In 2020, Surviving Is Enough of An Accomplishment

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You’re the type of person who loves the feeling of checking off accomplishments on to-do lists. You love mapping out your life goals and feel a rush of joy when you finally achieve the life milestones you’ve worked towards for years.

If you’re the type of person obsessed with making and following a plan, 2020 has been your personal nightmare.

Nothing in 2020 has gone according to plan. Weddings got canceled, big events got postponed, people started working remotely: COVID-19 completely upended the way the world functions.

As a result, you may have sidelined more than one of your goals or given up on them completely.

And that’s okay.

The American work culture is very accomplishment driven, valuing exceptionalism, personal growth, and climbing the corporate ladder. This sense of perfectionism can follow us home, and many people are guilty of working after hours or treating their personal lives like just another to-do list.

At the beginning of quarantine, a popular meme circulated on Facebook saying that if you didn’t take the free time during lockdown to develop a new skill or side hustle, you’ve just wasted time, since you no longer have any excuses in your way.

This sense of overzealous productivity is toxic and diminishes the validity of the trauma induced by living through a pandemic. People need to practice self-care more than ever before to reduce the extra anxiety they live with every day as they worry about their health, their future, and their loved ones.

A lot of companies have taken stances on the issue of people pushing through sickness in order to come to work. Instead of being seen as a sign of strength, corporate is trying to emphasize the value of self-care and the preservation of your coworkers’ health. Coming into work with a head cold is no longer a sign of dedication; it’s a hazard.

Hopefully, after this pandemic ends, we take to heart the message that avoiding self-care isn’t heroic, but active self-destruction.

If all you did in 2020 was make it through the year with your health, you’ve already accomplished what you needed to do. This year completely altered the paths and timelines people set for their future goals.

Coming to terms with the fact that it’s okay to press pause and just breathe will give you a fighting chance at staying healthy, sane, and ready to keep moving forward when the dust settles and the world can return to whatever the new normal looks like.

2021 starts on Friday, and we couldn’t be more ready for it. Here’s a new year, and a new normal.

Sarah Margaret Henry
Published in Featured Articles, Life

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