Why marketing perfection during the pandemic has backfired.
From bloggers to podcasters to your well-meaning bestie (whom you are zooming with now on a regular basis)-we are consuming the collective anecdote to this paralyzing pandemic. The anecdote is the re-packaging of Covid 19 and presenting it as a gift. It is a gift that will allow you to do everything you wanted to do, but had no time. The Covid Gift has promised you access to the keys that will evolve you into the person you always wanted to be.
Thus, The Pandemic Perfection Effect (PPE) was born. And boy--the Pandemic Perfection Effect gave us a sense of control in a not-so-controllable time.
PANDEMIC PERFECTION EFFECT- (*definition and creation by yours truly).
This effect is the monetizing a time of global terror and redefining it as a specific marketing attempt to sell life-altering products, courses and ideas to perfect the lives of the quarantined masses in the hopes to prey upon their insecurities while simultaneously creating this demographic to feel inadequate. The effect of this intentional assault of creating perfection during the pandemic is resulting on increased depressive states, financial burden and escalating confusion.
While, agreed, the gift of time is a wonderful and unexpected bi-product of a global tragedy- it seems to not be a reality. I don't know about you, but I feel that I was not a beneficiary of this gift. In fact, I have markedly seen my available minutes disappearing with newly found roles as homeschool teacher, internal crisis prevention manager and zoom meeting scheduler. Not to mention that my housekeeping duties have multiplied by 2587%.
I am not quite sure what marketing team collaborated on the international campaign --but I am not drinking their Kool-Aid.
I would love to tell you that I have devoured 10 self-help books, that I now have 6 pack abs and my kids have advanced two grades under my tutelage. The truth is that I have made it half way though one audible book, my abs are only a 1 pack and I am failing my children as their adjunct teacher. It's getting messy. And when the sky is grey--and it is cold outside it is hard to rally my troops and encourage them when I feel a sense of malaise.
So How Did this Happen?
What WEEK ONE LOOKED LIKE
CONFUSION- Why is everyone talking about beer? As the cadence of reports heightened I began to realize this was more than an amusing meme It was leaking slowly from the far reaching bowels of Asia. How could it be here in the US? Should I be scared?
REJECTION- Why should I stay in the house? This will not affect me. Life will be normal.
UNSETTLED ASPIRATIONS- If I must work remotely, I am going to do this in style. I will schedule 10 ZOOM calls a day. I will connect with old friends. I will get projects done. I will read books. I will take long walks . I will binge Netflix. I will learn new recipes. I will enjoy my children. I will learn a new skill. I will take a course online. I will stick to my routine and enjoy this gift.
WEEK 7 IS REFLECTING our Grief
The strongest of people I connect with daily, the ones who radiate optimism have looked somewhat different as they hit Week 7. I observed this, not in oneperson- but in a majority of my conversations. Their spirits are weary and it is hard for them to articulate why. They are still "blessed", they are fed, they have not lost their jobs, their families are remaining healthy. So why this malaise?
The malaise of Week 7 is proving to be in direct correlation to the loss of structure, the loss of interpersonal connections and the loss of control over their environment. And this feeling of "the blahs" is compounded by the fact that indeed, the elusive "PANDEMIC PERFECTION EFFECT" has made them feel inadequate. We are wearily complying to minimum standards. We are wearily complying to our sense of normality.
Unperfect Perfection in Week 7
yoga pant rotation is real
Zoom calls not as "exciting"
spaghetti variations nightly
schedule is off
virtual happy hours not as novel
Pandemic numbers rising and the uncertainty lingers- feeling a loss of control
self-help books unfinished
academic aspirations are minimized
crafts are relegated to the corner
days melting into each other
I connect with and have in-depth conversations with people daily. I chat with them and have really been able to observe their patterns during this quarantine. While optimism reigned ever- present in week-one , there is a demarcation now and the overwhelming collective enthusiasm. Week 7 is now presenting diminished spirits. The truth is --when we feel out of control we try to control our environment.
SOLUTION- How to combat Pandemic Perfection Effect
The one thing I know, and I know to be real is that it is ok with being --well, just ok. This too shall pass. When we immerge from this epidemiological catastrophe and things won't look the same. The fabric of our lives with be re-woven into something that feels so different. And we will have to be ok with this.
My biggest defense against this effect is to be allow myself some slack-- and try to enjoy what is now. Let yourself relish the uncomfortable days of not feeling productive.
It is very important to keep a routine in tact. This is the cornerstone of establishing a foundation in your day.
* Keep your alarm set for 7am.
* Keep your exercise regimen in place.
* Get fresh air daily. Celebrate your small wins.
* And stop comparing yourself to all the pandemic success stories you see on social media.
Being you is all that is needed right now. Give yourself some grace.