COMMENT:

I woke up this morning and did the things I always do: meditated for 30 minutes and wrote in my gratitude journal.

Just kidding, I did none of that.

I reached for my phone and checked my email. There it was, a pitch from a PR company wondering if I wanted to help spread the word about which at-home workouts burn the most calories.

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Can we just not?

Calorie counting is often a symptom of an anxiety-related eating disorder. The last thing anxious people need right now is for others to be feeding that anxiety.

And even if you don't count calories out of anxiety, your weight should be absolute bottom of your list of things to care about right now. Your health and your safety are your top priority (and calorie counting contributes sweet bugger all to those).

Everywhere you look, someone somewhere has an idea for how you can make this lockdown time productive, people suggesting it's the perfect time to start that side hustle so, when the lockdown lifts, you're ready to "smash it", "nail it", "crush it".

It stems from our society's obsession with being our "best self".

Goop queen Gwyneth Paltrow told Instagram followers they should write a book or learn an instrument or a new language. On behalf of the people stuck in your bubble right now, may I suggest now is definitely not the time to be learning a new instrument?

In fact, now is not the time to put any expectations or pressure on yourself.

Daily naps are just as good a way as any of spending time in lockdown. Photo / 123rf
Daily naps are just as good a way as any of spending time in lockdown. Photo / 123rf

This is a global pandemic that has brought the world to a halt. None of this is about becoming our "best self". It's about getting out of it healthy, safe and, most importantly, alive.

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So let's get one thing out of the way now: you don't need to be productive during the lockdown. You just need to stay safe.

In fact, you don't need to do any of the things social media is telling you to do to.

Facebook is a never-ending stream of homeschooling tips and activity suggestions for you to do with your children.

The people doing those are dealing with things their own way and that's fine - but you've got to remember you don't have to deal with it the same way and you're not failing because of that.

You don't have to worry about homeschooling your children.

You don't even have to worry about doing crafty activities with them. It's okay if they watch way too much TV.

If you need them to sit in front of Netflix for a few hours so you can keep your job in a pandemic, so be it. If they stay up late because they're high on sugary treats you fed them to keep them happy, that's fine.

You do not need to feel guilty about how you're getting through this.

You don't have to be baking up a storm every day. Or any day.

You don't have to download Duolingo and become fluent in Serbian.

You don't have to learn a new hobby or even master an existing one.

It's okay that your pile of books to read remains untouched because you are anxious and can't focus.

It's fine that you haven't even started on any of the things you thought you were going to do with all this free time.

No one expects you to get out of this pandemic with abs.

You don't need to write a novel. Hell, you don't even need to write a short story.

Do the things that keep your mind and your body healthy to get through this time. If that's yoga, awesome. If that's watching re-runs of The Bachelor, that's fine too.

Exercise and fresh air are important ways to wellbeing but the other important thing is showing ourselves the same kindness we show others. More than ever, we need to cut ourselves some slack.

You don't have to nail it. You don't have to crush it. You don't have to smash it. You just have to get through it.

You don't have to join a plank challenge or a push-up challenge or a yoga challenge or any other kind of challenge.

Surviving a pandemic is enough of a challenge.

And you're absolutely kicking ass at it, whatever you're doing.

Covid19.govt.nz: The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website