You can't "level up" in the cognitive exhaustion of quarantine
June 26, 2020 3:30 PM   Subscribe

Business coach Alexis Rockley is pushing back against the idea that we must always be doing something productive or improving ourselves. She says it is unrealistic to believe we should all master new skills during quarantine, because quarantine and the current environment are continual stressors that cognitively exhaust us. In an interview with Smart Bitches, Trashy Podcast, she unpacks the things our brains are doing to help us survive and provides actionable advice for how you can make things better for yourself.
posted by rednikki (19 comments total) 41 users marked this as a favorite
 
At the moment I’m too occupied, multitasked, and burned out from trying to share a workspace with a bored 10-yr , while appeasing they machinery of a 8,000 person corporation of great dysfunction, but ... I read this synopsis and my soul screamed FUUUUCK YES, THIS.

“... the constant push toward increased work, productivity, and leveling up...”

Thanks for sharing , looking forward to digging in.
posted by armoir from antproof case at 4:07 PM on June 26 [9 favorites]


Thanks, rednikki! Transcript of interview.
[Obligatory Onion link from April]
posted by Iris Gambol at 4:32 PM on June 26 [10 favorites]


My SO took on responsibility for teaching in our uni dept about 2 months before lockdown which had meant interminable meetings to get our offerings into some sort of order. Too many 12 hour days. Skills wise, I noticed she can now eat two thirds of a chocolate orange without leaving any sign of interference with the packaging. I think that's going to be it in our house.
posted by biffa at 4:34 PM on June 26 [9 favorites]


i guess here is as good a place as any to put a link to the track “stay in bed all day (and do nothing)” by chromeo, off their new ep, “quarantine casanova.”
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 4:43 PM on June 26 [10 favorites]


really good time to be going into final year of higher education for the first time as a 36 year old with a marraige and mortgage and senior dog and mental illness and being in severe need of re-hydrating complicated mathematical skills that i last possessed in 2001
posted by lazaruslong at 5:28 PM on June 26 [24 favorites]


...on the other hand if i wasn't doing this i'd still be in my service industry career trajectory and then both me and my spouse would be laid off so eh
posted by lazaruslong at 5:29 PM on June 26 [15 favorites]


I feel much better about nearly cratering my DuoLingo streak.

(I did learn a new skill if you count playing my very first first-person-swordfighting game -- Elder Scrolls : Blades -- on my phone.)
posted by JawnBigboote at 5:50 PM on June 26 [4 favorites]


There seems to be some incongruity between "pushing back against the idea that we must always be doing something productive or improving ourselves" and "actionable advice for how you can make things better for yourself." I thought maybe it was just the way the fpp framed the discussion, but then I read in the linked piece about an activity where "leveling up is a lot of fun." But maybe some people find that kind of levelling up to be not so much fun as wearisome, whereas maybe something like making sourdough is relaxing. I'm not trying to play gotcha. I'm just wondering if this is self-improvement for those who are tired of self-improvement, which seems like a contradiction. I don't know.
posted by No Robots at 5:55 PM on June 26 [1 favorite]


Duolingo has been the one thing that I have managed every day. I don’t think they are very good Spanish lessons, and I am not very advanced, but at least I can handle about seven or ten minutes of “Las vacas tienen cuatro estómagos” or “¿De niña, jugabas mucho con tus amigas?” Everything else in my life has gone to hell, of course. But by God, las vacas tienen cuatro estómagos.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:56 PM on June 26 [31 favorites]


yo, lazaruslong - I was you, you can do this. started school in 1985, got the degree in 2005 a little older than you. electrical and computer engineering. so yeah, relearning some diffeq and the like was hard. stay tough.
posted by j_curiouser at 6:21 PM on June 26 [17 favorites]


“... the constant push toward increased work, productivity, and leveling up...”

Thanks for sharing , looking forward to digging in.


Somehow this exact exchange is tickling me. "Yes, go dig in, in earnest, on how to avoid increased work and leveling up."
posted by hippybear at 6:51 PM on June 26 [10 favorites]


yo, lazaruslong - I was you, you can do this. started school in 1985, got the degree in 2005 a little older than you. electrical and computer engineering. so yeah, relearning some diffeq and the like was hard. stay tough.


*slaps top of khan academy profile*
this bad boy can fit so much
s t a r k t e r r o r
in it
posted by lazaruslong at 7:36 PM on June 26 [21 favorites]


I mean, I've been putting in an hour every night on a stats textbook I bought some time ago based on a recommendation in the green, and have been slowly starting up an exercise regimen to counter my lifestyle of Netflix, video games and desk jobs, cuz otherwise the most exercise I get in a day is walking to the mailbox. Turns out squats are hard.

Anyways, I need to get back to debugging this problem that cropped up in canary this week, because we haven't finished debugging the problem we found in canary last week but launched anyways and gotta play 'catch up' I suppose.
posted by pwnguin at 9:11 PM on June 26


I am having hardcore schadenfreude that the one person in my department who seemed to be thriving and "leveling up" during all this was laid off, and a couple people who are clearly falling apart and completely incapable of doing almost anything remotely are still gainfully employed.
posted by aspersioncast at 8:42 AM on June 27 [2 favorites]


I would like to make it clear that my SO has also learned to solve the Rubik's cube during lockdown. She continues her work to advance chocolate orange wrapping mechanics. Apologies for any diminution of her achievements that I may have suggested.
posted by biffa at 3:55 PM on June 27 [3 favorites]


I for one have been leveling up like never before....
... and by that I mean, I’ve been playing Grim Dawn like it’s a full time job
posted by thedamnbees at 6:43 PM on June 27 [1 favorite]


"Grim Dawn" is what I experience every morning when I wake up and realize a) COVID-19 is still here b) Trump is still president and c) Ecosystems are failing
posted by olopua at 7:06 PM on June 27 [11 favorites]


Fascinating discussion.

(I heart podcasts that can afford to make transcripts, because the format is easier for some of us.)
posted by ovvl at 6:49 PM on June 28 [1 favorite]


I really levelled up on some things that are not polite to talk about in public so mostly I just look lazy, which is not really any different than before corona, except now everyone is watching as much TV as I am!
posted by LizBoBiz at 7:01 AM on June 29 [2 favorites]


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