Stop treating the stay-at-home order as a productivity contest

Angela Jordan, Opinions Columnist

  Since the stay-at-home order has been issued due to COVID-19, many of us are finding ourselves with a lot of free time. Of course we still have our responsibilities, but what are we to do with the “extra” time? Developing new skills and an increase in productivity seem to be all we read about on social media, but is any of that really necessary?  

  This social distancing period is intended to help the world slow the spread of the virus, but it has started to feel like a productivity contest. With everyone pushing for people to get more done during this period, it can be overwhelming. Despite what the media is showing, this time should not be about who’s been more productive. 

  It’s likely that the internet, especially social media, is one of your main companions during this time. Since social media has a world of diverse people with diverse interests, it is certain that you will see some people being a lot more active while you might be simply laying in your bed with some snacks and a movie. It may also seem like those people are doing a lot better than you during quarantine due to their increased productivity, but it is important to remember that we all cope differently.  

  Many people thrive in solitude, while others become stressed. We all heal and adjust differently; you should not feel pressured to be active during this time if you don’t feel up to it,  in the same way that there is nothing wrong with someone choosing to learn a language or plant a garden during this time. There is no “right” way to act during this pandemic. 

  Some students have taken to social media to express that they are feeling pressured during this pandemic, bringing their perspective to some of the platforms that the stress came from initially. 

  “Social media has glorified quarantine and made us believe that if you aren’t at your most glamorous with all these things checked off your list, then you’ve wasted time,” one Facebook comment read in CSU Bakersfield’s student discussion forums. 

  Although, this may be a good time to be productive for some who had been looking for some extra time to knock some chores off their spring cleaning list, not everyone is able to adjust as easily to staying home regularly and the decline in daily interaction they have likely experienced. Being productive may even be a way for people to cope during this time, but it is unhealthy and unfair to push this expectation on everyone. 

  “I don’t believe it’s appropriate to say that people should be using this time productively,” one CSUB student writes online, continuing on to state that it is a privilege to be productive when this pandemic has caused so many hardships for some. 

  For those that are still adjusting, it is ok if the only thing you did today was survive. It is also ok if you need to feel a sense of accomplishment and want to focus more on the things you could not before. The most important thing for us to do during this pandemic is to stay home as much as possible and keep our distance from people. 

  If you do want to be productive during this time without feeling stressed or pressured, try taking things slow. You might get more things done by giving yourself time and space to breathe. It is important that you do what is healthy and most practical to achieve your goals. Practice accepting the fact that there are some things we can’t control. Also, avoid defining this pandemic or every situation that may arise. Not defining every situation should allow you to relinquish control which should ultimately let your mind flow more freely.  

   If there is anything that can reasonably be expected of you, it is that you stay informed and responsible. Staying informed will not only help you protect yourself, but also help you protect others that you may come into contact with. It is important that you are not being misinformed with rumors. A way to avoid many of these rumors is by reading updates directly from the CDC website or by visiting FEMA’s rumor control page that helps distinguish rumors and facts regarding COVID-19. 

  Surviving this pandemic, physically and mentally, is a success of its own. Stay home, stay healthy, and stay safe.