Press Pause | A BR student-led initiative on Pandemic Productivity
By Maliya Coronado, Hana Rehman and Alliyah Barte
Banana bread, binge-watching T.V shows on Netflix, and the song “Say So” by Doja Cat have all become synonymous with quarantine and the pandemic. Thrust into a world of masks, Zoom calls, and uncertainty, the world seems to finally have slowed down, leaving schedules open and the opportunity for more downtime. However, the societal pressure to remain productive, amidst this stand-still, continues to persist. Individuals feel obligated to excel academically or occupationally during this period of time and if they do not, then they are “not doing enough”. This stigmatizing societal pressure can be detrimental to one’s mental health, as it provokes feelings of guilt, shame, and shame in an individual. It can also make them feel as if they are “not doing enough”, leading to negative self-talk and lowered self-esteem. The initiative, “Press Pause”, was created by grade 12 students at BR to raise awareness about the issue of “pandemic productivity”, ensuring that we can cultivate a safe place for all individuals to express their pandemic-related stresses and worries.
The goal of this initiative is to educate people about this rising issue and make them aware that they are not alone. Moreover, our goal is to also raise awareness about different coping mechanisms, helping to combat the societal pressures that are inextricably linked to this issue. Remembering that one person’s version of “productivity” may not align with your own is one thing that can help to alleviate the stresses associated with the pandemic. Each individual deals with trauma differently. Some may throw themselves into their work, whereas others may opt for smaller activities that may distract them from these worries, such as binge-watching the entire Twilight movie series on Netflix. The one takeaway is that each individual’s way of coping with these unprecedented times is completely valid. Moreover, we must also remember to reflect on how we are feeling and to check in with those around us. Bottling in emotions will only have a detrimental effect in the long run. If you are unable to finish a task now, do not stress, take a break and come back to it later. Reach out to those around you and do not be afraid to talk about how you are feeling and the struggles that you are facing. Cry about them, laugh about them, whatever lifts that weight from your chest. Finally, choose activities that you are truly passionate about and that provide you with joy. Freeing yourself from stressful work and obligations, fostering this happiness, is another way of overcoming the need for “pandemic productivity."
If you are interested in learning more about this topic, do not hesitate to DM us on Instagram @presspause.co! Remember, take a deep breath, drink some tea (or water) and do something that makes you happy. You are trying your best and that is enough. You’ve got this.