My Chinese Students Share Tips How to Keep Positive During COVID-19

As much as I didn’t want to write another blog post about COVID-19, I feel like this was too good not to share…

Let me brag on my students. There’s no doubt these guys had it rough. A few of them are even from the Hubei Province. I feel it’s my responsibility, as their teacher, to not act like “business as usual” in the classroom. To not give students the opportunity to write freely about the coronavirus is shortsighted and a missed opportunity to help students process historical events like this.

“This is my 66th day at home…” wrote Earl, one of my Chinese students, “and for the first time in my life, I didn’t travel during the Spring Festival. There wasn’t a holiday party, like my family has done for the last 18 years. We all hid in our own homes, and no one went out unless we bought vegetables and rice. My holiday felt completely empty. My friends and I cut off all real-life contact, and we chatted online about the next holiday plan and the headaches of online learning. Despite these challenges, a day came when our city police formed a convoy to escort one of our hometown’s doctors from the airport who returned from Wuhan City. Doctors from all over the country have been treating patients in Wuhan for more than 60 days, and now there are no new patients in Hubei Province, so these doctors had returned to their hometowns in batches. Seeing convoys escorting the mayor, escorting the bodies of heroes, even escorting the Madam president. Each full of people. I see people hanging out of their apartment windows cheering and praising loudly as they drive by. Down below, both sides of the street were empty and silent except for citizens celebrating above from their open windows. It was the greatest tribute to the returning doctor. A high praise.”

If you liked his telling of the story, you’re in for a treat! I have several others who responded to the writing task titled “The Corona Chronicles” that I think you’ll enjoy. In this assignment, students could write as little or as much as they wanted about COVID-19. To my surprise, they were gung-ho! A few reached out to share how eager they were to write, knowing it would help them process their thoughts, feelings, and experiences during this difficult time. What I didn’t expect to find was dozens of positive attitudes and suggestions for staying mentally and physically healthy! Now that I’m cooped up inside, when I start to feel like I’m about to spiral out of control, I recall my students’ words of advice.

With their permission to share, these nine tips, taken from their Corona Chronicles, can help out virtually anyone going through a slump.

1. Limited to Home Exercise? No Gym Fees!

“When I start to get really bored at home, I plan different exercises. I don’t want to lay in bed doing nothing every day, which would make me become lazy, so I start exercising in my room. I bought some exercise equipment online. Now I do yoga, aerobics, and ever since school started, I practice the exercises uploaded by our KIN teacher”

Bella
She’s holding a perfect plank

One task growing in difficulty is focusing on the bright side, which is why I appreciate her positive mindset! Bored? How about a fun workout like yoga or dancing in your living room? I’ve already done both!

2. Stay Productive: So Many Possibilities!

In fact, we can do lots of things at home! What I do most is read some books regularly, play on my computer, communicate with my friends on my phone, and study. My favorite activity is practicing listening by watching American movies

George
Mitchell says playing bass guitar is his favorite pastime

What a sneaky way to watch movies! I bet your parents think you have great listening skills, George. Ha! I have since watched movies in Spanish subtitles to strengthen my foreign language skills. I also practice my Chinese on the “Hello Chinese” app.

3. Social Distancing Doesn’t Mean Don’t Socialize!

Although we can not go out, me and my friends are constantly linked. Although the disease is merciless, there is always true love between people.

Jerry

Because of the epidemic, some of our ways of socializing have also changed. Yesterday my friend invited me to attend her birthday party, but I politely turned her down. As her good friend, I kept away from her, but in the middle of the night at twelve o’clock, during the first moment of her birthday, I sent her the sincerest blessing through WeChat.

In addition, I also video call with my friends and cheer them on for passing day 60. Though we are not in each other’s company physically, we are psychologically and spiritually connected, and we are all confident that we can survive the outbreak. We always say, “Come on, take care of yourself. When this awful outbreak is over, let’s go shopping, eat fried chicken, and go swing in the park.” This will bring us joy and encouragement!

