Representional image | A passenger wearing a protective mask in the Universidad de Chile subway station prior to a quarantine order in Santiago | Cristobal Olivares/Bloomberg
Representional image | A passenger wearing a protective mask in the Universidad de Chile subway station prior to a quarantine order in Santiago | Cristobal Olivares/Bloomberg
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It has been more than a year since the Covid-19 pandemic took over our lives, plundering our joy and demolishing everything that stands between us and the things we want to achieve.

We’ve all gone through the seven stages of grief, we’ve all dealt with a form of isolation we shouldn’t have had to deal with and we’ve all desperately tried to understand the point of Dalgona coffee.

I often find myself switching between two primary emotions — feeling angry at the world and then feeling exasperated at my exasperation. Many of us have developed several ways to cope with this exact feeling. Many spend their time updating Covid resources for others to use, some have perfected the art of baking (somewhat edible) cakes.

I, personally, lie down on my bed and stare at the ceiling fan several hours at a stretch, an activity that my entire family has criticised me for.

But that’s besides the point. We’ve all read and discussed, at length, the failings of the government, Modi and his suicide squad. We have all tried to somehow contribute to easing the burdens of those affected by this pandemic. And lastly, we all share the guilt of feeling like we haven’t done enough to help our fellow compatriots.

The point of this article is to tell you, dear reader, that you shouldn’t feel this way. We have suffered, we have suffered plenty, and we are all exhausted. I aim to help you handle this exhaustion productively.

I tend to follow a simple yet elegant, two-step solution to managing myself during these trying times.

Do not pressure yourself into doing something you do not want to do

Given a choice between doing something and doing nothing, an individual will usually do nothing. Considering the circumstances, I think that is perfectly fine. Feel like skipping that one online class that always gets on your nerves?

Bunk it. That class is probably not worth it anyway.

You deserve a pass. You don’t owe anyone an explanation about why you are skipping one college class in a country whose leaders actively encourage consuming gaumutra to prevent illness.

Suppose somebody happens to ask you for an explanation. In that case, I urge you to find the courage in your soul to tell them to attend two of your economics classes, after which I am sure they will rationally consider your viewpoint.

Make time to do the things you like

I understand that you may have been forced into circumstances wherein you have no option but to pressure yourself into doing something you don’t want to do. If this is the case, then make time to do things you like.

Once you’ve attended your online classes and completed your chores, do something you enjoy doing or maybe something you’ve been meaning to do for a while now. I attempted to read Hamlet. I was unsuccessful, but at least I tried. If you have a terrace large enough to fly a kite on, please indulge yourself. Maybe you’ve been meaning to try your hand at poetry or sweep everybody’s feet off the ground in that new outfit you got, ot perhaps you don’t want to do anything at all.

Look at your options as a multiple-choice question, but ‘All of the above’ is always the right answer.

Your time is your own

I must admit that a significant chunk of what I’ve written about comes from a place of privilege, a privilege that I am most fortunate to have. I apologise for this linear perspective, and I would like to acknowledge that it’s perfectly acceptable to disregard everything I have told you.

But if there’s one thing I wish for you to retain, it’s the fact that you should cut yourself some slack and remember that it’s okay to do that, considering everything going on.

So, go and do what you like. Go and listen to Justin Bieber’s trashiest hits without feeling any guilt, go and paint a portrait of your dog, try those impractical DIY clothing hacks you see on Instagram or engage in a Twitter civil war. Your time is yours and yours alone.

You have done your best, and you may not have even realised it. You made it this far. You survived this long, and it would benefit you to hang in there a little longer.

“You will suffer, son of Hades!’ What else is new? Nico thought.” –  The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan

Akshit Bahri is a student of CHRIST (Deemed to be University), Bengaluru

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