There’s something about being forced by a crisis to stay inside that encourages a deep reflection of one’s well-being. The boundaries of your dwelling begin to collect more dust from your presence. New routines are formed while the passage of time confounds your temporal agency. Meanwhile, the contents of your mind assume many forms as they bounce around your consciousness, pondering the unknown.
This experience during the pandemic has both its objective and subjective qualities. How the world is coping demonstrates the important role technology plays in our lives. The strength of our interconnectedness being challenged by this abrupt change remains to be tested. On the other hand, our personal struggles of continuing school online or switching to remote working are accompanied by the stress induced to our mental health. We distract ourselves with entertainment on social media or workshops that have emerged all over the internet, yet it’s easy to return to a headspace where the uncertainty of our future reigns supreme.
In my own experience, the time during lockdown was both anxiety-inducing and transformative. While I had a companion to speak to, there was plenty of time for silence. In those quiet moments, I had my own thoughts to listen to. It was inescapable, this voice within, a mirror of myself which echoes unadulterated thoughts. The sound of space has been amplified from months of familiarity with every inch of my apartment. But it rang louder. The things I once postponed during times of confrontation have nowhere to hide anymore. Each of them brought to the surface, demanding attention, some form of resolution. But how do we confront ourselves in these trying times?
Most of us at school are from different countries. This unfortunate situation has made what we hoped to be an exciting time in our life — in a beautiful city — rather underwhelming. So we look to our institution to provide answers or remedy. Apart from academic workshops, Prague College also offers activities deemed helpful to our mental health. Masa's Zoom Room, a student-only space offered “creative and practical activities devised to relax, explore and support students”. Nelli Pontes of student services is also a qualified yoga instructor and invited those who would like to join virtual yoga classes requiring only “ a yoga mat, comfortable clothes, an open mind and a bit of curiosity.” While a meditation/mindfulness session was conducted by Filip Rosenkranc to “develop the ability to relate to our thoughts and feelings in a mindful and non-judgmental way”.
With all of these resources available, is there more to our current state of mind that needs to be addressed? Perhaps there is also a benefit to disconnecting every now and then, to simply be alone. Meditate, do breathing exercises on your own, or just listen to what goes on inside.
I listened. I allowed the conversation to become more intimate, the kind of intimacy that was strange yet inviting. There was comfort from the discourse and a sense of strength in confronting my shadow. The simple act of being kind to myself revealed a brand new outlook on connections I make outside of my own skin, reinforcing what’s inside to build stronger bonds to external relationships.
There’s never been a better time in our lives to dive deep into our consciousness and explore what’s underneath. Listen and empathize.