Is it possible to remain balanced during quarantine?

By Ioanna Achilleos Zavitsanaki*

Our constant exposure to technology in our professional as well as our social lives often leaves us feeling out of sync and out of touch with reality. To minimize the negative repercussions of our technology-based, fast-paced, adrenaline-run society on our mental and physical health, most of us try to re-balance ourselves by ensuring that we are still engaging in the same simple activities that people have enjoyed since the beginning of civilization. Among other things, we spend quality time with friends and family, make a conscious effort to get enough exercise, try to be an active and useful member of our community and keep our intellect and imagination stimulated through the arts.

However, Covid-19 has complicated matters further, placing extra pressures on our efforts to maintain balance. It has restricted our ability to take part in the aforementioned grounding activities, the seemingly obvious solution to the problem appearing to be their mutation into online versions of the real thing (online gym classes, live-streamed theatre, chat rooms, to name but a few examples). This solution is of course a practical and convenient one and even those that view the choice as an invidious one would still prefer an online version of their chosen activity rather than no version at all. And therewith lies the oxymoron: the simple activities we were depending on to balance ourselves away from technology in the first place, are themselves increasing our dependency on technology even more.The solution has become part of the problem.

And so, we are again led back to the same question: How do we maintain our balance and sanity after all that screen time? The answer remains unchanged: Through simple, real-life unadulterated experiences. Make no mistake, even in a quarantine situation there’s a lot we can still do off-screen. We can read a book, dance, sing, paint, play board games, teach our dog new tricks, bake a cake with our kids, plant a tree, learn a new piano piece, sit back and really observe that painting in our living room … And, since it does all sound rather Victorian, why not add recite poetry and take up needlepoint to the list? We could all come out of this extremely accomplished!

*Ioanna Achilleos Zavitsanaki is an entrepreneur and a member of the 77board of New Wave – The Other Cyprus.