Photo by Fuu J on Unsplash
Welcome y’all to this strange new world order we are in!
Strange because this has never happened to any of us before — The pandemic, the lockdown, quarantine, corona, virus, hyper-sanitizing, distancing. These words have even become day-to-day parlance.
The unknown change gave us little or no time to brace up to the order of the day. Going with the flow seemed to be the only choice. The wise have embraced this change whereas some have given in to the panic brought by this pandemic.
As for me, I am a student of life. Every new situation and the change that follows gives me an opportunity to learn and unlearn. It’s a bittersweet feeling.
Sharing my thoughts as a part of the blog series #PandemicDiaries2020 by Ila – a thoughtful initiative that brings us to have a closer look at:
- the roller coaster of a ride that we are in and
- a friendly reminder that we all are in this together
It was sometime in the early spring of 2020 that corona became a household name. I first heard about this outbreak in February on the news channel. I certainly didn’t know what to make of it. And little did i know it would change the world and transform the lives of every individual on earth.
Even today, right from our choices to decisions — all that we care and all that matters is lined with this thought of an unknown pandemic.
This unknown and unabating virus a.k.a novel coronavirus (nCoV) is around for quite a long time having a free ride.
Many of us didn’t expect the duration of the pandemic to be this long. I didn’t either. Yet, today we are planning our lives around it.
The truckload of information readily available on the web and chat groups that we all gobble up like little minions is the cause of our worry. There is a lot of anxiety and fear around the topic. The element of the unknown itself brings with it many fears — most of it origins from imagination than facts. The fact to remember – this virus is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
I keep saying this to whoever i speak – “corona is for the body what anxiety and fear are for the mind.”
Both are equally harmful. It’s good to be aware of the situation around us and even better to know the situation inside of us — our mental wellbeing.
Anxiety has a cost in our lives, and to recognize that cost puts us back in perspective. For instance, during times of uncertainty, we can focus on our basic human needs – for safety, survival and connection. We can meet most of our basic needs by:
- Using our rational mind
- Focus on what is in our control
- Recognize the fear and its origin
- Mental reflection and reason
- Focus on what you already have
Again, use your rational mind. Keep calm and understand that by taking precautions, you’ll be best prepared to physically and mentally withstand the pandemic and its impact on you.
Patterns of change:
- The needs of individuals, families and even companies and their clients are changing.
- We are spending a significant amount of time at home and on home-based activities.
- Home is turning into office, school and daycare. Conducting most of our affairs from home is no easy affair.
- Our choices and consumption patterns are changing. We are now resuming to just needs than wants. Giving in to what is right than what’s convenient.
- We are forced to think. Think hard, as the situation we are in is new. The older solutions won’t work for the current challenges.
- With technology to our advantage, we are now closer to innovation than ever before.
It’s overwhelming at times.
But, it’s not all bad news. There is more good than bad.
The new normal
After going through the roller coaster ride of emotions as an individual, as a family, as a community, as a team, as a nation, we are now adapting to this new normal. Some changes this UNSETTLING period has brought us is noteworthy and got me thinking.
Good things to mention here are:
- We now communicate more with family. We are around each other most of the time. This makes us stronger to deal with the situation.
- We talk to distant family and friends to check on them. This new found empathy in itself is working as a medicine.
- Thanks to technology platforms making it easier to connect with just a click of a button.
- We are making conscious decisions about eating habits, cooking most or all meals at home. Lost recipes are finding back its place in our kitchens.
- At work, people have started to behave sensibly with their co-workers. The usual disturbances of the online catch-up calls which were common even before are being brushed off easily now. All thanks to the same boat all are traveling – It’s easier to relate and say it’s alright.
- Parents are trying to be sensitive toward children – not forcing them to do the daily drill. Children have earned their much-needed freedom to learn at their pace, to play and just be.
While it’s greener pastures in the kid-world. The adult world is witnessing stress and anxiety
There are four proven ways to help cope with anxiety and stress caused by the outbreak, These include:
- Keep the risk in perspective
It helps to understand your odds, not only of exposure but also what might happen if you get infected. Know what you can control. We all have control over our own exposure risk, by following CDC (Center for Decease Control and Prevention) and WHO guidelines on how to keep from getting infected by the virus in the first place.
