How To Be A Realistic Optimist During a LockDown.

During the first lockdown in March I believed in the rationality and logic of others to help bring a pandemic to a close within a reasonable amount of time. Now that we’re in the Post-Christmas and New Year lockdown I feel that the likelihood of a normal summer is low. That’s why I need to write something satirical.

Ignore the Irrationality of Others

By believing that people understand how pandemics work, and by trusting that people will do their best to keep safe, and avoid any and all risks, to bring the pandemic to a close within four weeks we can think of the latest lockdown as a four week holiday.

Find a Solitary Walking Route

If you devote enough time to the endeavour you may be able to find a walking route that either allows you to walk for two hours without crossing anyone, or more realistically a route that allows you to walk at all times with at least two meters of buffer between you and the people walking the same path. When this route is found keep walking it, and find variants. Over the lockdown you will find variants and have a choice. Do you start by going north or south. Do you go west and if you go west do you go by the car river (motorway) or the water river? Do you walk along the agricultural paths or along the roads? Do you walk at night with a head torch or during the day?

Find A Study Goal

LinkedIn Learning, Microsoft Learn, Coursera, Duolingo and Babbel can all provide you with opportunities to either deepen your understanding of work related topics, or expand your knowledge of a change of career. You can study cloud computing or public speaking or Microsoft Excel, or any of a multitude of topics. You can even find a learning path.

By learning and by following these courses you are forcing yourself to think of the future. It might be just one and a half hours into the future, or it could be 30 study hours in the future. The point is that you have a means of breaking from pandemic routine.

Start Playing with a Task Manager.

I don’t mean Windows Task Manager. I mean a tool like Microsoft To Do, Apple Reminders, Google Keep, Google Tasks, Things 3, Sorted or another such app.

Set yourself goals like “Study German” and “Read a book” and “turn the lights on when the sun starts to set” and “Do the weekend shopping” and even “vacuum the home”. It may seem stupid to set tasks that you would do anyway but it influences mood. I found that as I set goals, and got into the habit of completing them every day it encouraged me to set more ambitious goal. Study Pre-intermedia German course 2 lesson 4-5, and so on. It provides you with a goal to reach each day, and a senes of accomplishment when you tick off each goal. At the end of the day you can see “I did 7 tasks and even earned “karma” on Todoist despite it having no real world value.

Keep A Journal

We could easily tell people to write blog posts of their experience with a pandemic but the problem is that blog posts are public, and that by being public they are less interesting. It makes more sense to keep a journal. You can use One Note, Think, Journey, Day One, Evernote or the Notes app on iPhones. The point is to write at least two or three hundred words a day. It can be as ranty, as positive, as absurd, as rational, as happy, or as dystopia as you like. The point is to have a conversation through your fingers, with the screen in front of you, whether it’s a laptop, a mobile phone, or a clay tablet. You could even learn cuneiforms and write that way.

Avoid Series FOMO

During this pandemic one of the keys to happiness is to cut down on television series that remind us of pre-pandemic life. Series where everyone gets into a relationship, everyone falls in love, everyone gets married and more are to be avoided. If you’re living alone and self isolating in solitude the last thing you want is to spend your evenings being reminded of what is impossible during a pandemic. Watch documentaries, or people playing computer games, or reading books. Happiness stems from avoiding the reminders of the life that you would like to work towards if only a pandemic wasn’t consistently in the way.

A Regular Sleep Habit

During a pandemic it’s easy to go to bed later and later and later and later, until finally you’re living in a different timezone than your body. Set an alarm clock to wake you at the same time every day and attempt to go to sleep at a semi-regular time each day. Semi Regular = +/- 2 hours. ;-).

Dump FaceBook and Instagram

Although Facebook and Instagram were excellent places to keep up with friends a decade ago they are now no more sociable than a glossy magazine. Rather than feel good about how great you are at self-isolation and pandemic solitude you will be reminded that other people are still breaking the rules for their own pleasure. Instead of being angry with them just dump FB and IG and do something constructive.

Sometimes solitude and unhappinesss stem from doing rather than not doing something that you’re used to. If you see that FB and IG are making you feel negative dump them.

Develop a Sense of Humour

People from at least two generations grew up watching Alan Alda in the MASH television series demonstrate how to cope with unpleasant situations through dark humour. Some people might look down on this tactic but remember that we’re in a pandemic, and that because we don’t know when it will end we need to find ways to reset our ability to cope, and laughter is one such method. By laughing, or at least changing perspective we may be able to cope better.

And Finally

We are in the 21st century and although we may not be able to do things in the real world we can still get help. when listening to a podcast about psychology I think they mentioned Betterhelp. To the. best of my understanding this is the website they talked about. As I was walking I didn’t note down the name. The point is that this is online help, anywhere in the world. Whether you’re a textrovert or a videovert they should have a solution for you.

Disclaimer. I know nothing about this website except that I like the concept of IMing a counsellor.

If Self-Isolation Was Easy the Pandemic would be over

Remember that the emotional yoyo we’re going through is completely normal and healthy. If self-isolation was easy the pandemic would have ended within two months and we’d have been saying “what was all the fuss about, silly paranoid…” Of course this time we’re in a serious pandemic, so we need to find ways to cope, and even enjoy ourselves, as absurd as this may sound.

“Enjoy myself by myself?”

Yes, like Tomas in the Unbearable Lightness of Being

Like Rieux in La Peste

Like Dantès in the Count of Monte Cristo.

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