Kim Singh-Sall offers some comforting advice during this time of uncertainty.
During this period of madness, global paralysis and uncertainty, now more than ever we need to try and keep happy, healthy and sane. It’s important that every individual learns to adapt and tries to maintain the colour in their life despite the world looking so grey right now.
This past week I have said goodbye to my best mates – my uni family – as we all got ready to go back to our homes. It’s been upsetting, gloomy and frustrating as our first year of uni has come to a very quick, sobering end.
Before we went our separate ways, as a collective we decided to use this period of uncertainty to pursue quarantine projects. Potentially we’re housebound for the next few months and need to embrace our inner pre-escaped Rapunzel while we wait for our lives to begin again.
One of my friend’s will learn to do the splits and master Bohemian Rhapsody on the keyboard; one plans on becoming TikTok famous while another is going to get unrecognisably built.
My quarantine bucket list includes attempting to learn Spanish (again) and finally getting the Duolingo Owl off my case, playing the keyboard that’s been collecting dust in the hall and knitting a blanket (before realising just how expensive knitting is and deciding against it). Also, painting and reading everything. Twice. Three times. Maybe I’ll write the next great English novel. A friend of mine told me this week there’s a novel in all of us. If not now, when?
To cope with our indoor summer, we need a focus and a goal – creative ways of keeping our minds healthy and functioning. For those of us who can and are in safe and healthy environments to do so, we should see this period not as a wasted summer or a temporary halt to our lives, but as an opportunity. True, we’ve had to cancel plans, festivals, holidays, university and more, but in reality there’s nothing more we can do than make the best of this unprecedented, extraordinary time we’re living in. Use this time to heal and develop hobbies, to enjoy one’s own company.
Moreover, we need to try and keep physically healthy. With the closure of gyms and leisure centres, there is simply no better time than to dust off the old Just Dance games and pursue creative and indoor ways of keeping fit. Whether this is by finding online salsa dancing tutorials, Zumba and yoga, or doing a few sit-ups a day, if you can, try and get into a routine of some form of exercise. This year our living rooms will have to become our gyms.
This is easier said than done. It’s very easy for some of us to cope and get by in the coming months with various means and facilities at our disposal: heaps of books, instruments, gardens, even space. For many, these next few months will be detrimental, isolating and mentally debilitating. It is important that we check in on as many people as we can: mates, grandparents, cousins, neighbours. This is an extremely anxious time for so many of us, especially those with unsettling and unhappy home lives. The best thing we can all do is just be kind.
For the first time in modern history the entire world is in the same boat and we need to all stay afloat. We need to be coming together, keeping each other sane and safe – at a safe distance that is. We need to continue to support the NHS, support each other, check in on our grandparents and older relatives, and stop panic buying bog roll.
True, we need to socially distance ourselves, but this is only physical. Maintain social distance but maintain social relationships. Most of us are lucky to have phones and technology to update our friends and family on our days of self-isolation.
As a community, a nation and a planet, we need to stay busy, stay inside and stay safe. But also, we need to stay hopeful. For some, this will be a time of growth and a pursuit of projects and hobbies; for others this will be a time of survival and struggle. But remember that this strange time will pass. Be kind, be safe and keep the colour in your lives. It won’t be long before the colour is restored in the world.
Artwork by Laura Stewart-Liberty.