Productive Pandemics

Dearbhla Crosse
3 min readMar 29, 2020

How productive has your covid-19 pandemic been? How many zoom quizzes and virtual house parties have you attended? Which quarantine competitions have you won? By now, I imagine many of you have undertaken such fun projects as translating the Aramaic Scriptures to learning how to Trapeze walk from your living room to the bathroom.

I had imagined that the silver linings of a quarantine situation would be not having FOMO or the pressure of living your best life. Taking joy in the quiet moments. But luckily, even in this current climate of chaos, sadness and worry, we can all feel the productivity pressure. Remarkably, from the confines of your living space, you too can make room for all the activities! The chance to be a better, healthier version of you is within your grasp. Joy! Instagram in particular has been a buzzing hive of quarantine activity suggestions. You can do things you never ever wanted to do like relearn the recorder or how to tie-dye your formal work shirt (you don’t need it anymore anyway as all your meetings are from home). Quarantine shaming has never been more fun.

The best bit is that meditation has also now become a chore! At every hour of the day, you can take part in insta live meditation sessions to help you ‘relax’. To add to my misanthropy, I joined a meditation group on Facebook where unbeknownst to me, people were encouraged to upload their own videos. What newfound horror! Just in case you are already grappling with crippling anxiety, you can now watch videos of total strangers telling you all about their anxiety too. I signed up to about five of these ‘coronavirus meditation’ sessions but I have forgotten which ones I was meant to attend. It’s like when you write long lists and allow the list to fester, unchecked, like a giant, dead pink elephant. My misguided attempts at stress relief begets more stress. I really must be a better relaxer!

Over the last few weeks I have fallen prey to the social media vortex, watching the news on an endless cycle. Spiralling down the rabbit hole of anxiety, the more I consumed, the bigger it became until I was just like Alice, engulfed by my own tears riding the pandemic wave of panic all the way to crazy town. Admittedly, sometimes not having anything to do is harder than having too much to do. I definitely understand the need to keep busy during a time of worry and stress. Connecting with friends and family is really important — even I have been known to make a Zoom call or two. (I forgot to notify everyone on my Instagram story so I’m telling you now).

While I think it’s great people are sharing ideas on how to pass the time (incidentally I found instructions on how to convert weeks into minutes), sometimes it’s also just nice to lie around in your pjs and watch Netflix without feeling guilty that you haven’t learned ancient Sanskrit or harnessed the power of the wind to fuel your household energy system.

I do realise that I am not forced to partake in any of the aforementioned isolation activities but it’s hard not to feel useless for not being super productive when bombarded with ‘make the most of your pandemic’ suggestions. The idea that we have to be busy all the time is what has led us to a crisis of conscience and a rise in anxiety, even before all this. No, Karen, I don’t want to engage in a 6am abs challenge before learning how to turn my cereal box into a bee sanctuary. I want to stay in bed and sleep, and maybe read a book. Let’s face it, getting up and showering in this current shitshow is an achievement. I got asked the other day what my quarantine activity was. It was 2pm and I was still in my pyjamas.

“What are you doing?”

“Watching the metamorphosis of a tadpole into a frog on Instagram, you?

--

--

Dearbhla Crosse

Freelance writer and artist ‘Opinionated’. Delusions of mediocrity in a world of over-achievers. Interested in women’s rights, education and the environment.