Marking a year since the pandemic began

Madeline Bruce, Features Editor

Something that has been weighing heavily on my mind lately is the fact that we are a year into the COVID-19 pandemic.
The thought hit me in the strangest way last week when I was at work. Last March, at the beginning of the pandemic when everyone was washing their hands around the clock, we bought a giant bottle of lotion for the staff to use to remedy the dry skin that resulted. After washing my hands during my shift, I went to use the lotion, and I realized that we’ve had it sitting in the back for a year.
I instantly felt the urge to throw up, because the thought that we have been at this for a year terrifies me. The logical part of me knows this makes sense, because pandemics historically last one to two years, but the emotional part of me started thinking about how different things were exactly one year ago. One thing in particular that I’ve realized is a change in narrative from myself and my generation as a whole on the topic of rest.
Before the pandemic, it seemed as though productivity and rest were mutually exclusive. Personally, I lived by the motto “Sleep when you’re dead” from the great Paris Geller in “Gilmore Girls.”
If you were resting, you weren’t being productive. Maybe it’s a result of the capitalistic society we live in that prioritizes work and turning out as much product and work as possible, above everything else. The pandemic forced everything to slow down, which in turn reduced the fast-paced nature of society.
For the months when the population as a whole hunkered down in their homes, people couldn’t help but rest. They weren’t in the same work environment that they always were. For most people, working from home created a more relaxed environment with less pressure to turn around as much work as was previously required.
When we started to come out of the initial stage of the pandemic and people slowly returned to in-person work and school, a newfound definition of productivity was found. At least, this was the case for me and many of my friends.
Before the pandemic, my life was very busy and fast-paced. I rarely ever rested, and I rarely prioritized sleep or doing things that make me content in life. I went from classes to meetings to jobs, all while doing homework and turning around articles for the paper. Being at home so much during the beginning of the pandemic made me focus on the little things that make me happy – like spending time making my morning coffee or sitting down at my desk to journal.
Now, I know that rest is part of productivity. If I don’t get enough sleep or take time to slow down and care for myself, I can’t perform to the best of my ability in school, on the paper or at my jobs. And not only have I noticed this realization in myself, but I’ve noticed it in my generation as a whole. I see more posts on social media like TikTok or Instagram highlighting rest and emphasizing the importance of stepping away from work to care for yourself.
The pandemic has made me realize that I love all of the things I do, but it also made me realize that I need to take a step back from those things in order to do them to the best of my ability. Rest is just as important as – if not more important than – all of the work you are doing. So take a step back, drink some water, eat a healthy meal and get a good amount of sleep. The work will still be there when you wake up.



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