Why It’s Okay Not To Come Out of Lockdown a Better Person

Written by: Holly West

Artwork by: Katarina (@katarina_samohin)

We really are experiencing unprecedented times. COVID-19 has swirled the world into a ball of stress, anxiety, fear, and massive change. 

Countries across the globe have put their citizens into mandatory lockdowns in an effort to control the spread of the virus and save precious lives. Thousands of people are working from home, receiving furlough compensation, homeschooling their children, and getting used to a new normal. 

we are now expected to use our time confined at home to become a ‘better person’. 

Life is always filled with different pressures, but the recent pandemic has given birth to a new burden, which I refer to as the ‘lockdown hustle’. Suddenly, as if the stress of navigating a new normal and avoiding a dangerous virus wasn’t enough – we are now expected to use our time confined at home to become a ‘better person’. 

Hustle culture, as I have come to interpret it, means you ‘rise and grind’ at 5am, partake in a live Instagram workout or run a 5K before you even start work. Your cooking skills should have improved exponentially, and you should have made at least one banana bread and got your sourdough starter ready for its first loaf by now. You should be reconnecting with your family, partaking in weekly zoom quizzes, learning a new skill or a language, as well as decluttering your house, and working on your mental health. Oh and don’t forget to upload your progress on your Instagram stories for everyone to see. Got all of that? 

Of course no one is forcing you to do all of these things at once, but there is a certain feeling in the air that you should be using lockdown as the ultimate revamp of your life. This new pressure is making many feel that since we now have ‘so much time on our hands’ we should at least be attempting a combination of these activities in an effort to better ourselves ready to emerge from lockdown reborn. 

Why are we feeling this pressure, and why is it dangerous?

If you’re an avid Instagram, Facebook or Twitter user, you will know the rise of this lockdown hustle culture is grounded deeply in social media and the rose-tinted view it gives us of other people’s lives. The concept of ‘Instagram vs Reality’ really comes into play here. As celebrities, influencers, and even our family and friends are sharing posts and stories of what they are up to during lockdown, it is easy to believe that they are making the most of their time. They’re going on runs, baking fresh bread, re-doing the garden, all while holding down a nine-to-five in their new work from home set up. 

Seeing all of these images can  make it hard to remember that this is just a snapshot of someone’s life. Some may have risen on Friday morning and thought ‘you know what, I don’t fancy yoga today’ and they also probably gave up on that 1000 piece jigsaw because all the colors look the same (guilty). However our society has a wonderful habit of refusing to acknowledge or share our failures in life, and favor instead, a heightened version of reality. 

A disclaimer on the term ‘fails’. It is not a fail to do whatever you need to do to get you through these strange and uncertain times. Getting you through might be meditating every morning, but it also might be having a cry and a tub of ice cream – there are no rules. But I feel the real issue with this overwhelming pressure to ‘hustle’ is the reluctance of people to share anything other than perfect moments. On the flip side, it is up to the consumer to remind themselves that people won’t generally share that they sat on the sofa all day with a boxset, partly because they feel it’s too boring to document. So remember the Instagram vs Reality dichotomy, it will comfort you when you burn your next batch of homemade crumpets. 

We are losing the joy in life because we feel we are not doing enough, or actively improving ourselves – on top of adjusting to a global pandemic.

This culture of trying to get the most out of life during this period and make ourselves better people can be really damaging, and is  making some of us miserable. We are losing the joy in life because we feel we are not doing enough, or actively improving ourselves – on top of adjusting to a global pandemic. So while the message of ‘becoming a better person’ is promoted as a positive one, the overwhelming amount of content out there advertising this message can sometimes have more negative affects on our mental health.

I must admit, after realizing I would have a lot of time on my hands, I vowed to exercise every day, read all the books I hadn’t yet, take up an online course in SEO and reach the end of this period a better, more educated, healthier me. However some days, I have been finding it hard to pull myself away from bed. I can sit for hours and hardly recount what I have done. I had to actively stop looking at social media for the shame that I wasn’t running a 5K for charity. In other words, some days were hard, and I felt awful for not using every single hour I had to be productive and make my life better.  

