On the Idea(l) of Self-Improvement during a World-Wide Lock-Down

Madonna was definitely stuck in self-quarantine when she wrote the lyrics to ‘Hung up’ – do you remember that song, or am I too old/you too young?

In case you had forgotten, today is Monday. Monday the 6th of April. Is it someone’s birthday today? Remember, you can’t use the excuse of “Oh sorry, I was so busy on the day I didn’t have time to congratulate you!” when you are reminded by a mutual friend three days late, this year.

This is main message A that’s been all over the internet lately. Main message B is “you needn’t be very productive right now, it’s totally ok!” – So I’m confused.

I don’t think I’m the only one who’s heard this repeated multiple times a day during the last three weeks, but one piece of advice that keeps popping up is “why don’t you use this time to improve yourself?” – as in, find a new (essential) life-skill you didn’t have before and get miraculously good at it! Or find a new hobby and research all its tricks, nooks, crannies, to come out of this lock-down ready to take the spotlight in just that something. Or, and this is both my most and least favourite: maybe there’s some tendency or habit within your own personality you weren’t quite comfortable with, and isn’t now the perfect time to get in some precious self-rebuilding time?

If you’re anything like me (for your sake, I hope you are not), you, too, are a bit confused right now. On the one hand, I completely agree – right now is the perfect, ideal time to do some introspection, figure out what you like to do, what you (would) like to have, and who you (would) like to be as a person. At the same time however, right now is also the time where everything is so uncertain, confusing, and just plain weird, that the theory of staying organised, planning, and taking care of your mind and body until you can come out of this cocoon called self-isolation as a beautiful butterfly – Well, it’s overwhelming. Like everything right now.

I sleep 8h a night, I am still tired. And hungry. Next post should be a cake recipe.

Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones, who see that yes, this situation is uncertain, and frustrating, and downright scary – but it can also be relaxing, and a moment of self-growth, and a time to find not only your passions, interests, and what you want to do with the time that is given to you, but also who you want to be as a person when all this is over. I think if nothing else, that is what is most important for yourself: We are all in the same boat here. We’re all getting frustrated with the uncertainties, we’re all getting a bit listless, exercise routines have slowed down. We’re settling into sedentary lifestyles because it’ll keep us safe, but it won’t help us stay sane.

Step by step, day by day, we got this. We can totally make it through this, and when we come out of this, we’ll be standing firmer in our shoes than before!

So maybe there’s something to it. Maybe right now is a good idea to figure out where you want to be, what you want to do, and who you want to be a year from now. And once you’ve got that outlined, how can you get there?

I cannot however stress one thing enough: this can be an incredibly overwhelming time. And while you may feel like you are alone, and this is too much to handle, and it’s too tough right now; if the negative thoughts are spiralling and you feel out of control, I want you to remember you are not alone. There’s loads of lovely people who want to help you, who can help you, if you give them a chance to. Please reach out if you feel overwhelmed by it all, there’s absolutely no reason not to, and you need to remember that this is a very hard time right now, so asking for help is the norm, not the exception.

Published by thepangaeablog

We're the staff of Pangaea, the Intercultural Meeting Centre of the KU Leuven in Leuven, Belgium! Welcome to our blog where we aim to inform you of all we are doing, have planned, and keep you connected with what has happened lately!

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