By Janvier Nsengiyumva
Two weeks ago the New York Times published an opinion article titled “Please, Don’t Go Out to the Bars Tonight”. The article pleaded with young people. “Continuing the weekend tradition of packing the bars is selfish and reckless during this pandemic,” wrote Charlie Warzel. Experts warned that young people were putting the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions at risk.
Most bars have closed following government orders, along with schools, while Covid-19 cases and death toll continue to rise. Our daily lives are changing. The streets are empty, jobs are limited, and adjusting to social distancing is the new challenge for many young people. With all the news and misinformation online, it’s very easy to panic with fear and to experience anxiety. So how does one still find joy in the face of this epidemic?
Limiting your news doses:
“it’s pretty brutal. Anxiety has been really, really hard,” said Miles Butts-Spirito 20’. Like others, he has chosen to avoid dwelling on the internet by instead reaching out to close friends through video chats, reading and being productive in his free time.
Stand up and move:
Sitting on a couch binge watching netflix, doing nothing like exercising and meditating can be very stressful. At first, Colby Nadeau 20’ had a difficult time while being at home all day., “I barely left my couch and when I did I just went and laid in bed. I went a few days without changing clothes, and eating and drinking like garbage which ended up making me feel like garbage,” Nadeau said. But after a few days, he started to make plans on how to be productive with his time. “I started setting time for exercise, eating, and other things that helped.”
Meditation and family:
While Covid-19 has disrupted lives, taking time to do something you would not normally have time for during work and travel can be liberating and enriching.
“I meditate, I’ve been cleaning out stuff I don’t need,” said Garrett Donnelly ‘21. “ I spend this extra time learning and reading. I eat good food and exercise.”
It’s not just meditation, in difficult times we can still take time to be with our families. “I’ve been sticking to a routine with my family since my mom’s job got shut down,” said Luna Isham, “And I’ve been practicing a lot of ballet.” The anxiety of being home all day can cause one to feel lazy and disinterested in everyday productivity. Meditation, activities, and family time can help relieve this anxiety.
Being at home is an opportunity to read the book you always wanted to read, to exercise more, and to learn how to be by yourself. Chris Tucker, an actor and stand-up comedian summed up the importance of staying at home in his instagram, “Working from home? man I am getting so much work done, I am cleaning up my clothes, cleaning up my desk, cleaning up my room, all reading books. Man I am doing stuff I never did before, I am taking advantage of this time. This is a blessing in disguise, the silver lining of this is you get to do something you want to do. I no longer have to shake hands no more.”
Together, even apart:
In a crisis, solidarity brings people together and togetherness can bring joy in people. Video chatting online is one of the ongoing routines for people. If you have a friend or distant family member, reach out to them and check if they are staying safe. Social activities online can help spur others to do the same.
For example, young people and celebrities are taking to instagram with the “stay at home challenge” the most trending activity on instagram and twitter. Everyone is challenging each other for various forms of activities, such as juggling toilet paper, doing push ups and photos of themselves in their homes.
On national Doctor Day, Michelle Obama shared a powerful video on instagram from two young doctors who sang an inspiring song with hopeful lyrics: “When you’re feeling low, and there’s no one around, when it looks like it’s over and life got you down, hold on to me brother and I’ll be here when you need because there’s a brighter tomorrow, this I truly believe, everything is gonna be alright, so dry those eyes–it’ll be alright.”