At the start of the week when I was filling in my work calendar and planning my entire week ahead, I had this constant ringing in my head. I couldn’t stop thinking about how hard I’ve been on myself in these last few months. By that I mean, how much I was underplaying just having a job, meeting my regular deliverables and just basically doing everything that was asked of me. What was instead playing in my mind was how I wasn’t giving my best at work, I couldn’t be as productive as I wanted to be and hence I was constantly comparing myself to my contemporaries. And I think I possibly may have reached my saturation point which is why I started questioning myself about this toxic thinking pattern which led to some self-reflection. Can’t tell you how glad I am to have finally stopped for a minute and self-reflected.

So if you’re reading this and going “Omg, same!” to yourself, this one is for you. Pause for a moment and remind yourself that you’re in 2021.

1. We’re living through a pandemic

It’s not a normal year and the previous one wasn’t either. We’re in a pandemic, dealing and living in a situation we have zero experience or knowledge about, uncertainty about several things is at an all-time high, and you’re questioning yourself about why you’re not giving your best? Sigh! You may be super creative, a pro multitasker and trained at working efficiently under crises or crises, but get this, the external situation in the world can leave a negative impact on your mind. In such times, it’s only normal to not be able to be your best self. Even just meeting your deadlines, completing all your work and ensuring that everything is going smoothly is more than enough.

2. Drastic changes in lifestyle

Most of us who aren’t front line or essential workers have been working from home since the start of the pandemic and while that may have felt good for some time, in the beginning, it’s not an ideal or sustainable working situation. It’s possible that you may produce your best work when you’re surrounded by your colleagues in a proper working space. Some people need to be out and about, meet new people and go to new places to be able to be highly motivated and creative. But we’re all stuck at home, we’re working in the same space we go to sleep in, our lives have gotten highly monotonous and most of the times, we’re only consuming negative news; how is your brain supposed to process all of this and still churn out the absolute best?

3. We have added responsibilities

BC (before Covid), we didn’t do half as much work as we’re doing today. We had some form of external help with our house chores. But all of a sudden, we not only had a change of workspace but also added responsibilities at home. So if you’re unable to think of the best piece of content for Father’s Day or Pride Month while you’re sweeping and attending a virtual meeting with your audio and video off, listen to me and please cut yourself some slack. Remind yourself that you’re not superhuman.

4. Constant consumption of negative news

Do I even need to elaborate on this point? You’re reading up about the number of deaths in the country on a daily, how the situation is worsening, how the lockdowns are extending along with various other negative news, do you think this kind of news consumption is not going to have an adverse effect on you? There is a reason why you see a sudden increase in mental health problems where people are really suffering from depression, anxiety and more. If on top of this you give yourself a hard time about how you’re not doing more than what you already are, I think you’re carving a path for yourself where your mental health is going to do go down the drain.

How to stop feeling bad about this?

Considering how glorified ‘hustle culture’ is, understanding that it’s necessary you don’t beat yourself up about not being your best self can get hard. But it’s not impossible.

  1. Realise that our professional and personal lives are blurred at the moment so it’s possible that we’re mentally exhausted dealing with so many things but are just not aware of this exhaustion.
  2. Understand that this kind of toxic behaviour will lead to serious mental health issues.
  3. Remind yourself that you’re only human, that everyone’s threshold is different and we’re all processing and living through the current situation differently.
  4. Giving yourself adequate breaks, recognising your tiny achievements and being able to make it through yet another day of this dreadful year is victorious.
  5. Don’t challenge yourself unnecessarily or set high standards and then feel miserable when you’re not able to achieve those. Be mindful of yourself and most importantly, be kind to yourself.
  6. Lastly, appreciate your brain and body for every little thing that it’s doing to keep you going!

On that note, I hope you stop feeling bad about this if you are and focus more on the fact that you’re doing whatever you are to the best of your ability considering the situation.

And on a side note, don’t forget to join Girl Tribe by MissMalini to be a part of more meaningful conversations like these!

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