Starting to feel a bit bored during the quarantine? With the internet seemingly telling us one million different ways to stay busy during the quarantine, I have started observing some of my friends feeling bad when they feel they didn’t have a productive day.
After all, should we all get out of this pandemic with a new skill, speaking a new language or even launching a book?
THE SUBTLE ART OF DOING NOTHING
Free courses, Instagram exercises and celebrities teaching French.
Everyone has joined forces in this quarantine to fill our time in the best possible way. All this is amazing, as it gives us the opportunity to learn new things and keep the mind occupied so as not to go crazy in this period of isolation.
However, you also need to understand that no, you don’t have to be the most productive person in the world during the quarantine. In fact, please do allow yourself to be bored during the quarantine.
You don’t have to be like everyone else.
You don’t have to learn a new language, meditate every day, work out or learn a new recipe. Everyone has to live the quarantine the way it takes for themselves. And while having a work routine is vital, such as enjoying your time to have coffee, work, lunch, etc, it is also essential to add a leisure time to this schedule.
With all this flood of online content we’re getting, I ask you: have you tried stopping and doing NOTHING yet?
Granted, forced isolation can be a great opportunity to acquire knowledge. After all, when was the last time we had so much free time at hands?
However, forcing yourself to charge productivity in chaotic times like this might not be healthy at all.
We get bad news from every direction on a daily basis. Of course, this causes the anxiety level to increase and, especially, it’s normal that you don’t deal with all this with such positivity as other people in social media seemingly do so.
And that’s alright!
ARE YOU FEELING BORED DURING THE QUARANTINE?
You don’t have to “make the most of” this pandemic and it is healthy to allow yourself to do nothing during quarantine.
If you’re feeling bad about yourself in any way during the quarantine, know that:
1. Each one deals with anxiety in different ways. Some people get super productive, some people don’t. Which of the two you fit in is not really your choice. Listen to what your body is telling you.
2. We are isolated and trapped in a situation of chaos, with a flood of bad news all day. The idea that you HAVE to HAVE an organized and productive routine working out, creating things, cooking, skincare, etc is not realistic for everyone. And it’s okay if you feel scared, unfocused and paralyzed during that period.
3. It’s okay to have needs that go against what everyone else is talking about. Listen to your personal needs, they may be different from other people.
4. It’s all upside down and unfortunately you can’t do much to improve this situation. Thinking that you can fix the world only puts more pressure on a time that is already stressful for everyone. Knowing that you have your hands tied is essential.
5. You won’t understand this whole situation until you distance yourself from it. We’re just going to really understand everything that’s going on when it’s over.
6. All the energy you spend martyring yourself for not making the most of a global pandemic is energy thrown away. We should not romanticize the disease and make quarantine a retreat. This means it’s okay if you don’t want to use that time to be a better professional, do yoga or learn a new language.
7. Last but not least: have more self-compassion. Just forgive yourself. Accept that it’s okay for you to act the way you want.
So yes, girl, take the time to disconnect from so much information and let your brain rest.
It is often in these moments of idleness that our creativity surprises us and that the best ideas arise. I understand that productivity serves as an escape from reality, but remember that we are all fragile in the face of this global situation.
Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, a researcher and professor of education, psychology and neuroscience at the University of Southern California, wrote an article that brings a scientific survey of what happens when our brain is in ‘rest’.
Her study points out that when we are resting and focused only on our mind, the brain enters a “standard mode”, which is linked to the components of our socio-emotional function, such as self-knowledge, development of reasoning and moral judgments.
But the fact is that we are living a real digital FOMO (fear of missing out).
Instead of feeling bad about seeing the Stories of friends who are at the club while you’re watching Netflix, we now feel bad for not being able to keep up with so much content and productivity.
During that time, it is worth reading Digital Minimalism by Cal Newman, which consists of the philosophy of technology that if you focus your time online on small and select activities, everything becomes more valuable and what you are missing is no longer so important.
So it is worth putting everything in the balance and experiencing a routine that is productive, but that has idle moments.