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Do you Experience any of the Following Symptoms?

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We’re grateful for the little things. Warmer days are ahead of us with fewer restrictions in-store and, hopefully, lots of beach days and sun rays. A little Vitamin D can go a long way and – sorry, we’re rhyming again. This month’s article discusses the impact of lockdown fatigue and the influence of ‘hustle culture’, reminding us to focus on the real things that matter. Real talk has never been more important.

“Brighton is full of culture”, Karen continues, “the number of self-made sourdough bakers with slow-fermenting recipes is a good indication of just how much time our husbands have on their hands!”

Social media is awash with glamorised stories of DIY projects, home workouts and endearing family moments that create the allure of life in lockdown being a breeze. Sitting in your tracksuit pants, in yet another Groundhog Day moment, it’s easy to forget that what you’re seeing is virtual reality disguised as real life. It’s more than likely that, like you, the people featured in these stories have bad hair days, lacklustre weekends and ‘lockdown fatigue’. Maybe even a few extra rolls for added padding. After reading this article, we hope that your expectations of yourself are grounded in what matters to you, with ‘hustle culture’ influencing your sense of productivity less. Our creatives also came up with a brief list of things you can do from the comfort of your couch that will build your online presence, without needing to expend much energy or time. These tasks are non-commital and are a constant work in progress, so you can pick back up where you left off without feeling guilty.

The disruption of our daily routine, thanks to COVID-19, has seen people express feelings of lethargy, sluggishness and demotivation despite having more rest and time on their hands. Flagged by healthcare workers as significant risk factors for poor mental and physical wellbeing, these symptoms characterise ‘lockdown fatigue’, a result of sustained social restrictions that have disturbed the equilibrium of work-life balance. Victorians are particularly likely to fit this category with limited social interaction and a 2-hour window of outdoor time per day. Yet, despite growing public awareness of this underlying side-effect, ‘hustle culture’ is still influencing self-perception and dominating discourse, with people holding themselves to unrealistic expectations of productivity. Being told to ‘just keep swimming’ or ‘embrace the quiet’ doesn’t seem to fit other sentiments populating social media feeds, encouraging us to ‘make the most of spare time’, ‘rise and grind’ or ‘hustle hard’. With Facebook reporting a significant boost in social media consumption since the introduction of restrictions, it’s easy to imagine how people take to the online world for entertainment, news, connection and inspiration, and in turn, internalise messages with negative psychological effects.

‘Acknowledging that we are all living in an impossible era with little, if any, extra free time is an important first step in breaking free of hustle culture, especially if you can laugh at the absurdity of it all.’ – Kiran Misra

No stranger to the gig economy, policy researcher, journalist and editor for The Guardian, Kiran Misra, has a very strong message about hustle culture’s impact on mental health. Begging the question ‘who is hustle culture really benefiting?’, Misra suggests that in today’s social and political climate, ‘our sense of self-worth is often reduced to our productivity.’ Reminding us that there is more to spending time than monetising it, she argues that we should do away with external pressures defined by strangers with questionable motives. Time well spent should be measured by your definition of rest, fun and productivity. If this means you want to start an Esty account selling homemade pieces of jewellery, then go get ‘em, tiger. On the flip side, if you’re the kind of person who enjoys a quiet cup of tea on the couch rewatching your favourite Netflix series, then don’t be swayed into thinking you’re doing lockdown wrong. Life is the thing that happens when the cameras are off.

With that in mind, our team put together a list of things you can do at home when you do get those bursts of productivity. Whether you tick them all off at once, or work on them over time, these tasks are designed to help you build a strong online presence, without any pressure.

Non-commital things to do that make you feel like a boss

  • Engage your online communities. Post stories, reply to comments, expand your base of followers and look to other accounts for inspiration.
  • Redesign your grid. Brainstorm new ways to promote your brand through visual merchandising, professional photography or design.
  • Create a mood board. Find inspiration on platforms like Pinterest or Instagram and gather ideas to reshape your brand image or develop a new one from scratch.
  • Get artsy. If you’re the creative and visual type, go to the drawing board and come up with new ideas for brand collateral. Don’t be afraid to get messy.
  • Schedule your online posts in advance. Using scheduling platforms, you can save yourself the future hassle of manually posting things online.

We hope this opinion piece on life in lockdown and hustle culture resonated with you. Stay tuned for more food-for-thought articles written for your enjoyment, relaxation and inspiration.

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