Thanks to a little virus called Covid-19, we suddenly find ourselves in the midst of the apocalypse right now. For obvious reasons, no one is really quite prepared for it, except maybe for a few Doomsday Preppers living in their bunkers in Texas (who I’m sure now are tweeting: “Not so crazy now, are we?”). Such is the nature of the apocalypse.
Probably because of how out of the blue it all seemed, none of us seems to know how to quite handle the apocalypse. From hoarding masks and hand sanitizers (give them to healthcare workers risking their lives in the frontlines, you idiot) to rebelling against #SocialDistancing either for religious or simply selfish reasons (stay home, there are others put in danger by your stupid choices, you idiot), the whole world is freaking out. When it seems like one innocent cough can lead to your untimely death, how does anyone cope?
Fortunately, as a bipolar and lifelong drama queen, I have mentally prepared for the end of the world my whole life. I am a mental Doomsday Prepper, if you will. So, I thought I’d share a few practical tips on how you can stay (relatively) sane during the apocalypse. We’re all in this together (for once), so donate those surgical masks to the hospitals that desperately need them, and find other ways to calm down as we face our impending doom.
Send voice notes of your ramblings to your best friends.
Look, let’s face it, for us Indonesians probably the hardest part about this global pandemic is not the fact that this disease will maybe kill us all, but that we cannot hangout with our BFFs for who knows how long. We are social beings, dammit. And the free account from Zoom only allows 40 minutes of video conferencing, while we all know we need way more than 40 minutes to catch up with our friends - even if all they do is binge Love is Blind on Netflix all day. So before bed, when you find yourself lonely and longing for someone to ramble on to, close your eyes, imagine you’re at brunch with your besties and press record. Who knows maybe your ramblings could be the start of a new hit podcast?
2. Catch up on all the comedy specials you missed before the plague, and once you’re done, write and perform your own stand-up routine to your pets (or children, or long-suffering spouses).
If there’s one thing we Indonesians are good at is making jokes out of everything, including the most dire of situations. So instead of forwarding yet another meme you find on Instagram or 9Gag to your friends on WhatsApp, why not pretend you’re Miriam Maisel (from The Marvelous Mrs Maisel) and do your own comedy special in the comfort of your bed or couch? You don’t even have to be that funny. Trust me, that’s what your kids are for, they’ll laugh at anything. Your cats and teenagers will roll their eyes at you, but, hey, consider this your practice for the comedy club, in which you are bound to get heckled once in a while.
3. Practice your Oscar acceptance award speech.
Do you need any more explanation? All you need is a mirror and any bottle. Shampoo bottle works for me.
4. Do what the Italians do, and serenade your neighbors from your balcony.
Disclaimer: please only do this if you have the voice of an angel, or if you’re an undiscovered talent looking to go viral. A tip: your choice of song can really make or break you here. My suggestion, choose something uplifting and familiar so your neighbors (and the internet) can join in. But don’t do “Imagine”. It’s completely overdone at this point.
5. Help people out (without even leaving the house).
In all seriousness folks, even though this apocalypse has brought out the worst in us, I believe it can also bring out the best in us. There are so many out there who need our help. From healthcare professionals who are in the frontlines sacrificing their all to make sure the patients get the care they need, to ojek drivers who are losing their daily incomes, to various restaurants and small businesses who are forced to close their doors and let go of their employees. We can’t expect the government to take care of them all. They should, but that’s not realistic. We have to do our part in taking care of others too.
Staying home to #flattenthecurve is commendable, but if you can, step it up a bit. Raise some funds so you can donate medical supplies to hospitals, especially the ones in rural or remote areas. Go-Food or Grab-Food your meals and give your drivers a meal too. Order delivery from your favorite restaurants who have had to close their doors and could only do deliveries to sustain themselves. If you know any elderly person who lives alone or is away from their families, check up on them, send them meals, offer to get them groceries (you don’t need to go out, use the many apps available to your disposal). There are so many things you can do if you take your focus away from yourself and how this may affect you to others and how this has already affected them.
It’s too easy to get carried away in our anxiety during the apocalypse. And while centering yourself, taking deep breaths, and prioritizing self-care are all great tools to help you cope, I find that sometimes the best way to deal with anxiety is just to pivot. Pivot our attention and focus from ourselves to others. Pivot our need for help into our desire to help. Pivot our knee-jerk reaction to selfishly protect ourselves and hoard into our choice to share and contribute. Pivot our tendency to complain and criticize into our willingness to unite and come up with solutions.
We can do this. We are all in this together. As long as we are willing to extend love, kindness and hope, I think facing the apocalypse will be a walk in the park.