A week into the Extreme Enhanced Community Quarantine, I have managed to lessen my anxiety. Or maybe, I’m just in denial. I don’t know yet, the next few days will reveal what’s up. I’ve been reading Jessica Zafra’s Journal of a Lockdown to keep my sanity. After all this, I hope she makes a book out of those posts, I’m buying it.
Wake up, read the news, talk to my friends, wash my hands, cook (I don’t want to wash the dishes), take a bath, nap, check if Jessica Zafra posted a new entry, wash my hands again, cook again, pray, and sleep. That’s my routine.
This quarantine made me a Jessica Zafra stan (a fan) and I thought I might share my favorite episodes of her talk show, The Sanity Maintenance Program. (Subscribe in Studio B and watch for free.) From the show’s title, it’s pretty self-explanatory. Every episode, they talk about social issues, insights on how to solve them, and more importantly how do you stay sane amid chaos.
1. Marika Melgar Episode
There’s more to therapy than the cliche, “How does that make you feel?” Marika Melgar, a clinical psychologist, shares with Jessica Zafra how a typical therapy session goes.
Melgar pointed out that we should advocate for listening as well. While it’s important to express your feelings, not a lot of people are willing to listen. This is relevant now more than ever. In these stressful times, reach out to your friends who are feeling down and really listen to them. If you’re feeling anxious, talk to people who induce a sense of calm rather than panic. Your friends and distant loved ones need to hear your voice. Call them, unless they hate phone calls, maybe just text them.
2. Naomi Fontanos Episode
Naomi Fontanos, a trans activist and executive director of GANDA (Gender and Development Advocates) Philippines, answers SOGIE (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Expression) questions. She shares with Jessica Zafra the basics of SOGIE, the daily struggles of the trans community, and how community care is the best way to stay sane in the face of discrimination.
Self-care must be turned into community care. We must reflect on how we impact our community. Those who use their positions to get special treatment to get their COVID-19 test results earlier and to acquire special powers, remember John F. Kennedy’s wise words: “To whom much is given much is required.” Selfishness and greed will not cure us. We are all interconnected. The virus doesn’t discriminate. No one’s invincible. Rich or poor, it will infect everyone if we don’t collaborate to address it.
3. Gang Badoy Capati Episode
Where do I even begin? This has got to be the meatiest conversation among all the episodes. Gang Badoy Capati, an alternative educator and advocate for social change, said that breaking down once in a while is key to sanity maintenance. We’re so quick to shut down anxiety but it’s not always a bad thing. It’s okay not to be okay. Fear and anxiety remind us that we’re fully human. Sometimes, it’s smart to be scared. It helps us to know there’s a problem. It’s like an itch that motivates us to act to solve that problem. Just don’t let it consume you, make routines that calm and ground you.
Another salient point: They talk about the pressing need for a government that’s “completely boring but super functional.”
We can’t go back to the way we were. This is the time to take it all in, observe. When we vote, we will remember those compassionate leaders. When we search for jobs, we will look for a company that knows that people will always trump profit in times of crisis. Everywhere we go, we will look for kindness.
Stay sane, everyone!