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April 12, 2020

“I should really do something with my time.” Quarantine or not, this is many of our truths.

Moments ago, I was just sitting here thinking: what should I do?

And this isn’t specific to the quarantine… I often think this. Perhaps it is a more reoccurring thought due to our current circumstance, but I don’t think I can blame it solely on that.

In general, I am always thinking about doing, rather than being. Now, I know that is a very cliché statement. Doesn’t mean it isn’t right (which it really is!), it just means I won’t spend this blog talking about it – there are people out there who have probably said it better than I could here!

I guess, what I’m more referring to here, is that what we naturally do as human beings every weekend, every day off, every free time, has now become our lives 24/7. Before, we would often think about what to do, and end up just settling down to watch an episode of our current TV show, or a movie that crops up on our Netflix, or YouTube video after YouTube video. Then hours have passed, the free time is over, and we’re back to our routine.

We may have begun the lock-down like this, but many of us are probably at a stage where we’re thinking we should be more productive with our time. Especially as all around us people are encouraging personal development, getting into hobbies, starting up projects, or volunteering. I don’t think this is a bad thing, being encouraged to do the things we’ve always wanted to do but never had time for. In fact, I think it’s great! At the same time, I recognise the pressure this can place on some of us who may feel they don’t know how to be productive or even want to be.

There is no right or wrong approach to this. What there is, is responsibility. Responsibility to take care of ourselves during this time. That may be taking ownership of a business idea that you’ve been mulling over in your mind for months, and finally getting a start on it. It may be spending time to grow relationships with family and friends, who you’ve been neglecting for a while (those you live with or over facetime with others – lets stick to quarantine rules people!). Or even tackle some challenges within yourself that these tough times have resurfaced: loneliness, feeling the need to be ‘useful’, etc.

We don’t have to do all or any of the above. But what we do have to do is stop, breathe and ask ourselves: “what can I give myself to make me happy?”. That could be more time to do what you love. That could be reaching out and talking to people. That could be addressing some personal hurts that you know need dealing with. Or, that could be just for once stopping, chilling out and doing nothing. Only we are responsible for how we best use this time to serve us.

Some people are using this time to help others and that is wonderful. I commend those people and say thank you! However, I know that hearing the work of others can fill some of us – me included – with guilt for not doing our part. It’s important to tell ourselves that it’s okay if we’re using this time for us and not others. Everyone’s time is their own, and if you’re coming from a place of love, you know the right way to use this time. I have spent much of my life volunteering or working in a capacity which serves others. Whilst this is still important to me and will always be so, I am taking responsibility for my feelings of guilt for not helping now, and instead giving myself the love and time I have neglected to over the years. Even if you’re thinking that up until now you’ve never helped others, if still you need this time to give yourself some love and care, then do that. That is okay.

The only self-reflection and self-work that we need to do in this time is to ask ourselves what we truly want to do during the lock-down. If it’s to help others, be productive or do nothing, as long as it is coming from a place of self-love and deep connection, then that is your answer. There is no right or wrong way, only your way. My way is to get back into making art like I used to as a kid and let myself enjoy doing nothing.

What’s yours?

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