Lockdown: are social media showcases of productivity making us feel like failures?

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Lisa Smosarski
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Lisa Smorsaki Editor

Lisa Smosarski, Stylist Editor-in-Chief addresses the false pressures social media is putting on people on during self-isolation. 

Write a book! Work out like you’re training for a marathon! Craft something! Bake anything… self-isolation is just GREAT for personal development.

What do you mean you don’t feel like getting out of bed? You know the rules: get up like it’s a normal Monday, do yoga in the massive garden you probably don’t own, write meaningful letters to your friends, host date night with your partner, make your own clothes, cut your own hair… whatever you do, don’t just sit in front of the telly every night. Host a quiz! Sing a song! Wear a hat! Just DO something.

I for one am exhausted by this sabbatica… sorry, stint of self-isolation, already, and all I’ve done is read about most of this stuff on Instagram. Can it really be true that everyone else is having a jolly old time when all I seem able to do is drag my weary limbs out of bed, work around the clock and make 1,000 different meals for my kids every day? Admittedly, I’ve been dabbling with some Zoom quizzes and birthday drinks at the weekends, but if I’m being completely honest that’s really just a chance for me to make downing a bottle of wine socially acceptable while gazing at some people I love. 

I’m not knocking the positivity – far from it, I thrive on enthusiasm and energy and really need some fun in my life right now. But as a collective – society, media, social media – we have an incredible knack of making lots of people feel a bit like they’re failing at life by somehow not doing it all, and these constant showcases of self-improvement are doing just that. Because, for so many of us, this isn’t much fun. We are scared about our loved ones (and ourselves), nervous about the economy and anxious about a world we don’t recognise – with no control over how to get it back. We may dabble with virtual nights out but that belies the truth for many, where getting out of bed feels like the most victorious thing we’ll do all day. Getting dressed and putting make-up on? That’s the utopian dream.

For many office workers who find themselves at home, finding meaning and purpose can be hard too, especially in a world that has changed beyond recognition. At the other end of the spectrum, for our healthcare and key workers the opposite is true. Too much work. Too much pressure. Too much self-sacrifice. There is no middle ground. 

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Motivating yourself to do anything if you are working harder than ever – or at the opposite end of the spectrum you’ve lost employment or are on furlough – is accomplishment enough. We are navigating tough times, living through a global crisis, and the only measure of success is coming through this as unscathed as possible.

So, keep up the creativity, continue the fun, and we’ll keep doing the same, but let’s share some of the other side too. The nights under a blanket on the sofa watching Bridget Jones for the 18th time, the tears, the wobbles, the reality that many of us don’t know what day it is or which way is up. We can have both gears but let’s work as a team and reassure each other that just getting through this is enough. YOU are enough right now… And writing that book can definitely wait until tomorrow.

Images: Getty Images

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