It’s been more than a year since this pandemic had started which greatly changed our entire lives. Many had suffered and many are still suffering not only because of COVID-19 itself but also because of its adverse effects on our lives, particularly in our mental health.
As someone who works as a part-time online mental health counselor, I have observed the rise of individuals who seek professional help to address their mental health concerns. Some of their mental health concerns has something to do with the pressure and stress they feel within themselves which stem from the thought that they want to be distracted – they keep themselves busy in order to make a living and to avoid some negative thoughts brought by this pandemic.
All of us are affected and are struggling, but we also want to live and to survive – we keep ourselves busy at work or with modules at school while hoping and waiting for an immediate solution to our current situation. But sometimes we tend to put pressure to ourselves to “do more” which may cause negative effects on our mental health.
When was the last time you did nothing?
Most of us might say that “doing nothing” in this time and situation is like a crime because people are expected to “do more” or to do something productive. However, we must learn when to stop and breathe or we might lose our sense of self by keeping ourselves busy at all times.
Where is it coming from?
Our society might also play a role in shaping our attitude towards this – people think that doing nothing equates to being lazy or “tamad.”
Aside from the fact that we don’t want to be labeled as “tamad,” we are also blinded by the thought that being busy equates to high working values and ethics.
An unemployed fresh college graduate, for example, might feel pressured to find a job right after their graduation because they fear the judgment they might receive from society – hence, they become pressured in finding something productive to do.
So, is keeping yourself busy wrong?
Well, the answer lies depending on how you define being busy. But always keep in mind that being occupied does not equate to being productive. Also, it’s all about time management and a healthy work-life balance. If you are already stressed with what is happening to you now, keeping yourself busy might be a form of avoidance which in turn might cause bigger problems. Being productive is totally fine especially if you want to better for yourself. The problem is when we put too much pressure to ourselves to the point that we lose our sense of self.
It’s also healthy to do nothing sometimes. Try to relax and do NOTHING! Yes, as in NOTHING! So do not sit down and watch some heavy drama shows or read negative social media posts or stalk your ex’s profile. Just do nothing and breathe (but please don’t leave me yet, at least finish this column first 😊) – It’s more of giving yourself a quick meditation, just breath and thinks that you are giving yourself a favor. We must learn when to stop and recharge. Giving yourself a break is also being productive, as you regain your energy by resting, in order to do better when you start to work actively again.
By the way, “doing nothing” here does not equate to procrastination or being lazy. Also, doing too much of anything does not mean it will do you good all the time, so learn to stop when it is needed.