Once our alarm goes off in the morning, we’re used to getting up and running: on to the next meeting, the next meal, the next workout session. Recently though, we’ve all experienced a sudden slowdown in light of the current global pandemic. And while it has seemingly freed us from our hectic schedules, we’ve started to notice just how much we were held captive to this sense of busyness that gave us the illusion of progress. Circuit breaker measures are now easing in Singapore, but by no means does this mean we will be rushing back into our usual busy routines — nor should we, really.
Being confined to the four walls in our houses has meant that our opportunities to be out there in the real, physical world have been cut drastically. Whether you’re working from home or simply trying to enjoy the self-imposed holiday, we’ve been forced to move at a much slower pace than we’re used to.
For some of us, the accompanying abundance of time and freedom may feel ironically stifling and uncomfortable. This is because we’ve unknowingly wired ourselves to associate productivity and fruitfulness with a false sense of success. What’s worse is that we’ve likely tied these traits to how we feel about ourselves. And now, stripped of our events and meetups – chances to “do” or “achieve” more – our self-worth and identity have been shaken.
Here’s where we need to ask ourselves: are we human beings, or human doings?
Chasing productivity as a measure of our worth merely scratches the surface of our true value as humans. Social media already had us feeling like we weren’t doing enough when we saw fellow friends and co-workers being “productive”, be it partying on Friday nights or volunteering on the weekends. Now, FOMO looks a little different (think daily baking adventures and at-home zoom workouts), though it remains the same at the core.
We all want to be seen doing something, and in turn, to be validated.
But we shouldn’t need validation for just being. Existing. Living. Breathing. Yes, there may be external pressures when your boss asks for an impossible deadline, or when your concerned parents ask you to look for a job, but more often than not it is our internal expectations that we struggle to live up to. We fall prey to the widely lauded notion of hustling, and turn a blind eye to the fact that we end up slaving instead. The former is great, the latter not so much. When you find yourself drained of motivation going through life’s daily motions, you know it’s time to take a step back, and just sit with yourself to rediscover your why.
This is a season of stillness. Embrace it wholeheartedly as a season of rest. We’ve been presented the opportunity to hang the many hats we wear at the door, literally, and it’s imperative that we do just that, sans any guilt. Stare out the window and daydream for a few seconds longer. Resist the urge to start a new season on Netflix just to keep up with everyone else. Get off your phone or laptop, and pick up a pen or paintbrush instead. What are you thinking about? How are you feeling, emotionally and physically? Are you able to better align your identity, beliefs and actions? Indulge in this time and space you’ve created — not for Instagram, not for work, but for yourself. You deserve it.
- Learning to be still, an article written by Joyce Lim for The #YottoCare Series.
About the writer:
Joyce, a 23-year-old fresh graduate from NUS Communications and New Media, is a fashion and beauty enthusiast as well as a fervent supporter of the arts, especially in music.
The simple quote "Have courage, and be kind" by Cinderella is one she tries to live by as she constantly strives to seize opportunities that open up her eyes, mind and heart to the world. She’d stumbled into writing at one of her many summer internships, and has loved it ever since - she finds it extremely gratifying to be able to connect with her readers through food, arts and lifestyle content. Outside of writing, she loves swimming, yoga, and cooking wholesome meals; she does, however, have a weak spot for granola, yogurt and all things cinnamon. At Yacht 21, she’s excited to explore writing not just about fashion and styling tips, but also about introspective topics that'll enable us to grow and lead more mindful, fulfilling and sustainable lives as a community.
Insta account: @_joycelim