As much as I’d like to encourage you to travel .. due to recent news, please stay put and stay healthy <3
Procrastinate: Allow yourself to healOn April 7, 2020 by S.K. Lakenen
We’re constantly asking for more time. And even when more time have been granted, it still doesn’t feel enough. At this moment, I’m experiencing a lockdown in San Francisco with no definite end, and the rest of the world seem to be on quarantine as well. Suddenly, we’re given all this extra time to do the things we want to do “but never have the time to”. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, I’ve witnessed a rise of individuals broadcasting their productive activities on social media. It seems as if being on lockdown and having extra time insinuates the need for every waking moment to be active and productive.
Though there’s good intention behind every “be productive” message splattered across social media, there is a repercussion; the anxiety that it invoked in other individuals, causing them to feel they’re procrastinating.
Procrastinators are often perceived as lazy, unprofessional and lacking in self-control. I used to think that was true. During my university years, overloaded with assignments and research, I had put aside time to design a to-do list – marking my every step and dedicated every hour to doing something productive. I filled my schedule to the brim; with daily workouts, research, and assignments (entirely hand drawn and painted – AutoCAD was prohibited), while managing a social life and still have 2 hours to spare for sleep. My friends called me “ an organized stress”. I practiced that type of work ethic throughout my design career. My organized stress later turned into what most people will call a burnout. Procrastination was against my nature. Being productive every minute of every day has led me this far in my career after all. But I realized that didn’t lead me to the life I desire.
Historically, procrastinators weren’t always looked down upon. Until the twenty-first century, it was common to believe that the human body and mind’s natural state was resting or leisure. The work ethic changed since then; it became demanding, and requiring immediate action. Chronic overscheduling became a norm and procrastination perceived as laziness. The modern lifestyle continues to produce chronic tension and stress that worsens both physical and mental health.
Procrastination became one of the ways I started to use to slow down my mind and body. Overworked and constantly having the thoughts of “I should be doing this right now…” for the past decade have taken an immense toll on my health. When I started to delay some tasks, in order to tend to resting, I started seeing procrastination as a form of self-care. Sometimes, it’s necessary and beneficial to consciously decide to allow your mind to take a break. Not just through sleep, but in waking moments as well.
People deal with anxiety and uncertainty differently. Some individuals push themselves to be productive and keep themselves busy. Some deal with it through staying still and diverting their attention from stressful tasks. Both are normal and acceptable. We all heal differently.
At a time like this, productivity shouldn’t be seen as the highest priority. Our main focus should be directed towards compassion. Compassion towards those who lost people dear to them, and weren’t able to see or hold their loved ones for one last time. To individuals involved in restaurants and essential businesses – they continue to operate so that we can have food on the table every day. Compassion towards our medical frontliners – risking their own health to tend to the needs of others. And compassion for yourself – you’re allowed to rest and just be without feeling guilty about it. In the middle of turmoil and uncertainty, our energy is redirected to worry and anxiety. It’s difficult to stay motivated every day. So be kind to yourself and understand that this is not a race to be the most productive person when this is over.
There’s always going to be something that needs to be done. But ask yourself, does it have to be done right now? It’s time to give yourself a break. The world is on pause, and healing in the process. Let yourself do the same.