What Should You Be Doing Right Now?

There is so much information out there on how to self-improve during this epidemic

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Argh! There is so much information right now on how to survive this pandemic. I am not talking about the medical advice, like social distancing and washing your hands, that is vital. I am talking about the mental health advice, the advice on how you should emerge from this stronger, braver and more resilient.

You should be self-improving!

Reading lots of books!

Learning a new skill!

Learning a new language!

Not sit in front of the TV at all!

Connecting with all your loved ones and checking in with them!

Ok, I definitely agree with the last point. I have been doing that. I have been phoning friends and family and talking to them and finding solace that we are all experience the same thing; isolation and a bit of madness.

But all the other stuff?

Should we be learning a new skill and practising our German every day? Well, I have been trying these things. I have been practising my German and I have been playing a lot on the piano. So not really learning a new skill but I am perfecting or practising an old one.

But really?!

Am I the only one that feels like if I don't emerge from this crisis with a new skill in say jujitsu or martial arts, or if I can’t knit myself a new scarf or crochet myself a bikini and speak fluent German after all this then I have somehow failed?

Well, then I haven’t used my valuable time to perfect myself and make improvements and come out even stronger than before.

Let's be real.

We are in a crisis.

A state of war. If we make it through the other side and we have survived and not died which is a possibility for many and we have not gone completely mad, I say we have thrived.

We may emerge scarred and even traumatised.

We will not be the same after this epidemic is over. It is impossible. Whether we decide to learn martial arts or not. We will be different. It is inevitable.

Uncertainty rules our daily lives. Many of us are trapped inside our own homes. Many of us cannot even see our families that live down the road. We can only venture out for necessary items.

So yes, I think it would be great to emerge from this whole crisis as a perfectly chiselled yogi, German-speaking, chiffon cake maker with the mental strength of a lion. God, that would be fabulous.

But many of us won’t. I hate to break it to you. Many of us will struggle to just make it out of bed or not totally panic when thinking of the state of the world or what it will look like afterwards.

I would say, not panicking all the time means you are doing really well.

And yes I think we have to use the distractions we can get right now before we simply combust with all the stress and anxiety this epidemic will bring.

If that means learning how to crochet or learning a new language then I say go for it. I am indulging in many distractions to simply keep the madness away. Playing lots of piano and doing German on Duolingo. Also running multiple circles outside in the parking lot in our block of flats to get in some exercise.

If you are exercising right now, you are winning.

These are not normal times.

These are war times.

People will ask, so “what were you doing the Corona-virus epidemic?”

We are charting unprecedented waters and we are making history. People will read about this epidemic and study it like we study and hear about the Spanish Flu of 1918.

No matter how hard we try to keep the madness at bay we will all go a little mad these times. We have no choice. Because of these MAD times. We have never lived through something like this before and please God, may we learn from our mistakes and never live through something like this again.

So, what should you be doing right?

You should be surviving. Surviving to the next day and the many days after.

One day this will end. It will be over when we don’t know? Let's try not to speculate because we may go mad.

But it will end and if you survived without going mad then you are ok. You don’t need to improve yourself right now.

We are all doing the best we can.

We may lose our jobs or get fat and unfit or suffer extreme anxiety and stress. We will survive those things too.

You will be different after this. No matter what you do now.

This epidemic will change you. Don’t worry you will be different, you don’t need to stress about self-improvement right now. It will happen anyway.

I am a Lawyer, Writer, Reader and Traveller. From Johannesburg, South Africa. I am writing to find my voice. Fortune favours the brave.

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