Abby
Dmitri sent a “happy birthday” video to his friend

I’ve taken my students’ advice and plan to Face Time my family very soon! With all this technology nowadays, there’s no excuse to not reach out and check in on each other.

4. Brighten Someone’s Day with a Random Act of Kindness

When my best friend from elementary school got caught in the middle of the coronavirus while traveling from Guangzhou to Chengdu, the government asked her to self-quarantine in a hotel for fourteen days. On her 12th day, she found out a woman on the airport shuttle bus tested positive for corona, so she had to start her quarantine again. She was devastated and called me crying. To comfort this poor girl, I ordered her favorite cake and sent to the hotel where she lived temporarily.

Rebecca

Setbacks happen. So long as we’re surrounded by good, kind people, we can push through.

5. Limit Media Intake When You Feel Overwhelmed

I saw many videos on the news that recorded Wuhan during their most difficult time. Honestly, I was shocked and started to believe horror movies couldn’t be more relatable, especially compared to what we are suffering with at the moment. Two videos really hit me: one where a girl was chasing an ambulance, crying and yelling that she did not have her mother anymore; an old man who kneeled in front of a doctor and begged the doctor to save his daughter’s life.

What I am trying to say is, don’t panic. New cases from the media doesn’t mean death. People can still recover. The government is actually doing something. Don’t put your soul in those negative news sites. Things are getting better and better, so don’t panic.

Rebecca

More than ever, we shouldn’t believe everything we see on social media. Don’t add to the hysteria. China made it through. So will we!

6. Savor Your Time Alone

After I came back from Korea, I was quarantined for 14 days at a hotel. This was my first time to live in a closed space alone for such a long time. I felt really lonely at first and even felt scared at night, but soon I started to enjoy the time of myself, and valued the space of myself. I thought about my future and also reflected on myself for a long time. It was really a meaningful experience for me.

Hilbert

What started out as loneliness ended with a deep inner reflection. I definitely believe there’s a significant difference between lonely and alone! Meditation and goal-setting are good things to do with free time.

7. Try Your Hand at New Recipes!

My friend Samantha, Candice, and I all made delicious food at home. We share pictures with each other on WeChat. Every once in a while, we have a video chat, making fun of each other.

“Samantha, your cooking looks so ugly. Will it really taste good?”

“Oh, Serena, your stuff doesn’t look too good either.”

“Candice, you need to lose some weight. ha-ha.”

I hope we can really get together soon. In the meantime, I continue to learn a few dishes from my grandma at my house!

Serena

Lose weight? I hope they’re still friends after that conversation! I was inspired by their homemade meals, so I attempted to bake my first bread!

8. Strengthen Bonds with Your Family

Staying at home for a long time has increased the time I spend with my loved ones. I also understand that if there was no epidemic, I might not have had much communication with my family, and I wouldn’t have spent much time with them. I like spending time with our dog, and my feelings have become deeper. At the same time, it also made me realize that the feelings between people will not fade because they do not meet.

Zora

Family is really what matters most. When life gets busy, it’s easy to forget that! Take time to reconnect with loved ones.

9. Keep Faith! Do Your Part

For me, I live in Hubei Province where the coronavirus started. I never expected my home to be the most dangerous place in the world. I was scared and didn’t dare to go outside or order food online. I thought every person around me was not safe, even my parents. The government forced the policy, forbidding everyone from going outside. To avoid going out for work or food, everything was prepared by the volunteers or the watchers on every social block.

Day by day, we stayed at home, cooking on our own, learning guitar, watching TV, playing games–then suddenly, the situation got better, and everyone could go out into an atmosphere of victory.

My advice to foreigners is that it may seems hard to stay locked inside, but in my opinion, we should sacrifice our conveniences to save all the people around the country. And then, I believe the disease can be defeated one day and everyone can enjoy the fresh air outside.    

Archer
Siv knows how to lighten the moment but still say safe

Although China suffered some blows, the world has witnessed the unity and strength of the Chinese people. This is exemplified through my students.

In Conclusion

I’m genuinely so grateful to have students with such a good outlook on life. I’ve learned so much from them about the importance of positivity.

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