I signed up for a wellness course and fitness app – and then ate three Creme Eggs and binged Netflix. Here's why that's OK
Project-quarantine-kickstart-my-life has been an epic fail, but you know what? Self-care is self-kindness
I thought being at home for an extended period of time, with no daily commute and no external distractions, would free up lots of time to do all those things filed under the “living my best life” section of my brain.
I would cocoon myself in my home, try to ignore all the fear and uncertainty around me, and fill my days with attempts at self-betterment.
I made a list of all the productive things I would achieve. I vowed to try at least one new thing every day. I enrolled myself in Yale University’s Science of Well-being online course. I signed up for Chris Hemsworth’s free fitness app. I borrowed a puzzle; dusted off the backgammon set; got out the recipe books; cleared a spot in my garden for a vegetable patch…
And then proceeded to watch five episodes of Money Heist in a row. And eat three Cadbury’s Creme Eggs in one sitting.
Where is it written that we need to be perpetually productive?
In amongst the general global pandemic-induced anxiety, my period of self-isolation has largely been spent feeling optimistic about all the things I’m going to achieve – and guilty at not yet having achieved them.
I hear about those people doing marathons on their balconies and then despair that all I’ve managed to do is identify the top right hand corner piece of my puzzle.
I go out into the garden to start a work out, but often just end up playing fetch with the dogs.
My redecorating efforts have mainly consisted of moving a potted plant from one side of the living room to another. By all reasonable accounts, project-quarantine-kickstart-your-life has so far been an epic fail.
And then I saw a tweet by author Marian Keyes that struck a chord. “Lookit, we don’t have to use this strange hiccup in time to become fluid in Mandarin or learn to play the clarinet or achieve anything at all,” she wrote.
“We need to remember how scared we are… And the thing about fear is it’s exhausting. If we’re getting through the day without running screaming through the streets, we’re already at saturation.
“Where is it written that we need to be perpetually productive? What’s wrong with doing nothing? What’s wrong with having a rest? What’s wrong with admitting that this thing is beyond us? Feed yourself, wash yourself. Do the small necessary stuff. That’s all you need to do.”
The thing is, we are already trying one new thing every day...
We are coping with the repercussions of an unprecedented global health crisis, so everything is new. Yes, we should be trying to distract ourselves, by finding the small things that bring us joy in these uncertain times.
For some, that will be balcony marathons or daily workouts with Mr Hemsworth; for others, it will be re-reading your favorite chick-lit novel for the umpteenth time.
For some, it will be lying on the sofa bingeing on Netflix. Either way, no judgement. It’s okay to feel worried or despondent or sad or tired or anything at all. And there’s no need to place added pressure on ourselves at an already stressful time.
We should try to stay healthy and keep our spirits up and connect with the people we love. Everything beyond that is just a bonus.
Self-care is self-kindness – and it’s okay to settle for just getting through each day, without perfecting your artisan bread-making skills.
Updated: April 6, 2020 04:20 PM