What You Need to Know About Improving Yourself During The Pandemic
When the outbreak began, many people were quick to turn to the silver linings to cope. Those who loved going to the office saw an opportunity to save money while they're working remotely. Those who were balancing work with child-rearing finally have more time to bond with their children and rest afterward. The perpetually busy people? The pandemic has created such a culture shift that twenty-four hours seem longer than usual, giving them more time to do the things they love. These unique opportunities then boiled down to a trend you'll notice most on social media: self-improvement. Finally, everyone has the time to work on themselves.
It's a nice picture, but one that's not always applicable to everyone to the same degree. If you've felt that 2020 passed without you achieving any significant personal goal, then here are three things worth remembering about self-improvement during the pandemic.
Different People, Different Effects
The guilt you're feeling about your possible lack of "self-improvement" is most likely invalid. The American Psychological Association (APA) released a report in 2020 about the national mental health crisis in America. Other similar organizations worldwide share the same reports about more people suffering from depression and anxiety since the outbreak started. This is especially true for countries that aren't coping with the pandemic well.
Different people will experience different mental health issues during the pandemic. You could be okay one day and hopeless the next. It's totally normal considering the more restricted lifestyle everybody's living. In this context, you'll understand why you're having a more difficult time motivating yourself to exercise, work, study, or even perform mundane tasks like cleaning and cooking. Give yourself a break and prioritize dealing with any depression or anxiety you may be going through because of the pandemic. It's only when you're in a better mental state that you can successfully pursue other things.
Different People, Different Goals
The lack of social interaction has increased people's use of social media. It's inevitable that scrolling through your feed multiple times a day will lead to unhealthy comparisons of how people cope with the pandemic. You'll see friends who are improving their career prospects by attending online courses in the Philippines. Some got promoted, and others pushed through with their wedding. Your friend who always talks about losing weight? Well, she's done it.
How about you? What have you accomplished? These questions trigger low self-esteem and insecurities if you haven't achieved anything social media-worthy in the past couple of months. Before you wallow in self-pity, why not assess your situation first? Better yet, identify your goals. Your journey is different from theirs, which means you could be getting worked up about achievements you don't even want or need.
Different people will have different goals. Yours may change depending on where you are in life, and focusing on your progress is more productive than comparing it to other people's.
Different People, Different Needs
Perhaps your picture of self-improvement does not involve mastering a new skill. Yours could simply be learning to schedule breaks and enjoying your downtime. You could be among the countless professionals who do not know how to appreciate their rest days. Remote work is more stressful now that there's no boundary between your work life and social life.
Instead of weight loss, promotions, and start-ups, your self-improvement involves more essential life skills like gratitude, meditation, and self-care. If all you've managed to achieve thus far is get more sleep and show kindness to yourself while struggling, then you're doing well. It's a different picture of improvement, but it counts as one nonetheless.
Different people have different needs, and meeting yours is something you should be proud of.
Looking at other people for validation is especially detrimental during the pandemic. Introspect and be your first and best cheerleader. This is how you could realize that you've done better than you expected despite the situation.