When lockdown laws started coming into effect, it opened the floodgates for articles pushing the fact that this is the perfect time for people to become their best selves. ‘Start that business,’ shouts one article, ‘it’s the perfect time to learn another language,’ says another, ‘get your summer body in winter,’ screamed a third.
But the reality is, this is not the kind of pressure that most of us need right now. While some people might thrive in this time – you don’t have to.
You are totally allowed to spend as much time as you want lying in bed and watching Netflix. If you want to bake and eat comfort food, then you absolutely should. If you can’t manage to fit in some hard-hitting exercise routines right now, that’s also fine too.
We are all experiencing this differently. Many are trying to cope with the added pressure of a pandemic while they help their loved ones through illnesses, pregnancies and all sorts of other situations. Many people are finding new time with their family, others are finding themselves trapped in a home in which they don’t feel safe. Some people are thriving off a moment to be alone, others are desperately seeking to contact their elderly family members isolated in nursing homes. Some people are rediscovering the joys of cooking, while others are supporting their locals with take-out each night. Some people can’t even afford enough food, or don’t have the means to go out and safely get it. Some busy working parents are finding joy in getting to know their children, others are crying in the toilet while they try to find five minutes of peace. Some people are lucky to be working, some people are luckier to be working from home.
We’re finding new time with our families – for some that is a gift, for others that’s
Some of us are finding the privacy and the time to harness those underlying creative skills. We’re picking up instruments we’ve ignored for ten years or remembering that once upon a time we were good at drawing. Other people are doing their best to work from home, drowning in work that they’d rather not have. Some have nothing to do.
Some of us are moving through this time, fearing the health of our nearest and dearest. Some of us are facing other challenges that existed before this crisis and are made even harder as a result. Others simply have to get by, with no other fears and nothing but time on their hands.
Times are tough and the world is frightening. There is beauty abounding, but there is also uncertainty hanging over every single one of us. Whichever category you fall in, it does not matter. You do not need to be producing, you do not need to be entertaining, you do not need to be achieving, you do not need to be thriving. You just need to be surviving.