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It’s Okay if You’re not Being Productive During the Pandemic

It’s Okay if You’re not Being Productive During the Pandemic

We’re seeing it all over social media, people are making bread, learning to knit or crochet, finally getting in shape or taking that online class they had “been meaning to take.” Everyday, newscasters, influencers and celebrities are urging us to use this time wisely and be productive. If you have been, kudos! It’s an amazing feat to be productive even in the best circumstances. However, if you’ve found yourself on the opposite side of the spectrum and haven’t been productive, that’s okay. 

In this day and age, being productive and “always grinding” seems to be the norm and if you aren’t constantly on the move or hustling you’re lazy. Well, that’s just not the case. Andrea Sandler, occupational therapist and psychotherapist said “We’re conditioned to believe that being as productive as possible, and structuring our days in this very externally validating way, is what’s right. There’s an interesting judgement that the more productive people are doing it right, and the less productive people are doing it wrong. But there are no rules around that. It’s all just about getting through.” Again, it’s all just about getting through. If you find yourself feeling down about not being productive during a time of global crisis, here are a few things to remember.


  • We all have different coping mechanisms: For some of us, coping with a tragedy looks like staying in your sweatpants all day curled up in front of the TV, and for some people it might be learning a new language, organizing their house or exercising. All are valid ways of coping and no one way is better than the other, it all just depends on the person.
  • Be compassionate with yourself: We’re all going through a tough time and experiencing something completely unprecedented. It’s normal and completely okay if you’re struggling or having a hard time adapting to your new and very different reality. The best way to start learning to be compassionate with yourself is to notice when you begin to judge yourself. Taking notice of when you begin to judge your behavior can be the stepping stone to being kinder to yourself during this time.
  • Recognize that you might be grieving: Grief counselor Ashley Meikle said that exercising, baking, emotional eating, drinking a lot or gambling can be considered energy-relieving behaviors. These behaviors take the edge off during stressful situations for a short time. It’s important to recognize that in some way we’re all grieving the current loss of all normalcy in our own worlds and grief can affect us in different ways. 
  • Self-Isolating can be a mental health trigger for many of us: Not leaving the house for days at a time, not going outside or interacting with other people can trigger a lot of emotions and even trigger some mental health issues. People who struggle with depression are often told to get out of the house and socialize, which is something we’re no longer able to do. This time can also be triggering for those who struggle with eating disorders or addiction. Whether or not you suffer from a mental health condition, isolating and this disruption in routine has been difficult for everyone.
  • Focus on the present: I know this one is especially hard right now but the truth is we really don’t know how conditions are going to change a week or even two days from now. Worrying about the future is only going to make you feel worse and cause more anxiety and distress. If you find yourself beginning to spiral, think of something good in your life at the moment and repeat it to yourself as many times as you need. “Right now I still have a job I’m able to do, right now my kids are able to learn and do their schoolwork, right now I don’t have COVID-19.” 


If you or someone you know is struggling with their mental health at this time, here are a few resources: