I am beginning my fourth month of coronavirus quarantine in Chengdu, but I have been keeping busy. In addition to practicing tai chi on my balcony, I have been taking private Chinese lessons online three times a week—already covered a year’s worth of material! Learning a new language or skill keeps the brain engaged and paves the way for new experiences in the future.
I derive great joy from teaching online classes for my university students in China, whose resilience and hard work impress and inspire me. Teaching others or being of service fosters feelings of connection and purpose.
Comedy, I’ve found, is a great way to stay positive. I like to tune into comedian Maria Bamford’s live stand-up sessions on Zoom to watch her develop new material. Her new special Weakness is the Brand, along with Schitt’s Creek and Curb Your Enthusiasm, had me chuckling through the tears and fears of quarantine.
If resources allow, therapy is an excellent sanity preserver and lifesaver. Free online support groups also provide solace and solidarity. Yoga and Zen meditation groups on Zoom are prime ways to get in the zone.
There is no place I would rather be right now than China, where I have felt safe and protected. But I am very worried about my family and friends back home.