What does it mean to be productive? Is it a hectic day at work or maybe it’s charging around town doing errands?
What makes you go to bed at the end of the day feeling like you’ve been productive?
I bet none of those things included self-care. Checking in with yourself, making sure you’ve drank enough water, or making the time to do a face mask.
Let me guess? You stay up past midnight, squinting your tired eyes at the blue light of your screen. You drank twice the amount of coffee so that you can stay awake. You work through the pounding headache and aching back. Your heart beats in an anxiety riddled chest, as the stress takes a tighter grip on your mind. But at least you were productive, right?
This is the problem with society’s idea of living a “productive” life. We have it drilled into us that if you are not filling your day with tasks and don’t fall into bed exhausted every night, then it’s wasted. Self care has fallen to the bottom of everyone’s to-do list.
Society is burning itself out daily, sacrificing the bare necessities. Everyone is in constant competition over who’s more stressed, who’s functioning off the least amount of sleep. Always ignoring the nagging pleas of our bodies asking us to slow down.
It took me a while to see this. I didn’t feel like my day was worth anything unless I was completely fried and could do nothing but fall into bed, catching whatever broken sleep I could before doing it all over again. But you can only go so long living this way before completely burning out.
What we need to realise, is that productivity can be achieved by anyone if we changed how we define it. Now, I’m not suggesting quitting your job, pack up all your belongings and go backpacking in the jungle. You don’t have to make huge changes in your life. But try starting with the little things in your daily routine. Maybe for you it could be meditating, an early nights sleep, or finding time to have lunch that isn’t a pathetic ham sandwich that you take a bit of between emails.
Taking care of yourself is not being lazy. For many people, it’s harder to stop and start taking care themselves.
Don’t live your life in competition with a faceless idea of productivity and success. Start putting “taking care of myself” at the top of your to-do list. Be kind to yourself, you deserve it.