An Argument Against Self-Improvement During a Pandemic

Rebecca Zelis
2 min readApr 14, 2020

The situation you are in is unprecedented. You do not need to “make good use of this time.”

Before Covid-19, expectations about success, achievement, appearance, and performance led many of us to continuous cycles of self-improvement.

Some of us now have a break from that cycle, and a time for self-reflection. Instead of striving, this can be a time of reconnection, self-acceptance, and learning.

Pausing to watch the moonrise

Learn how to be flexible and adapt to new situations.
Learn how your skills and talents can benefit others.
Learn how communities can be stronger than individuals.
Learn to be gracefully uncomfortable.
Learn more about who you are, and how to best take care of yourself.

Self-improvement doesn’t have to be about changing who you are, it can be about being who you are.

Give yourself (and those you live with) permission to be themselves during his time. Releasing everyone from defined roles - parent, partner, employee, son/daughter, athlete or student - makes room for the unique human who was brought into this world for no other purpose than being who they authentically are.

You can still run a 10k, learn to meditate, start journaling or study Spanish. Absolutely do these if they bring you closer to yourself, but don’t do them because you feel pressured to “make good use of this time.” Also, spend a day binge-watching Harry Potter movies with your kids. Take naps. Take a break. Eat well and without judgment. Go to bed early. Stay up late. Learn what you need by listening to yourself without familiar distractions.

When this is over what will best serve you, your family, and your community will not be how you improved yourself. Instead, it will be how you became yourself.

(If you are one of the fortunate people who are not “essential workers” at this time, consider supporting your own well-being so you can better support others.)



Rebecca Zelis

Culture Strategist improving how institutions and systems interact with people.