Posted on: Tuesday, November 10th, 2020
Pretending we are productive or posting about our productivity on social media can perpetuate the idea that to be valuable within society, we need to be busy at all times. There can be a perception that having, “busy, chaotic lives should be worn as a badge of honour”. These kinds of ideas can be dangerous since giving all that we have can lead to burnout when we go over our limits. Being productive is not fundamentally wrong, but in excess and when prioritized over one’s own wellbeing, becomes problematic.
Social comparison theory can help explain why we strive for this constant feeling of productivity. The theory can be defined as, “determining our social and personal self-worth based on how we stack up against others we perceive as somehow faring better or worse”. On social media especially, we can get in the habit of comparing how ‘great’ someone else’s life may seem and see others’ accomplishments, reaching of milestones and good news as indicative of who they are and how they are living their lives. Over time, some may feel that they “will never be enough”. Some other effects on one’s mental health may include feeling anxious, hopeless, incompetent, inadequate, and lonely.
Some ways we can deal with this societal pressure to always be busy or productive include: reflecting on what is wrong with this ideal, consider your own values, and set boundaries in your life and allow yourself a break. This can be easier said than done. 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone and we should be kind to ourselves. We do not have to compete for how much we accomplished this year or how productive we have been because what we have already done can simply be enough.
If you are in need of further support, please feel free to book a counselling session at Journey Counselling at 403-619-8558 or are in need of immediate assistance, contact the Distress Centre at 403-266-4357.