April 2020 – my “Angry Cat” calendar has shown a remarkable amount of foresight

By Jessica Sofizade

We’re living in a difficult situation. How to cope? I’d like to share some of the ways I’m dealing with things in the hope that it might give others some inspiration for the following days (or weeks, or months?) of isolation:

1. Act for others

Try to help others in any small way you can – do their grocery shopping, write letters to family members you can’t visit, call friends who live alone, leave an anonymous kind note to your neighbour. If you’re able to, consider donating to a good cause, to a food bank, or donate blood.  

2. Look after yourself

Easy to say, not so easy to do! Particularly when you’re stuck indoors. For me, there are four key aspects: sleep well, eat well, exercise, socialise.

Sleep well: Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Avoid the temptation to push those times later and later…!

Eat well: You might be restricted by what’s in the supermarket, but that just means you need to get creative. Now you have the time to try out some healthy and delicious recipes. My partner & I recently discovered how delicious homemade Pad Thai is. Another favourite is to shove a bunch of veggies in the oven, and serve with hummus and bread (and falafel, and halloumi…. I could go on)

Sunday Brunch: toast, avocado, egg, and roasted sweet potato & butternut squash.

Exercise: I try to do one form of exercise per day. I’m currently enjoying: going for a walk or a jog, online Zumba classes, and a free trial with Centr where I’ve discovered Pilates!

Socialise: Obviously, your choices are limited here. But I’ve been impressed with friends and family who have found all kinds of ways to get in touch virtually, including online aperitifs and virtual Passover celebrations on Zoom.

3. Manage the information you’re receiving

Firstly, limit your news intake. You don’t need to know how many people are infected 24/7. Try to check the news a maximum of once or twice per day. Staying informed is great, but don’t get saturated with it.

More importantly, be sure of the quality of the news you’re receiving. Think critically, and ask yourself:

  • Is this factual information or opinion?
  • What is the aim of this information?
  • What is the source of this information? Is the source trustworthy?
  • Is this information available somewhere else?
  • Is this information new or old and why is it out there at this precise moment?
  • How does this information make you feel? Chances are that if it makes you feel angry or upset, it could be used as a catalyst for hatred or aggression towards a certain group of people.

Receiving information on social media platforms such as WhatsApp is particularly risky, as the origins are often unclear, and messages are private & encrypted. Think twice before reacting, and especially before forwarding it on. A video which seems harmless may result in panic, distress, prejudice, or even aggression towards certain groups.

Interested in this topic? Follow our project: Social (Media) Inclusion on Facebook.  

4. Be thankful

If (like me) you’re worried about close family members or friends, it’s important to remain calm, as there are some things we just have no control over. Instead, focus that energy on being thankful, for both the big and the little things.

5. Do something productive

Now is a great opportunity to invest time in some self-development. (Or just something fun!) Some ideas include:

Stuck indoors in my small North London studio, these ideas have managed to keep me sane over the past month. I hope that they can also be of some use to the amazing partners and friends I’ve had the pleasure of meeting through Kairos Europe.

By Jessica Sofizade

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The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official positions of Kairos Europe, its partners or their employees.

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