By Kayla Turbyfill, Career Ambassador & Intern, Career & Professional Development Center
In the age of COVID and all this year has wrought, it has been hard to remember that it is okay that “productivity” looks different right now. Everything looks different right now, from going to the store, to school, work, internships, and to relationships. So much is unknown and foreign day-to-day that it can be crippling. However, heavy choices still need to be made, such as choices about where to spend our time and energy, what work and school loads we take on, and what is sustainable and healthy for us right now. These are hard decisions, and I have found they come with a lot of frustration and grief for the things I used to do, negative self-talk, and loss of sleep and motivation. All of these factors can inhibit productivity even further, so it becomes a vicious cycle of choice, loss, frustration, and blows to your life, spirit, and mind. One of the most frustrating realizations about the pandemic for me is that nothing stopped. Not a day seemed to slow due to the global and national turmoil we have experienced, and yet, I need to slow my own pace –and that is okay. We all deserve time to heal and grow, and even yell.
Through this cycle, it becomes hard to show up as our entire selves, like we may have used to. We are challenged to show up differently, whether that be with more vulnerability –on levels we may not have been comfortable with before –or caged, even surrounded with people you used to be open with before. For me, it has been an odd mixture of both. I have been forced to come to terms with my own trials this year and how to tell people that yeah, I am struggling right now, and I need extra support. It took so long to recognize that I don’t have to go through all of this alone. On the other hand, I have exercised the freedom to let some people go through these experiences and learned that I don’t have to open up to everyone. In fact, I don’t even have to be vulnerable with some of the people I used to turn to. I have found new ways to cope and others to rely on. Through it all, though, I have had a single goal in mind: to be gracious with myself as I learn and grow.
Giving yourself some grace can look like a lot of different things. It can look like taking a nap instead of doing an assignment. Talking to a stranger about what you are going through because they are easier to confide in. Letting your boss or professors know you need an extension or less work to continue to put forth your best while you sift through everything else. It could look like wrapping yourself in a blanket and watching the day pass as you sit quietly with yourself. All of these things could help you be gracious and kind to yourself and find paths that allow you to move through these trials. Taking the time to let yourself feel, embrace, grieve, process, and heal. Allowing yourself to just be. Because you are worth it.
Please know that you are not alone. For additional support navigating these challenging times, please reach out to the University Counseling Center for support: https://counselingcenter.utah.edu/.