All of a sudden, it seems like everyone’s a baker. Social media feeds are full of people buying sourdough starters, gleefully watching their bread rise, sharing updates as it forms and bakes. They’re fun to watch but can also sometimes fill you with dread: Should I be doing this too? What’s wrong with me?
Lots of people are using their time at home to develop new skills: They’re cooking up a storm, they’re setting up at-home exercise routines, they’re learning new languages, and re-organising their basements. Those are deeply admirable things to be doing.
But a lot of people aren’t reacting to the coronavirus pandemic, and the social isolation that comes with it, in that same way. For some people, just getting through the day in sweatpants, with dirty hair and lapsed responsibilities, is enough to deal with. For some people, not having a total breakdown is the biggest accomplishment possible.
And that’s OK.
If you're feeling overwhelmed seeing people who seem to be living their best quarantine lives, whipping up an Alison Roman recipe between Zoom yoga and virtual Happy Hour with 15 of their closest friends, let me assure you that some of us can barely even shower or do our dishes.— Emily McCombs (@msemilymccombs) March 25, 2020
“We’re conditioned to believe that being as productive as possible, and structuring our days in this very externally validating way, is what’s right,” said Andrea Sadler, an occupational therapist and psychotherapist working in Toronto.
“There’s an interesting judgment that the more productive people are doing it right, and the less productive people are doing it wrong,” Sadler told HuffPost Canada. “But there are no rules around that. It’s all just about getting through.”
Understand that we’re all just muddling through
We all have different coping mechanisms. “For some people that might be making a bookshelf or exercising,” Sadler said. “And for some people it might be sitting in front of the TV...