The Coronavirus has taken the world by storm and while the world is reeling from the lockdowns, it's time to reflect on the learning and lessons during this time.
TW: There is a lot of material and news around the outbreak of COVID19 (also referred to as the Coronavirus) - If this is a topic area which is unsettling for you or makes you anxious, it is advisable to not read ahead.
The coronavirus hit us by surprise and consumed us within months and weeks depending on where in the world we were. Nobody predicted that it would kill so many people, force countries to lockdown, shut schools and public places and put our lives on hold in the way it has. Each one of us has had time to be pragmatic over the lock down and these are my learnings.
The first lessons was around acknowledging the gravity of the situation and then taking a break when I saw it taking a toll on my well being. Initially, like many of us, I completely downplayed the situation because I never saw it becoming as huge as it has. Never had it ever occurred to me that this was the extent of the problem we were facing, and I looked at it with a very skeptical eye as well for the longest time. However, once I did acknowledge the situation, that’s when it hit me as to how large the problem we had at hand. Things started to spiral downhill from there as I slowly became drawn into the frenzy of watching the news and the pandemonium of social media - it felt like I was looking at a live ticking time bomb, each Refresh had the number of infected cases increasing and that rose my anxiety levels. That’s when I knew I needed to pull the plug - I took a break from Twitter in particular and turned off the notifications from the News apps on my phone (some of them are doing live Coronavirus blogs mind you!). If you need to take that break, take it - because your mental health and wellbeing is so much more important than knowing every little statistic out there. In the long run, it is your mental health which will also help you build physical immunity and resilience to ward off various germs and infections as well.
There is tremendous power in human connection. We all have a close knit of individuals who we connect with strongly and turn to in every situation. One of the things which makes the COVID19 even harder for many is the element of distancing and self-isolation. We need to realise that we may be distancing physically but that doesn’t mean we need to socially disconnect from our loved ones. There is power in technology and even greater power in human connection. Now that we can’t go out and keep busy, the best way to combat loneliness is to be in regular contact with our dear ones, by chatting over the phone or video chatting. This is the time to have long talks and deep conversations. Don’t forget human connection during these crucial times. While you’re at it, set boundaries - if you find the discussions around COVID19 affecting your mental health and wellbeing, let others know and be mindful yourself as well.
Our connections are precious, the ones we have with others and ourselves. ME Time & learning to enjoy your own company is extremely crucial. It’s so hard for some of us to just be still and do nothing. Being alone, especially for extroverts can be exhausting and lonely, and while people assume this is something which comes naturally to introverts, it is not the case for everyone. Social distancing can be very difficult, but it can also teach you a lot about yourself. You learn how to keep yourself busy and find activities which you truly enjoy. Your body and mind are your home and you must learn how to love and live with them. Eventually binge watching three seasons of a TV show won’t be enough anymore and will have to try doing something else. It is imperative to focus on our wellbeing and finding activities which keep your mindfulness as a priority and this should then become a part of our daily schedule, even after this lockdown is over.
It is Ok to Not be Ok - We’ve all heard this phrase so many times, but have we embraced it when it comes to our own feelings? One of the hardest things around the current times for many people has been dealing with their mental health, particularly their anxieties around this time. There will be others who will dismiss your feelings and make you feel as if you are overreacting, but everything that you feel is real for you, and that’s what matters the most, not the opinion which others attach to your feelings. We need to embrace our feelings and reach out for help if we need it - it doesn’t make you weak, it in fact makes you more self-aware and that is a sign of being strong.
The lockdowns and the extent of disruption to our lives due to the outbreak has taught us is that Life is uncertain. Life is fragile and uncertain and, in these times, more than ever, we must reflect, ponder and be grateful for all that we have.
During this chaos, we realize the weight of humanity, the implications of our actions and how we all are connected. While some wait for borders to be opened, so that they can go back home in the comfort of our bed, we hear the shouts of refugees louder, we 'empathize' with those who have been uprooted from their home, and force to flee, we understand their pain and suffering because we know to a small extent how it feels to be trapped and have no choice but to flee. For those of us who have seen the panic in leaving countries, in grabbing the last item from the grocery shelf or getting things done before the lock down, let us not take for granted all these things which we discounted before. Let us appreciate the things we often take for granted - shelter, clean water, food, jobs, shops, work, education, activities… the freedom of movement!
When we look back at these times, we each will have our own stories to tell - these will be stories of resilience, hope and humanity on how we persevered through these times - a true embodiment of the human spirit and humanity. For now, while we are locked down, let us count our blessing and try and see the lessons this has been teaching us along the way so that we can emerge stronger and wiser as a result of all we've experienced.
Written by: Vedica Podar