Fighting the Pressure to Be the Perfect Shut-in

Many of my friends and clients are feeling a particular pressure right now to be extra productive and use their safer-at-home time to complete tasks and learn new skills. Some of them are hosting family sports tournaments, cleaning out closets, or writing that novel that was wasting away in a file. Others are slaying life by juggling home schooling with working from the home office. Others, however, are fighting off depression and anxiety and are having trouble just getting out of bed.

I’m reminded over and over that there’s no “right” way to function right now. Some people feel better when they’re industrious, and work best with a strict schedule. Others are learning to sit with their anxiety and do very little. And others are just enjoying bingeing House (not talking about myself or anything) and taking an occasional walk.

The only rule here is that we protect ours and others’ health. Otherwise, this is a time when all bets are off, there’s no such things as normal, and the last thing anyone needs is extra pressure to be or do anything.

I ask my clients this week to be in the moment long enough to figure out what gives them the most relief. If it’s work, great. If it’s exercise, or rest, or Zoom with Wine, excellent. Allow yourself to do what works right now, remind yourself it’s all temporary, and know that if you’re typically hard on yourself for how you do work/life/relationships, you’re likely to be hard on yourself for how you’re doing isolation. If you’re comparing yourself to others and believing they’re doing quarantine better than you, catch yourself, and try to let it go.

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