There's an idea that has been floating around on social media since the beginning of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. It's the belief that if you aren't using social distancing and staying at home to become something great, you're wasting time. I think this is a harmful thought process that places unhealthy expectations on people. It creates a false narrative that you have to overwork yourself to become the next whatever, open some kind of business, or create the next big thing.
I do believe that it is OK to practice self-care and self-development during this time. But for a lot of us, this has been the only time we've had to truly rest in a very long time. Waking up and starting each day during this pandemic is a task in itself. So for people to shame others who might be struggling with family issues, depression, or a variety of other things for not working hard on x, y, or z during this time is not OK.
Although there has been a lot of negativity towards those who are taking this time to reflect and rest, there is a group going against that narrative. Something that stuck out to me early on was a poem from an Irish schoolteacher, Kitty O'Meara, about staying safe at home. It reads:
"And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed."
This poem has made a global impact and truly encompasses the beauty that is to be found in such a dark time. We are the people described in this poem. We deserve to rest. We deserve healing and peace. We deserve to treat ourselves with kindness in a time like this. If you've felt that you aren't doing enough at any point during this pandemic, step back and think small. Think about all of the tiny wins you've accomplished each day. They are truly worth celebrating. Getting out of bed and getting ready are both things you can be proud of yourselves for. If you've taken time to go on a walk, ride a bike, or spend time outside, that is a win.
Choose to be grateful for the small joys you experience each day during this unprecedented time.
Because just waking up each day is a gift in itself. Be gentle to yourself and gentle to others. Find ways to support your loved ones who might be struggling with thoughts of insufficiency right now. Check on your strong friend, check on your funny friend, because they might need you to be strong for them, or make them laugh right now. Most importantly, please remember that you are doing the best you can right now — and that is enough.
Don't let anyone convince you otherwise.