Have you heard the term “toxic positivity” before?
I feel like at one point this term circulated the internet and resonated by the masses. One of my favorite creators on the subject of toxic positivity is Whitney Goodman, also known as @sitwithwhit on Instagram. In a nutshell, toxic positivity can be described as society enforcing a standard that people should remain positive through all life situations. At least that’s how I like to define it. This includes thinking positively, speaking positively, and taking positive action. In a perfect world, this sounds absolutely grand. But you and I both know this is not realistic.
What is toxic productivity?
Much like toxic positivity, toxic productivity enforces the standard that throughout life’s challenges we should remain productive. While I am a big fan of productivity, and getting things “done.” There is a line between healthy productivity and toxic productivity. Healthy productivity can include: writing down your intentions, planning your day, holding yourself accountable to finish an assignment, and setting boundaries of how late you will work each day. Toxic productivity can include: not allowing yourself to sleep until something is done, viewing yourself as a failure when something is incomplete, refusing to settle for less than perfect, and engaging in catastrophic thinking. Layer that with a global pandemic and you’ve got yourself a party (kidding).
Toxic Productivity & COVID-19
Which brings me here. Many of us are working from home during these times, taking care of children, and some recently furloughed from work. If the life situation you are experiencing now, is not the same as 3-4 months ago, I am here with you. My life has changed drastically and I could have never foreseen the changes. That being said, it would be incredibly unrealistic to hold myself to the same productivity standards that I was utilizing before COVID-19. I have accepted that productivity will look differently when I work from home. I have accepted that meals will look different too. Weekends. Self-care. All of the things. But what else does toxic positivity and COVID-19 impact? How I treat and perceive others. A little thing called - relationships.
Toxic Productivity & Relationships
As you might know, platonic, professional, friend, and familial relationships can all be impacted by stressors related to COVID-19. But how does productivity come into play? For many of us, productivity defines our worth. We find worth in making money. We find worth in accomplishing tasks. We find worth in seeming like we have it all put together. We find worth in being productive. Now, this is not necessarily a “bad” thing - but how we perceive ourselves contributes firsthand to how we perceive and interact with others. Therefore, when your self-worth is low, your relationships can struggle. This can feel uncomfortable within relationships, but it’s also incredibly normal. To get back to the source (toxic productivity) and how it can affect our relationships we want to take time to reflect.
Here are 3 things we can ask ourselves to shift our mindset around productivity:
If I finish this task, what am I expecting to feel?
What does productivity look like for me today?
How can I balance productivity and self-care?
About The Guest Blogger
Taylor is a mental health therapist serving the Northeast Florida - Jacksonville area. She specializes in life transitions, coping with anxiety, and inner healing work. Taylor works mainly with teenagers and young adults ages 13-35. Want to learn more about her work? Follow her on IG: @theoriginaltherapist