The pressure has forced me to ignore the things I am still doing. I am holding down an unpaid internship, while also writing content freelance for several different websites. I am cooking for my partner and his parents 5 nights a week, getting out and moving my body at least once a day, and most of all… I am healthy and coping relatively well during lockdown. But it is easy to feel as though I am not doing enough – and I still haven’t finished that stupid jigsaw.

Why could lockdown hustle culture be positive? 

Without being all doom and gloom on hustle culture, there are some significant benefits to this new found movement. If you are looking for some encouragement to get out there and do something, there are communities online which can support you through that. If you want to learn how to cook or gain any other new skills, there are hundreds of resources which have been translated online for you to use. So while it can feel like the world is expecting you to get up and go, if you are someone who needs the motivation to do that, you will find no shortage of encouragement from online communities. It can serve as a sort of pack mentality making people feel like they are not alone, and you are all in it together navigating the complexities of various subjects such as a sourdough starter. 

It can also be  good for your mind to have an escape from the relentless COVID-19 media and news. Many people gain some light relief in finding out what fun things others are up to, rather than another scary statistic. On top of this, people have been using their extra time to do  valuable things for charity. Millions of pounds have been raised by people running 5K and donating £5, as well as  other physical challenges including Sir Tom Moore’s valiant effort at walking 100 laps of his sizable garden before his 100th birthday. 

How should we respond to this? 

So how do we respond to this new breed of hustle culture? The most important thing to remember is that however you choose to cope during these strange and uncertain times, is if it keeps you happy and sane  it’s okay. If you lose or gain weight, that is okay. If you work all hours of the day, or spend the day watching Netflix, that is okay. If you are feeling overwhelmed, that is okay. There is no straight line on how this period will go for any of us, there will be good days and bad days before, during, and after this. 

Sometimes one of the best things you can do is take a step back from whatever is not serving your happiness and reassess. Spend an evening, or  simply an hour away from social media. Surround yourself with things that make you happy, whether time alone, or with people who make you feel supported, and remember that nothing is permanent. You do not have to come out of lockdown a ‘better’ person, you just need to get through it the best you can.  

Why It’s Okay Not To Come Out of Lockdown a Better Person

Written by: Holly West

Artwork by: Katarina (@katarina_samohin)

We really are experiencing unprecedented times. COVID-19 has swirled the world into a ball of stress, anxiety, fear, and massive change. 

Countries across the globe have put their citizens into mandatory lockdowns in an effort to control the spread of the virus and save precious lives. Thousands of people are working from home, receiving furlough compensation, homeschooling their children, and getting used to a new normal. 

we are now expected to use our time confined at home to become a ‘better person’. 

Life is always filled with different pressures, but the recent pandemic has given birth to a new burden, which I refer to as the ‘lockdown hustle’. Suddenly, as if the stress of navigating a new normal and avoiding a dangerous virus wasn’t enough – we are now expected to use our time confined at home to become a ‘better person’. 

Hustle culture, as I have come to interpret it, means you ‘rise and grind’ at 5am, partake in a live Instagram workout or run a 5K before you even start work. Your cooking skills should have improved exponentially, and you should have made at least one banana bread and got your sourdough starter ready for its first loaf by now. You should be reconnecting with your family, partaking in weekly zoom quizzes, learning a new skill or a language, as well as decluttering your house, and working on your mental health. Oh and don’t forget to upload your progress on your Instagram stories for everyone to see. Got all of that? 

Of course no one is forcing you to do all of these things at once, but there is a certain feeling in the air that you should be using lockdown as the ultimate revamp of your life. This new pressure is making many feel that since we now have ‘so much time on our hands’ we should at least be attempting a combination of these activities in an effort to better ourselves ready to emerge from lockdown reborn. 

Why are we feeling this pressure, and why is it dangerous?

If you’re an avid Instagram, Facebook or Twitter user, you will know the rise of this lockdown hustle culture is grounded deeply in social media and the rose-tinted view it gives us of other people’s lives. The concept of ‘Instagram vs Reality’ really comes into play here. As celebrities, influencers, and even our family and friends are sharing posts and stories of what they are up to during lockdown, it is easy to believe that they are making the most of their time. They’re going on runs, baking fresh bread, re-doing the garden, all while holding down a nine-to-five in their new work from home set up. 

