Below is a short blog inspired by an online discussion held by the community-driven initiative in Lebanon Youth Against Corruption (YAC) on the mental and physical well-being of youth during the coronavirus pandemic. With over 70 participants joining the webinar, YACtivists, family members, and youth from different parts of the world participated in the talk and shared their concerns, fears, and experiences in this difficult period. Guest speakers Clara Nader and Zakhia Daccache shared their experiences and highlighted the importance of self-reflecting and taking responsibility for our actions both during and after this quarantine period.
The talk made everyone present realize that no matter where they are now, whether they are living in a developed or developing country, they are facing the same challenge today. It took a virus to make people realize how connected they all are, and how each person’s actions, no matter how small, makes a difference in the world. Yet, fighting COVID-19 and healing Earth first entails healing the inner self first, as the guest speakers explained during the session. Since YAC saw many similarities between COVID-19 and corruption, such as both being contagious, devastating, and hidden, YAC believes that both can be controlled and prevented if people decide to take action and fight back with collective and joint efforts. This is especially vital since although both can target anyone, they both have detrimental impacts on the most vulnerable. With innovative, holistic, and smart strategies and solutions in place, both corruption and COVID-19 can be easily fought through small actions by everyone, including the youth. To do this, YAC believes that prioritizing people’s well-being through self-reflection is highly essential. As Dave Hollis said, “In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to.”
THE SILVER LINING OF COVID-19
COVID-19 has put the whole world in despair, panic, and confusion. Yet, such a pandemic can serve to help people living on this planet realize three key lessons to live by after the quarantine period.
First, COVID-19, the contagious virus, serves to remind us that there are certain issues in life that if left uncontrolled or unmanaged can be contagious and tragic. For example, corruption, if left uncontrolled, is contagious in the sense that people can normalize and increase such behavior. Another example is associated with having a negative mindset, habit or attitude. Such a behavior can bring the whole team and atmosphere down if left present and unquestioned. One needs to take a step back and reflect on one’s daily actions, addictions, and emotions, with social distancing being key from time to time to refresh both our mental and physical health. One’s physical body should always be listened to, as it has a lot to say about one’s well-being at a certain point in time, especially that external energy affects internal energy.
Second, fighting the virus by adapting and changing our daily actions serves to remind us of the importance of being flexible with the way we deal with our lives, which can turn out to be for our advantage. Although we are always asked to plan our lives since day one, having a positive and flexible mindset is key to achieve our planned goals. Staying in quarantine gives us the time we always needed to re-evaluate our goals and actions, and just like what combating COVID-19 requires from us, achieving positive results requires a great amount of commitment, patience, and resilience from all.
Last but not least, the widespread virus that affected everyone, though to different extents, is a reminder that people are all equal humans at the end of the day living on the same planet. It serves to remind us that we are all living on an interconnected planet within interconnected systems, where if one system fails, all other systems can be affected. This system also includes the natural environment we live in, which we highly influence, sometimes negatively. What matters most in our lives is the love and connection we have with our environment and with our selves, and constantly maintaining those relationships is what matters at the end of the day.
As there is an uphill for every downhill, this virus serves as a wakeup call. A wakeup call to rethink our thoughts, habits, and actions since we live in a world where the benefit of the greater good and mother nature is vital for a better tomorrow for everyone. Taking the blame is different than taking responsibility and today we are called to take responsibility for ourselves, our communities, our nations, and our planet.
What has the coronavirus taught you? How are you coping with the quarantine? Feel free to share below!