Learning through a crisis

Everyone has a different response to a crisis and I want to preface this whole post by saying it comes without judgment. I respond to panic with an intense urge to be busy and distract myself which I have learnt over the years to at least filter into “useful” (to me) things rather than the more destructive habits of my past. All that to say that I don’t think it’s better or worse to do one thing over the other in a global pandemic.

The way I’ve been coping is to cling to the habits I’d started before the crisis, though not completely. For example, I haven’t been reading much at all – my mind just won’t connect to the words and I have to re-read everything even when I’m enjoying the subject.

Instead I’ve been working on my languages just like I was before, though I have more time to do it. Working from home every day cuts down the 2-3 hours of commute time each day, which means I can spend some extra time studying. Though of course it doesn’t feel like studying when I’m doing it for fun. Perhaps that’s the defining point; I don’t feel like I’m being ‘productive’, nor do I care about that. This is how I have fun and unwind.

I’ll do an update on each of the languages in a separate blog post but to summarise: I’ve quit Modern Standard Arabic and switched to Levantine Arabic, and it’s a joy. I’m still practising French often. I’ve had lots of opportunities to study Irish in groups lately, and Russian is starting to take at least the vaguest outline of a shape in my mind at last.

Other than languages, I’ve been doing yoga once a day every day. It’s very useful to me because this situation is exacerbating my existing anxiety issues, so to have the chance to move my body and get some exercise which helps me a lot. I recently bought a new yoga mat with a snake on it and I love it (I’ve been using the same crappy mat for 8 years).

Getting back to writing in this blog is scary, so I’m going to abruptly stop here. I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe.

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