March 13, 2021
“P” is for Pandemic and Productivity
Although my workday doesn’t technically start until 9 a.m., my mind is already awake and racing by at least 7:30 with thoughts like – What day is it? How many meetings do I have today? Do I have time to walk the dog in between one meeting and the next? How much can I actually get done today and will that be enough?
I have anxiety and an unhealthy relationship with productivity. We’re rooted in a “hustle culture” that not only emphasizes but also rewards high productivity, and it’s easy to attach your value to how much work you’re able to accomplish during the day. For me, when I don’t feel like I’ve done enough work, I often feel incredibly anxious and detached from a sense of fulfillment or satisfaction.
This behavior has gotten especially problematic during the ongoing pandemic – a time when we’re all trying to be and do everything in a chaotic and uncertain world. With the pandemic now passing its one-year anniversary, many of us are still asking: how are we supposed to hold it all – and ourselves – together?
Bringing Awareness to Your Purpose and Values
When was the last time you really thought about what drives you and gives you passion – your purpose and values? Amid our busy schedules of work, parenting, homeschooling, and all of the other responsibilities and roles we’re all currently juggling, it’s easy to lose sight of what really matters the most.
Identifying what your purpose and values are, apart from the expectations of society or your job, is a challenging but important exercise. For me, my purpose is maintaining personal serenity and being kind to others. This is what gives me fulfillment, so rather than starting my day by diving into my work calendar, I’ve found that grounding myself and bringing my awareness inward has become the most important part of steering me toward that purpose each day.
How Can Mindfulness Reconnect Us to Our Purpose and Values?
The connection between managing Anxiety and rediscovering values-based action is huge. When we worry about the future instead of living in the present, it can hold us back from achieving our personal and professional goals. And that feeling of being stuck, unable to move forward, can cause our mental health to plummet.
Participating in a focused mindfulness program such as Skills to Thrive in Anxious Times can create the starting point you need to revisit these core motivators. Through guided sessions with expert mindfulness teachers and your own daily mindfulness practice, it’s possible to not only rediscover what moves and drives you, but you can also learn the skills you need to put your values into action.
Directing my attention to my core values rather than my daily To Do list is a work in progress, and like any new healthy habit, it takes practice. But in this Next Normal, New Normal, or whatever we’ve decided to call it now, we can keep ourselves moving forward, and we can end each day feeling fulfilled. One day at a time.
Written by Becky Greiner