every nanosecond of our lives should be productive. Taking time off is looked down upon, almost a sin. The endless stream of viral workout challenges or how-to guides constantly thrown at us on different social media channels these days are just a reflection of that. This “hustle or you’re a failure” concept has ruled our lives for so long that we have forgotten the joy of stopping and recharging ourselves. These days we spend in our homes could very well be days of some light reading, catching up on a TV show or spending time with our loved ones. We are allowed to have days that pass us by, days that we just stop and look around, with no concern to make something of it. Just think about it, how logical is it to expect ourselves to make each day productive? How can we be productive every day, if we don’t stop and breathe every once in a while?

The truth is, we are currently experiencing a global pandemic. It’s something many of us thought we’d never seen in our lifetime. It’s new, unexpected and grim. Our attention is already divided between many things just because our routines are interrupted. On top of that, we are focusing on yet another factor to stress about, whether we are being productive or not, just because people on social media seem to be so. What we need to do is to remind ourselves every now and then that it’s okay to be lazy sometimes. It’s okay to indulge yourself in the things you love, without the worry of getting things done that day.

Remember that what we are not on familiar territory here, that we are all figuring this quarantine thing out as we go. There is no need to stress about one more thing, when we already have plenty for that. You can work, study or exercise when you want to, and if you want to. If you are productive, that’s great. If you’re not, that’s great too. These are odd times after all, so take it easy on yourself.