Every single person is going to be impacted by the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, and most of us have already drastically adjusted our daily routines to try to limit the spread of the illness and keep ourselves and others protected.
Emotional peaks and troughs are going to become the norm for everyone as the crisis develops, and we are in it for the long haul.
What we don’t need right now is the additional pressure of using this time to start a successful side-hustle.
One of the first tweets I saw when social distancing first kicked off, was a thread detailing how to use this time efficiently to make money on the side. Essentially, how to monetise this pandemic.
‘If you’re quarantined at home, instead of Netflix and chilling, perhaps use the time to start a side hustle earning income online,’ said the tweet.
Reading this, I felt a lightning bolt of panic. With weeks of working from home and potential isolation looming, how am I going to use this time to be productive? What can I achieve? How can I make myself more successful?
If you’re self-isolating and not sick, you will most likely be working from home, so you shouldn’t be expected to try to fit in more work on top of that. If you’re self-isolating because you’re sick, then you need to be resting, not starting a business from your bed.
The kind of ‘we move’ mindset that pushes constant achievement above all else is just not feasible, sustainable or helpful during an unprecedented global crisis.
Given that we are already overwhelmed with real, tangible worries, concerns and fears, we really need to step away from this damaging idea that every second of our lives has to be productive, or else it is worthless. But unlearning this mantra of capitalism that underpins how our entire society works, isn’t an easy ask.
What this crisis has already highlighted is what is important, and what is really not. The important things are connecting with loved ones, keeping yourself safe, calm and protected, and ensuring the people around you have everything they need.
Things that felt important, even as recently as last week – like being productive, busy and ticking things off your list of achievements – no longer have the same significance.
We’re also about to find out the real meaning of self-care.
Bubble baths and sheet masks might not cut it at a time like this. Self-care in a crisis will be more about checking in with your own mental health, taking breaks from the news, staying active, connecting with people and being kind to yourself. It will also be about relinquishing the pressure to achieve.
Encouraging people to use self-isolation as an opportunity to work even harder is an additional burden that none of need right now. Not only could it contribute to our growing levels of crisis anxiety, but think about the people who are already struggling to make ends meet – is now really the time to take up space in a new industry when existing businesses are already in a precarious position?
Of course, if you are self-employed and worried about how you will make money during this period, it is completely legitimate to think about different revenue avenues at this time. But people in secure, full-time work don’t need the extra pressure of launching a side-hustle if it isn’t a necessity.
Maybe one lesson we should learn from this global pandemic is that doing nothing is OK.
Our desperate need to fill every second with socialising, work, travel and performative achievements, just doesn’t work at a time like this.
The kindest thing you can do for yourself and others right now is give yourself a break. Work through your watch list on Netflix, re-read the entire Harry Potter series, download The Sims.
Do whatever makes you feel calm, safe and staves off the inevitable boredom – but don’t feel like you have to become a CEO during the next 12 weeks.
Capitalism will still be waiting for you when all this blows over. Probably.
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