It’s quarantine 2020. First week of quarantine we were all in a panic, thinking the world was over and then slowly realizing that the world was still going on. After the initial panic and realizing that life is still going on, you stood to face what you believed to be the remnants of your life.
You were going to keep to your same routine, just in the confines of your own house. “I can do this,” you begrudgingly thought to yourself. It’s not like you were able to do anything else anyway. Although all social interaction was virtual, school was still happening, you still had to eat, sleep, and take care of your basic necessities.
If you are a perfectionist like me, you probably thought you will make yourself a schedule and stick to it. Nourish and hydrate yourself properly, finish all coursework and readings on time, exercise at least three times a week, shower regularly, keep up with your friends via FaceTime, and hey, maybe even pick up the hobby that you have been meaning to learn but pushing off! It’s going to be great. Making lemonade out of life’s lemons like a champ.
But reality sets in. If you’re like me, your schedule revolves around the people who you live with. Your housemates are not college students, they go to sleep at 2 am and wake up at noon.You may also have to contend with your family members and extra family responsibilities. You frantically wake up to attend classes after another late night, groggy and half asleep. You and your housemates are driving each other crazy and you yearn for those days that you were around other people (people that are not your housemates, of course).
Your sleep schedule is completely crazy and you are beginning to feel down. You are not being productive, you are not exercising, you’re afraid you’ll fail your courses this quarter, you’re taking care of family members who are sick, and nothing feels predictable.
Your social media is being flooded with ways to be productive during quarantine and slogans that if you don’t do all those things that you never had time for you are lazy and ill committed. You’re searching the news daily to see if there are updates on the virus, you feel tense and anxious. What will happen, when will this end? Why can’t I be productive? Why can’t I just live my life but socially distanced? I need that 4.0 GPA, I have to remain attractive, I have to continue pursuing all my goals, especially since I’m home all day!
But here’s the thing. Your expectations are too high. Quarantine is NOT vacation. We are in stressful times right now. It is normal to be anxious and not be your regular productive self. Times are different right now; your home environment is definitely different than your normal school environment, you have distractions, you’re not in your normal routine, we’re lacking the normal social interaction we need as humans and there’s the fear of death in the air.
I’m here to tell you to take a break from your expectations. Breathe. Don’t beat yourself up for not doing all the things you had planned during this time. It’s okay if right now all you are doing is surviving. It’s ok if your previous priorities are unattended to right now. Step away from expectations and try to embrace what is your reality. Be gentle with yourself. We are all in this together.