I am worried.

I have been trying to keep the panic at bay by keeping myself busy while working from home, but today I received news that most of my industry friends had lost their jobs. This did not surprise me considering the travel industry came to complete stand still in mid-march. I suspect I will be unemployed or put on unpaid leave by end April, not that there is much of a difference between the two considering my biggest worry is money and staying afloat.

While trying to navigate this and all the hurdles this pandemic has thrown my way, I have seen a few tips on the interwebs on how to cope and also how to make the most of my “down time”. One of the most absurd things I have seen in this vein is the incessant call for productivity while the world ends. I truly find it a little amusing that I am meant to be creating content while simultaneously worrying about my livelihood and/or death by pneumonia or hunger if this continues for a few more months. But then again here I am churning out content so I digress. Speaking of – here are a few things I am doing to keep the gnawing dread away which you may also consider during these uncertain times:

Read print books

As much as it is good to stay informed during a crisis, it is healthier to limit your news consumption to once or twice a day. I know this is practically impossible because of social media, which is why I would suggest time off from your phone screen. If you are reading this pre lockdown- head down to Bee Books and stock up on books. (K300 a book last I checked) Turn off your data/Wi-Fi and get lost in a world of wonder. I am currently re-reading my old books for 3 hours each day,but I will go stock up before lockdown.

Watch Malawian YouTube

I try to watch Malawian YouTube, I really do. But I find that most Malawian You-tubers are abroad and that turns me all the way off. I wish I knew more Malawian YouTubers based in the country,so please suggest local youtubers for me to check out in the comments

I have also taken to watching content by Malawian Tv’s that has been uploaded to YouTube. A couple of days ago, I came across Miss Malawi 2017 which is arguably the most spectacular Miss Malawi Pageant in recent memory. I remember following the whole thing on social media but I still had not watched any of the show. I found some auditions, bikini photoshoots and the finale. It was so gratifying to see many familiar faces strutting their stuff.

Play board games

I rediscovered board games this year after 14 years of practically forgetting their existence. I find that I quiet like how I feel when I am winning monopoly. I reckon it’s an amazing way to pass time and bond with our lock down buddies/family.

Watch Foreign films

I know subtitles are an eyesore to some of you, (I love them, prefer them even) but hear me out – most of the time what deters us from watching foreign movies is their lack of mainstream appeal, we worry we might not understand the context or message of the film. But – as the world is taking some time off to reflect on capitalism and our dire socioeconomic disparities, it is also time you start consuming more meaningful visual art with the same and more universal themes and experiences.

All around the world directors and screenwriters are producing incredible films and it would be a shame for you to let “one inch tall barriers of subtitles” stop you from consuming deeply moving art.

Watch:

All of Bong Joon Ho’s movies

This list of movies according to the insider (some African movies including our own made it)

The Platform – just watch this trailer

Practice acts of kindness

I saw on twitter the other day that one of my creative writing teachers has pneumonia, she is based in the US and I was gravely worried. I then sent her an email to check on her and to thank her for being my teacher.

I have since decided to send random emails and messages of goodwill and gratitude to the people I care about because not everyone is going to tweet about how they are feeling. These are isolating times and covid-19 is an isolating disease- literally, I think it’s important for people to not fall into loneliness and despair. Let us reach out to our friends, family and acquaintances because we never know how they are coping during these difficult times.

Ask for help

I know according to social media, it seems like most of the people we interact with are well equipped to deal with the lock down. But you may have some concerns and worries about how you will even survive this. You are not alone and there is no shame in struggling. I know everyone is buckling down as we go into lock down, but if you know anyone you can reach out to for financial assistance that would actually help you then you should. What you live on for the next 21 days – couple of months does not matter, we are all making lifestyle adjustments. All that matters is that we make it to the other side.

Please remember to wash and sanitize those hands, phones and surfaces. Stay at home and stay safe. Hit my DM if you need to talk.

Love you always,

Xa