Putting pressure on myself to be productive, hitting myself with a door and crying

It’s day 12 of isolation. Day 12 since I started working from home. Day 12 of not meeting friends or family, of guilt-inducing runs, of looking at other human beings as carriers instead of people. But it’s been longer since I started checking the news obsessively, worrying for my friends and family in Madrid, it’s been longer since I started having nightmares and anxiously picking at the skin next to my finger nails.

I am doing great, thank you.

All dark humor aside, I am not doing that bad. Yes, I am anxious and slightly bored. But I still have a job and my loved ones are healthy. And given the circumstances, that’s a lot to be thankful for right there. One thing I have been struggling with is trying to be productive with this quiet time. Every morning (especially on the weekends) I wake up with so many expectations about myself. So many things I want to accomplish in the hours ahead of me.

  • Today I will organise my closet
  • Today I will propagate my plants
  • Today I will clean the kitchen
  • Tidy up the spice cabinet
  • Make chicken broth
  • Do Laundry
  • Today I will write a blog post
  • Draw
  • Make some collages
  • Write the beginning of an award-winning novel
  • Today I will go out for a run (I will go early in the morning, and keep 2m distance with everyone)
  • I will do my daily yoga
  • I will train to be able to do the splits after quarantine
  • Today I will cut my boyfriend’s hair
  • Bake banana bread
  • Bring some banana bread to my neighbours

So the morning goes a bit something like this: I wake up, finish the latest book I have been reading (Today will be different, by Maria Semple, ironically), have breakfast, maybe manage a run or some at home yoga, play silly games on my phone, watch Netflix… and eventually lose the will to do anything else that is productive.

This Sunday, specifically, after reading a couple of heart-breaking articles about the virus, and watching some Disney Plus, I started to think about all the unfinished projects I had planed to do during the day, and about how little I wanted to do them, and how much I just wanted to hide under my duvet and forget about everything I had just read. So I took my laptop and headed to my bedroom, to do said hiding, and then somehow, the door frame hit my laptop, which hit my chin, which hurt so much, it made me cry.

And I continued to cry, for the next… 45 minutes? My chin didn’t hurt anymore, although it was sore to the touch and swollen, but the tears just kept coming.

Was I crying about all the injustice happening in the world right now? about the families who cannot say goodbye to their loved ones before they pass? about the people who die alone in ICU scared and confused? about the thought of an ice-skating rink having to be used to keep corpses, because Madrid simply cannot manage to burry them all at this speed? Or was I crying about my ever so messy closet, that I just couldn’t bring myself to tidy? Or about my dirty kitchen floors, with crumbs that stick to my bare feet?

I guess I was crying about it all. As stupid as that may sound.

I did muster some energy at the end of the day to work on some collages, which you can see throughout this article. And I somehow managed to convince myself that I don’t have to do everything on my quarantine bucket list. That maybe a quarantine bucket list is even more stupid than crying about my messy closet.

I am trying to cut myself some slack. And I hope you can too.