Seeing all of these images can  make it hard to remember that this is just a snapshot of someone’s life. Some may have risen on Friday morning and thought ‘you know what, I don’t fancy yoga today’ and they also probably gave up on that 1000 piece jigsaw because all the colors look the same (guilty). However our society has a wonderful habit of refusing to acknowledge or share our failures in life, and favor instead, a heightened version of reality. 

A disclaimer on the term ‘fails’. It is not a fail to do whatever you need to do to get you through these strange and uncertain times. Getting you through might be meditating every morning, but it also might be having a cry and a tub of ice cream – there are no rules. But I feel the real issue with this overwhelming pressure to ‘hustle’ is the reluctance of people to share anything other than perfect moments. On the flip side, it is up to the consumer to remind themselves that people won’t generally share that they sat on the sofa all day with a boxset, partly because they feel it’s too boring to document. So remember the Instagram vs Reality dichotomy, it will comfort you when you burn your next batch of homemade crumpets. 

We are losing the joy in life because we feel we are not doing enough, or actively improving ourselves – on top of adjusting to a global pandemic.

This culture of trying to get the most out of life during this period and make ourselves better people can be really damaging, and is  making some of us miserable. We are losing the joy in life because we feel we are not doing enough, or actively improving ourselves – on top of adjusting to a global pandemic. So while the message of ‘becoming a better person’ is promoted as a positive one, the overwhelming amount of content out there advertising this message can sometimes have more negative affects on our mental health.

I must admit, after realizing I would have a lot of time on my hands, I vowed to exercise every day, read all the books I hadn’t yet, take up an online course in SEO and reach the end of this period a better, more educated, healthier me. However some days, I have been finding it hard to pull myself away from bed. I can sit for hours and hardly recount what I have done. I had to actively stop looking at social media for the shame that I wasn’t running a 5K for charity. In other words, some days were hard, and I felt awful for not using every single hour I had to be productive and make my life better.  

The pressure has forced me to ignore the things I am still doing. I am holding down an unpaid internship, while also writing content freelance for several different websites. I am cooking for my partner and his parents 5 nights a week, getting out and moving my body at least once a day, and most of all… I am healthy and coping relatively well during lockdown. But it is easy to feel as though I am not doing enough – and I still haven’t finished that stupid jigsaw.

Why could lockdown hustle culture be positive? 

Without being all doom and gloom on hustle culture, there are some significant benefits to this new found movement. If you are looking for some encouragement to get out there and do something, there are communities online which can support you through that. If you want to learn how to cook or gain any other new skills, there are hundreds of resources which have been translated online for you to use. So while it can feel like the world is expecting you to get up and go, if you are someone who needs the motivation to do that, you will find no shortage of encouragement from online communities. It can serve as a sort of pack mentality making people feel like they are not alone, and you are all in it together navigating the complexities of various subjects such as a sourdough starter. 

It can also be  good for your mind to have an escape from the relentless COVID-19 media and news. Many people gain some light relief in finding out what fun things others are up to, rather than another scary statistic. On top of this, people have been using their extra time to do  valuable things for charity. Millions of pounds have been raised by people running 5K and donating £5, as well as  other physical challenges including Sir Tom Moore’s valiant effort at walking 100 laps of his sizable garden before his 100th birthday. 

How should we respond to this? 

So how do we respond to this new breed of hustle culture? The most important thing to remember is that however you choose to cope during these strange and uncertain times, is if it keeps you happy and sane  it’s okay. If you lose or gain weight, that is okay. If you work all hours of the day, or spend the day watching Netflix, that is okay. If you are feeling overwhelmed, that is okay. There is no straight line on how this period will go for any of us, there will be good days and bad days before, during, and after this. 

Sometimes one of the best things you can do is take a step back from whatever is not serving your happiness and reassess. Spend an evening, or  simply an hour away from social media. Surround yourself with things that make you happy, whether time alone, or with people who make you feel supported, and remember that nothing is permanent. You do not have to come out of lockdown a ‘better’ person, you just need to get through it the best you can.  

About author: Holly West

 

Holly is a content writer who grew up with sandy toes and salty hair living on the coast of Devon, UK. 

She is passionate about travel, food, wine, and writing.

Find me on instagram @hollyamberwest

About author: Holly West

 

Holly is a content writer who grew up with sandy toes and salty hair living on the coast of Devon, UK. 

She is passionate about travel, food, wine, and writing.

Find me on instagram @hollyamberwest