Tips for Surviving the Coronavirus Quarantine: How to Not Go Crazy Locked Inside.
by conner scott
Tips for surviving the Coronavirus Quarantine: How to not go crazy locked inside.
For transparency's sake, I would like to address the first line and go ahead and say this is not a guide with tips and actionable items. If you find yourself truly struggling with mental health in this crisis please reach out and we will connect you with professional resources.
PROCEED WITH WARNING IN MIND:
Tuesday, March 16th, was the first day of self-quarantine for us here in Nashville. Shits getting grimmer by the day. Anxiety and paranoia continue to increase as we notice those in power are notably shaken. One can’t help but wonder, what do they know about what’s coming?
Not only are we facing the virus but a multi-pronged threat- The Health Threat(the virus itself), The Economic Threat(people losing their jobs), and The Mental Threat. Our mental well being is virtually carpet bombed on a daily basis by social media. If we dodge social media's artillery, we are then faced with the ultimate challenge that Coronavirus presents- we will all be forced to recon with our own minds. There will be few escapisms available from our skull-sized kingdom.
Que the GOAT - David Goggins
Four days into quarantine I hadn’t slept, a powerless feeling of edginess was creeping in.
After a wretched night's sleep filled with nightmares of running from the Russian Police, in Russian (Why!?), I jokingly grabbed the book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” by Dale Carnegie and shot off a cynical joke to my girlfriend. “Don’t worry about me, I’m going to Stop Worrying and Start Living!”.
Cynicism seems to be a second language for anyone under the age of 40. Only time will tell what exactly is the cause of our generation's anxiety. My opinion is that we all struggle with a sense of hysteria in the Lacanian sense of the word meaning- I am not what you say I am. Many of us feel we have tried our hardest to succeed in the way our parents did, only to find we did not obtain what they did. This leaves a gap between what we think we are e.i. hard working honest people and what our status in the world or what the world calls us e.i. lazy and unsuccessful. No matter how legitimate the justification I would like to posit to you that the trap of cynicism has never been more dangerous. And let’s not forget cynicism’s first cousin, sarcasm, an equally destructive force we use as a shield to never reveal what is truly inside of us.
Many of us have been taking these “mental suppressants” of cynicism and sarcasm for most of our lives and now find ourselves trapped with everything we’ve tried to suppress. There is no way to sugar coat this, our demons are coming at us head on. For some already struggling with mental illness, the struggle will be immense, yet even the “well-adjusted” will have their own battles to fight.
So why was my crack at Dale Carnegie so cynical? Rather than acknowledging the fact that worry and anxiety were upon me, I laughed at and attempted to belittle a classic work aimed at helping people to be positive, to deny the reality that I was in fact worried, but feared showing it. We are all finding ourselves in a similar position, some of us are being misled down this road by our bosses at work trying to convince us that everything is ok and that “this too shall pass”. Like all statements in life, they aren’t truly intended for the people we direct them at. For example, the boss trying to convince you that you should carry on with business as usual, when in reality they are trying to convince themselves that everything is fine, while inside they are filled with panic and anxiety.
What is the difference between self help like Carnegie and the boss that blatantly ignores reality forgetting that we are all tuning into the daily carnage that is coronavirus? To reference our favorite author of ours at Granola, David Foster Wallace- it’s The Choice. While the boss unintentionally tries to distort reality and ultimately leads you to be dangerously caught off guard, Carnegie is offering a guide on how to choose what you are thinking about. Now more than ever that choice can truly be the difference between extreme suffering or complete bliss even amidst one of the great crises to hit mankind. I doubt I am exaggerating to assume we’ve all found our minds obsessively mulling over the virus and the implications of it’s damage.
We have a choice to make in every moment of our day, are we going to choose to go down these dark paths constantly or shall we choose to notice something as simple yet constantly overlooked as the natural beauty of our own backyard, the trees and flowers on our daily walk, or the beauty of the birds chirping. Will we mentally cannibalize ourselves or take this chance to love our friends and family like we all know we should? Will we call them and tell them how we feel?
Is this choice easy? Absolutely not, it takes effort to put our foot down and stop the hypnotic drifting of negativity. Whether we do or don’t make the right choices, these choices will stack up, and the result is your life. So I will leave it at this, what’s your choice going to be? The virus has shaken the Etch-a-Sketch, what are you going to draw?