Langley retiree Len Hall was staying at home, using the time to get caught up on his ‘honey do’ list. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Langley retiree Len Hall was staying at home, using the time to get caught up on his ‘honey do’ list. (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)

Ryan’s Regards: Cut yourself some slack

The pressure of using our free time to the fullest extent is adding to the stress of COVID-19

Okay, so you’re stuck at home.

Maybe you’re work hours have been drastically cut back? Or worse yet, they’ve been taken away completely.

You can’t go shopping just for the fun of it, nor can you head to the theatre to catch a flick.

Sports teams, both professional and recreational are on a break.

Gas is cheap, but there’s nowhere to go.

For some, balancing a job, raising children, and keeping a household afloat have all co-mingled together in one location – those are the people that are begging for a spare second alone to breath.

But for lots of us, we’ve found there’s a whole lot of extra time on our hands – a “luxury” many may never have enjoyed before.

There are one million and one ways to keep yourself occupied; you can bake exquisite sour dough bread and extravagant meals – thought to be fit for only kings and queens – that take the whole day to prepare.

You can renovate the whole household and finally tackle the never ending list of chores, from rifling through the pantry to eliminating the squeak from all your doors.

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You can get artistic and paint a picture or write the great Canadian novel that burns within you.

Maybe learn a new language? Volunteer remotely? Start a blog? Direct viral videos? Build furniture? Learn fancy dance moves? Get fit? Get healthy? Get everything done!

Exhausted yet? But, how can that be? I thought you had all the time in the world on your hands thanks to the virus who’s name we’re all sick and tired of hearing about in the news.

Based on every Facebook post I see, story I cover, or “motivational” article that pops up online – it would seem we are supposed to come out of this pandemic multi-lingual with a toned body, refurbished house, cooking skills that would make Gordon Ramsey jealous, and enough volunteer effort to have developed a COVID cure.

Anything less makes me think I’ve failed at the pandemic… if that even is such a thing.

Maybe it’s just me, but I am feeling the pressure to use social isolation and all this spare time to finally move the mountains I never had had a spare second for before.

Self improvement is a great thing as is being able to indulge in hobbies and do something positive for your community.

But in the same vein of bingeing on far too much coronavirus news that overwhelms through an excess of doom and gloom, I think an overdose of social media and blogs can make us feel we’re not doing enough – that were wasting our free time and should feel guilty if we’re not rushing out to become essential workers and enroll in online classes to snap up a full degree.

Perhaps consider giving Netflix a rest after the seventh hour or so, but I say, don’t sweat it if you feel you are not filling your new found free time in the most constructive of ways.

It’s a difficult, stressful time to begin with – so lets all cut ourselves some slack and use any “free” time we do get in whatever way we choose to move forward and get through the day.


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