While I can’t totally claim to be self-quarantining, I am following the recommended protocol from WHO and staying home when I can.
- Be aware and take prescribed precautions
Be alert for symptoms. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or any other symptoms of COVID-19. Take your temperature and follow CDC guidance if you have symptoms. Be extra careful if you’re older and with a medical history, your risk increases for higher symptoms. So be aware and take just enough precautions to be safe. Refer to the detailed guidelines on safety and symptoms from the CDC and WHO.
- Avoid over-consumption of media
Limit media consumption, because it just reinforces our emotional response to feeling anxious. It helps to be aware that anxiety has a cost in our lives.
- Use your coping mechanism
Resume to your coping skills, whether it be reading, writing, journaling, meditation, relaxation or breathing exercises, or any form of exercise, or something else. Start a long-forgotten hobby or pursue your passion. Read and learn more about it. This will keep you in good spirits.
And remember we are all in this together
Most of us today share a common ground regardless of gender, race, religion, nationality, ideologies. We all share this threat and we are in this together. People and communities are avoiding meeting one another.
The paradox, however, is that in the midst of current events, beyond the crisis, we need a connection with each other more than ever.
So let’s not forget to give that big smile and talk to each other openly. Vulnerability is a good virtue. Wear it as your badge. Talk and listen.
It’s heartening to see people and workgroups taking mental health seriously and taking time off to talk. Discussing openly on digital meeting platforms with colleagues and workgroups about the state of mind has become a new normal. Not sure how many did this before. It’s a good change and a welcome change.
One pandemic and we are talking about mental health and wellbeing. Things we were taking for granted before.
Take social distancing seriously but never isolate. Read, Write, Talk, Sing is the mantra. #staysafestayhome
The real test of resilience is now – amid uncertainty and chaos.
We are wondering what to make of this change and trying to make some sense out of it. And, if you’re a parent, making your kids understand what this lockdown and distancing mean is another story 🙂
I and my kid together have tried a whole lot of things during this #lockdown not to let this pandemic stop the fun and the learning. I will talk about it in my next blog.
Finally, focus on things that are within your immediate control in life, and to put aside (and stop thinking about) things that you have little to no control over. Keep the FOCUS on you and do it with ZERO regrets.
Awareness is all!
This post is a part of the blog train – The Pandemic That Changed Our Life Upside Down hosted by blogger Ila Varma to bring our experiences together. Thanks to Ishieta Chopra for introducing me to the blog train. Do read her blog where she has shared her personal journey and her hobbies. Don’t miss swinging by Sreemayee’s post on her view on the pandemic and lockdown.
I loved the last takeaway point so much that focus on things that we can control and avoid putting attention on those that beyond our control. You had given most important life lesson with this post. Thanks
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Thanks Surbhi. That’s also a way to tell and remind myself to keep my focus readjusted during challenging times.
Beautifully curated post. Yes, we have never expected this pandemic to go this far but seeing a positive side is haven’t we tested our own limits beyond our own limits. It shows that when needed we can adapt to the change. And that adaptability is th biggest gift for everyone. We have understood the importance of simple things, have understood how to live sustainable and minimalistic living. I really liked what you wrote in the end.. “Keep the FOCUS on you and do it with ZERO regrets. “
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Yes Alpana, this has opened me to so many possibilities I didn’t pay attention to earlier. Slow living is one of them and just to be aware of every moment. Thanks for leaving your comments:)
Excellent post. It is really a time to not lose focus and do what we have to do. Change is inevitable..And we need to accept it.. go with the flow.
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Nice post. Pandemic has taught us to adopt minimalist approach towards life. We’re buying only those we actually need, not that we want. It is increasing my savings as well.
Very interesting insightful post about Pandemic, indeed it made us realize the value of many forgotten granted things. So agree with you on stop over consumption of media, limiting the media was actually the first step towards the positive acceptance of new normal.