By Chloe Webster
It goes like this: my day has been perfectly normal (or whatever I think “normal” means during a pandemic). I have made sure to do all the work that needed to be done. I have followed the schedule of the day. I have crossed off multiple to-do list items. I am feeling productive.
Then, I find myself having this insane “thing” I used to rarely ever find: time. However, instead of embracing those incredible minutes or hours of having nothing to do, my brain goes into the “what should I be doing?” mode.
According to Instagram and other social media platforms, I “should” abide by the quarantine rules. I “should” use this time to read a new book or bake some banana bread or become famous on TikTok or do an elaborate self-care routine or get in a workout.
But what if I do not want to?
There is something to be said for mindfully choosing what to do with the gift of time. Even before COVID-19, human beings faced that challenge head-on. Think about how much time you had during third quarter of last year, or rather how much time you wished you had. Honestly, I think COVID-19 was a wake-up call reminding us that we have a choice about how we want to spend our time.
And yet, we still fall into the trap of thinking we have to constantly be doing something “productive” or “educational” or “meaningful” when in reality we just don’t. In fact, it would be better for our health if we asked, “What will make me feel better at this moment?”
Because after I try to fill my entire schedule up with those “should-do” items, I simply do not feel good. The normal-ish day I was having comes crashing down, and all of a sudden I feel sad, confused, and lonely from what seems to be out of nowhere.
However, these feelings are not out of nowhere.
When I discussed these “COVID mood swings” with Mrs. Parker, she made a very important point: “Whether you are a student, parent or teacher, everyone is experiencing a collective grief.” She went on to address that she knows the levels of grief differ; however, she emphasized that the common emotion tying humanity together during this time is grief.”
“It is the loss of what is familiar – graduation, Derby Day kids in the hall – all of that is gone. So the things that we need for equilibrium and balance are not there, and it makes us sad, and it is normal” she said.
Parker went on to describe the importance of a routine and having designated times to study, get outside, and socialize with others (safely of course). She said, “The structure to someone’s day can be very comforting.” However, she also mentioned that time needs to be spent doing the things that will bring our balance back. This means finding what works for us individually.
For some, that may mean making banana bread, reading or playing an instrument. For others, finding balance means taking a two-hour nap. There are no set “rules” despite what social media might try to tell us.
Wellness teacher Ms. Seebeck emphasizes, “There’s no rule book or manual for navigating a pandemic, and while this knowingness can provoke worry and fear, it can also be a reminder to give ourselves grace and compassion.”
For & By Students
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