Can I Breathe, Please?

Hello everyone,

So much has changed between my last post and this one. For one, I and about a million other Nigerians have been cooped up indoors for about a month because of the Coronavirus pandemic.

I’ll admit that it honestly hasn’t been easy.

From having to mute WhatsApp statuses because – my mental health and sanity are precious and I will not expose myself to misogynistic and fake ‘motivational’ speakers. Especially in times like these.

One other thing I have also noticed is the rise in Microsoft Teams meetings and Instagram Live sessions on topics along this line –

“Developing A New Skill Amidst A Global Pandemic”

“Earning A Six-Figure Income In the Face of Economic Meltdown”

“Being Productive From Home – The New Normal”

It’s like there’s some unspoken contest about who can appear the most ‘productive’ to an audience of people who just want peace of mind.

Someone somewhere has decided to open up this big hole of unwanted productivity, and unsolicited motivational advice and is trying to pressure us all into falling into it. If you don’t measure up, you’re thought to be lazy and not making the most use of the break.

You know the crazy part?

Even though I sound like I am pro-lounging (which I will always be), I have found myself falling down this rabbit hole a couple of times.

People around me are planning their lives, hosting IG live sessions, learning to cook new meals, releasing songs, and basically just doing other productive stuff.

Then, there’s me by the corner trying to get some rest after struggling with finding the perfect spot for my 9am-4pm meetings on Microsoft Teams (at a time, I had to put my MIFI inside a plate in the kitchen cabinet). After these meetings, I am mentally exhausted and I honestly just want to binge-watch shows on Netflix, listen to podcasts, and sleep.

However, someone on the outside will look at me and shake their head at how I’m not doing the most. Or how cooking is the last thing on my mind. Or how I’m not joining any Zoom meeting that a link is sent.

I REALLY JUST WANT TO SALVAGE THE REST OF MY WEEKDAYS AND ENJOY MY WEEKENDS. CAN I BREATHE, PLEASE?

I’ve noticed that Nigerians do not understand the concept of mental exhaustion. If you’re not learning a new skill or carrying unnecessary things on your head, you’re lazy.

Thinking of how every day just blurs into the next day is enough to strain people’s minds already.

Yesterday, I had to stop myself when I started thinking about how I had not successfully seen any of the IG live streams through, completed my online courses, or how I left a meeting on Microsoft Teams because my brain couldn’t comprehend what the speaker was saying.

I had to remind myself that I had had online meetings for four weeks despite Nigeria’s internet problem. How I had been working (still over the internet) with an amazing group of people on a ‘top secret’ class project. Handling a side hustle. Reading for tests that could hold anytime and a couple of other mentally tasking projects.

I know I’m not the only one who has felt this way and I’m grateful that others are beginning to realize that doing the most isn’t always what being productive is about.

If you’re one of the guilt trippers, please, allow people to breathe and have peace of mind. Sometimes, all we want is a quiet house, no forced human interaction, and for you to stop sending links to Zoom meetings.

Current Favorite πŸ“¦

The Platform (A Netflix Movie) πŸ“Ί

With love,

Ihuoma

18 Comments

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  1. Thanks for saying it just how it needs to be said ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dam Dam Adeyanju April 29, 2020 — 10:07 pm

    It’s great to know I’m not the only one feeling this way. There’s so much pressure to be extra productive when you go online and you see ads for all the numerous webinars. Read this and I no longer feel guilty for binge watching Netflix. Great write-up! Clap! Clap! Clap!!

    Like

  3. Thanks for this piece.

    By the many activities, I think you’ve had quite an active lockdown season.
    Jisie ike.

    As we can’t make the mind quiet… Peace FROM Mind (in Naval’s words), is where my tent is now pitched.

    Like

  4. Thanks for sharing this, I have noticed similar πŸ€” I will take your advice though to just breathe.

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  5. This is so beautiful. Lovely piece

    Like

  6. Interesting read! Sometimes rest is really all that is needed really. And honestly the world may never stop for us to be able to rest like this again in our life time. Just like you, I definitely agree on the importance of blocking out negativity to preserve ones mental health particularly at a time like this when its already being threatened by the brewing uncertainty that lies ahead of all this. Continue to keep your head up and most importantly do what’s best for you!❀

    Like

    • Protecting your mental health should be at the top of your priority list ESPECIALLY in times like this.

      Just like you said, the world may never stop for us to rest like this again in our lifetime. So, we need to savour this moment and live life without setting unrealistic standards for ourselves.

      Thank you so much for reading Onyi ❀️

      Like

  7. πŸ‘πŸ‘ Really nice piece. I have also had my fair share of similar moments. Dealing with guilt of allowing weeks go by, and not sticking to the plans we made at the start of the year. But we really need to just BREATHE. I have recently allowed myself to understand that these are not normal times, and activities can’t just go as planned. There is enough to exhaust us mentally, just thinking about what tommorow holds, and how we plan to survive each coming day. Now we just try to keep our gratitude for life and health first before anything.

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  8. I love this. We need to breath please all dem stereotypes is not for us.

    Like

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