Surviving the Quarantine: Top 5 Ways to Mindfully Combat Coronavirus

An undeniable fact is that coronavirus is not going anywhere anytime soon. The nightmare is how many will perish in the process. Then, what to do not to go insane? 

There are a million and one rhetorical questions on our minds: How long will it take for it to get better? Will I get it or will my dear ones? How can I feel at ease when my family is thousands of kilometers away? Do I pose a danger to someone else? Will my finances survive this crisis or will my nerves? How can I not feel lonely or restless? How do I keep my sanity? How do I keep myself in one piece as to be there for those who need me?


Infinite questions and very limited answers. Understandably, everyone reacts in different ways. We're going through extremely challenging times. Having to cope with what is going on in the world, at work, and with family could be overwhelming. My family lives in Mexico, my parents are 71 and 83, and if the situation here is difficult, I can't imagine how it's going to hit some third-world countries, like mine. Maybe because of my personality or formation as a lawyer, I keep expectations low and evaluate facts without letting emotional conflict interfere with my reasoning. Sometimes I can be perceived as cold or insensitive, but all I can say is that it's just the way I've learned to see the world and navigate it.  If you can't control it, you must then stop trying to and strive on focusing on those things that you can. 

So how is it that I am dealing with the current crisis? Among others, I follow an engaging daily routine: get up at the usual time, look pretty as if I were to receive my students, have breakfast and start with my to-do-list. I like to focus on acquiring new knowledge, engaging in activities that make me feel fulfilled, and staying in touch. These are my top 5:


1. LIMITING SOCIAL MEDIA
If not careful, social media can become a force that controls us instead of the other way around. If we let it, it can consume a considerable amount of our time and energy. There are two actions I took to feel in control of what goes into my brain and how my time is invested:
1. Removed the Facebook app from my phone. 
2. Stopped seeing Instagram stories.


2. READING (News & Books) 
The news. I choose very carefully what I'll read and how much. A way to curate the coronavirus info that I take in is by reading in Dutch. To stay away from the links provided by many people on Facebook, go directly to Dutch sources. That way, three things are accomplished. You a) read less because it takes more time and energy, b) meticulously choose the articles, and c) do it only twice a day. You are informed and still can keep a decent mindset to work on your own projects; less time fretting about what we can't control and more investing in what we can. The apps I have on my phone to be informed are:


Diane Duane said, “Reading one book is like eating one potato chip.” It's difficult to express what they mean to me. Maybe another quote would do? “Think before you speak. Read before you think,” by Fran Lebowitz. Books nurture our senses, "geest", and common sense. Currently, I'm reading books from my WANT-TO-READ list. You could join an online group. My book group will try Zoom in April. I'm so relieved to know I'll get to hear what the others have to say about The Power by Naomi Alderman because, how can I say it... Did I like it? You really don't want to get into that... Have you read it?

3. ONLINE COURSES
If you've never tried online courses before, I say, totally go for it! There are thousands of courses, some taught by great universities and/or art institutions. You choose what you like and go at your own pace: nutrition, art, engineering, music, languages, math, business, etc.  I've taken some related to my career, for example, Supporting children with difficulties in reading and writing by the University of London, UCL Institute of Education & Dyslexia and Literacy International; and Art & Activity: Interactive Strategies for Engaging with Art by The Museum of Modern Art. For my personal indulgence, Introduction to Classical Music by Yale University and The Importance and Power of Music in our Society by Universiteit Leiden & University of the Arts The Hague. At the moment I'm having a mental orgasm (sorry but it's true) with 18th-Century Opera: Handel & Mozart by edX (founded by Harvard and MIT):



Where to find them? The three most popular sites for free online courses I know are:


4. KNITTING
Knitting is, in my opinion, almost as therapeutic as meditation. Now that I finally have precious free time, I'm knitting again and practicing my Dutch while at it! I found a website I really liked called wolplein.nl. It offers packages that include the patterns' instructions and yarn. You can also find videos by wolplein.nl on YouTube. Below is the baby blanket I'm working on, but in a different color because it's for a baby boy! 



This is how mine is coming along:


5. COOKING
Please don't get too excited. I'm not a good cook at all. One thing that does save my darling and I is our fabulous CrockPot, and three days ago I found a YouTube channel called Slowcooker Crockpot recepten / recipes. It offers easy recipes in Dutch (they have an English version too but haven't watched it), so I'm enjoying them since they're easy and I can, again, work on my Dutch. This is the first recipe I tried since my sweetheart asked for it (because of the beer, of course), and we loved it!



We're also considering buying an instant pot or a Crock-Pot Express. Please, if you have any advice, please do tell me about it!



Well, this is it for today. I hope some of this got you inspired in one way or another. Times are difficult, complex and uncertain. In the meantime, let's try to fully immerse in the here and now.
“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward.” 

Steve Maraboli

*Thanks to my friend Ayşenur Kıroğlu Kuran for suggesting I should write about it. 🙏



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