Coping with Covid

Because the number of Covid infections increased rapidly, the Dutch government has decided that the Netherlands should go into a ‘partial lockdown’. I fully understand why this is necessary, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t bother me. I live alone, and although I don’t always show it, I really love company. What is also very important for me, is a well-structured day. What to do when social interaction is actively discouraged and I’m not allowed to go to work every day?

I have come up with several ways to deal with these things, and I have the idea (or hope?) that others might benefit from them as well. That’s why this blogpost will be the first in a series of posts about strategies to cope with the quarantine situation. I know that the situation is far worse in other places, but I hope that perhaps my strategies also work for others.

FIRST STRATEGY: GOING UP IN A FANTASY WORLD

Since my early childhood, I’ve been a bit of a fanboy of Alexander the Great. I had a poster of him in my bedroom and I knew the names of all the battles he had fought and cities he had conquered. My passion for Alexander has not become less over the years: I have visited many places where Alexander has once been, and in my bedroom there is now a map of his expedition.

In these times of quarantining, one of my ways to cope with the loneliness is curling myself up in a warm easychair and start reading a book about the history of Alexander the Great. So much is written about his expedition, that I never have any trouble finding a book about Alexander which I haven’t read yet (when I heard about the new semi-lockdown yesterday, I immediately mail-ordered W.W. Tarn’s 1948 classic ‘Alexander the Great’).

To optimise my Alexander-experience, I set my phone to ‘do not disturb’ for 60 minutes. I choose appropriate background music (The Kaiser Chiefs for Alexander’s youth; Wagner for Alexander’s return-journey), while I surround myself with dictionaries and (historical) atlasses that might assist me when Alexander’s expedition is under way. Sometimes I put a poster up with a detailed map of the territory involved, so that I can really follow the development of the story. All these things together really help me get my mind off things that are happening around me.

I think a similar strategy could work for ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘Game of Thrones’, stories about ‘Donald Duck’ or ‘Mickey Mouse’ (combine this with Stravinsky!), or perhaps also with romantic literature (Tolstoy with Tchaikovski?). But be sure to think it through! The strategy only has effect if you are doing things in an unusual way. Try to make a real ritual out of it: move your armchair to the centre of the room every afternoon at four o’clock sharp, put on the music, turn off your phone, and dive into your fantasyworld for 60 minutes!

wrap up:

  • choose your fantasyworld
  • reposition armchair
  • set phone to ‘do not disturb’
  • choose suitable background music

Do you have another strategy to get through the corona-crisis? let me know by posting below!

[also: don’t forget to subscribe to this blog (fill in your emailaddress in upper right corner) to find out more about my coping strategies ;)]

About fbenedictus

Philosopher of physics at Amsterdam University College and Utrecht University, managing editor for Foundations of Physics and international paraclimbing athlete
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1 Response to Coping with Covid

  1. Marco van Hulten says:

    This sounds like good advice! I’d not say I’m experiencing significant social consequences from Covid-19 here in Norway, but I may try it anyway.

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