Are you feeling like you’ve not been productive enough during COVID-19? I have been amazed at the incredible number of past-times being offered to keep us busy and entertained while we shelter-in-place.  All day long, I receive links from friends and strangers to watch this show online or to sign up for a Zoom event or some other live event. I’m sure you too, if so inclined, could fill your every waking hour with online dance parties, theater, music, body movement classes, and the list goes on. I ignore most of these invites because I am not interested in filling up every waking hour of my sheltering-in-place. It’s become apparent that we as a society are unaccustomed to, and afraid of spending alone time, and we know very little about the treasures that can be found in intentional solitude. We’ve been trained to be busy.  As master spiritualist Thích Nhât Hanh would say, “Stop the running.” We must remember that being busy is a habit. There is the alternative to just sit and contemplate, take naps, rest, or relax, as we’ve never had the chance to do before, and may never have the opportunity to do again.

Another growing syndrome is the idea that we have to emerge from this pause having created or accomplished something remarkable. I think that if we maintain our sanity and decorum, that is something extraordinary enough. Still, many are questioning their value based on what others may be, or claim to be, achieving at this time.  As a dear friend once told me, “Comparison is the thief of joy.”

I imagine no one wants to see themselves as a slug (though some days I do!). Still, we should not pressure ourselves to do anything exceptional aside from taking care of ourselves and those in our care, including our own physical, mental and spiritual health and well-being. Of course, if you are truly inspired to create something extraordinary, then, by all means, don’t resist that urge. At this point, just being able to hold onto hope and joy can truly take great effort! So, take a load off, try to embrace this pause with grace whenever you can, and allow nothing outside of yourself to determine for you, how you are handling these challenging times, and what that means to you.