I went on a long (masked) walk today. As I walked around I was reminded that many folks fear they aren’t “doing enough.” So many healthcare workers (and quite frankly many of us) feel guilt if we are sick, if we aren’t on the front lines, if we have to stay home with kids or if you are too high risk to leave the house. I totally get it. I also struggled with those feelings when I first developed a cough (that sent me home for 2 weeks) and my co-workers were in the thick of it. But as I stayed home wondering if I had Covid-19, I realized my worth and value were not defined by my productivity, or my profession. READ THAT AGAIN. Your value doesn’t decrease if you aren’t on the front lines. You honor yourself and your community when you stay at home, when you don’t go back to work until you are recovered, and when you take care of yourself.
We live in a capitalistic society, so it makes loads of sense for you (and I) to feel inadequate if our productivity looks different these days. So guess what? We get to learn and practice a new thing. We get to learn and practice to value ourselves, regardless of our profession or our likes on Facebook/Instagram, our productivity, or how well we are handling this homeschooling thing.
This time is particularly tricky for us doers. When your identity is your career or how much you can check off your to-do list in a day, you may start to believe you aren’t “doing” enough because you aren’t being “productive” in the ways you are used to. So for those of you who are particularly struggling with this, I want you to try a new approach. When those feelings arise, notice them, and remind yourself “I am doing my part the best way I can right now.” If that means napping from exhaustion, you are doing your part. If that means attempting to learn the on-line schooling system for your kids and managing multiple meltdowns, you are doing your part. If that means working on the front lines, you are doing your part. If that means staying at home, you are doing your part.
So if anyone hasn’t gotten around to telling you today, thank you for doing your part.
Take care of YOU.