Apr 22nd, 2020, 12:58 PM

Corona Diaries: Peace of Mind

By Liberty Inocencio
Image credit: Liberty Inocencio
Maintaining sanity in a bizarre time.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, we have been in quarantine for over a month now in France. Being confined to an apartment shared by 4 people, unable to achieve desired movement or activity in my day, can be weary. Yet, the time spent outdoors journeying to the grocery store or pharmacy can even induce hyper-consciousness in regards to protection and sanitation.

The frequent reminders from news and daily phone calls from worried parents don't ease my mind, either. These are all constant reminders of the challenging position we are in, from our own internal processing of the health crisis at hand and a particular concern of how it will unfold in the future. These can make for a very unsettling circumstance in an already uncertain and concerning time.  

Image credit: Liberty Inocencio 

Not to be bleak, but for these reasons, I am easily reminded of my situation in everything that I do in an unseemly light. I find myself seeking an escape, increasing each week, for a more pleasant situation that would alleviate stress and gain structure to maintain my sanity. 

My moods and emotions are now experienced more extremely, as I find myself not only more sensitive but also acutely aware of myself due to the sole environment in which I have had to relocate my entire life.

The collective environments in which the various activities and obligations my life used to exist in, from university to the metro to the streets to restaurants, have not only been eliminated but in an emotional and psychological sense have been consolidated into a single space. Emotions have become even more intertwined as the physical divider of my environments, carrying relative psychological states, have been eliminated. 

I believe we are all sitting with an uncertain outlook of the future. When will the threat of the coronavirus end? Will it ever end? If not, how are we to alter our lives? Will classes be online next semester? Will I be able to find an internship? What if I or someone I know gets the virus? The long-winded questions continue.

Image credit: Liberty Inocencio 

I have found that in order to avoid such an easily daunting lockdown experience, the creation of peace of mind to maintain sanity and comfort is necessary. There are many ways in which this can be accomplished. What I have found personally works for me is structure. Dividing up my time and space to the best of my ability, from where I work to where I relax to where I eat, and most importantly, the time that I wake up and start my day all help to maintain a sense of comfort and ease. 

I try my best to fulfill my obligations, from staying on top of my work, going to class, responding to emails, and making sure I call my parents at the agreed-upon time. Creating a checklist, even for the most mundane of tasks like doing laundry or cleaning the apartment, can create a sense of accomplishment. 

Additionally, I try to eliminate any major stressors. For me, this meant that I virtually stopped indulging in the news as extensively as I had before, now only reading critical information. This also meant that I had to declutter my consumption habits such as watching random videos and consistently updating myself on social media posts or news notifications that pop up on my phone. 

Instead, I have chosen to spend a lot of my time relaxing, listening to music, and sunbathing on the terrace, a feature of my apartment I appreciate most now more than ever.

Image credit: Liberty Inocencio 

On the contrary, another way of approaching this experience is to fill it with new projects, more content, or to produce creatively through art or reflective writing. I sometimes find guilt in not partaking in any of these seemingly productive and enriching options to spend this novel amount of free time.

Yet, this is a new experience for everyone, so the main focus - whether it means creating new projects, following up on every news notification, or doing nothing - is to make sure you achieve some level of peace of mind and comfort in this very wearisome and unfamiliar global experience.