At the beginning of February, I was planning for 15 days of a family vacation and a few little trips to a weaver’s cluster to expand my category list. Little did I know, that everything around me will change, and we all will get isolated in our homes, with minimal exposure to the outside world.
The world I knew three months back wasn’t the same, it’s dark and gloomy. There are pain and sufferings everywhere in the world.
“It has taken over our lives, filling everything with a deafening silence and a distressing void that stops everything as it passes by; we feel it in the air … We find ourselves afraid and lost,” Pope Francis.
The entire world is fighting with COVID-19 pandemic collectively. Thousands are losing jobs, many industries are on the verge of being shut down, streets are empty, schools are closed and people are scared of each other.
This is a very stressful situation for everyone. There are grief and uncertainty everywhere. In our heart, we all know things will change.
This pandemic is spreading like a wildfire and we are not sure if it will end anytime soon and we can meet our friends and enjoy outside world, visit cafes and offices.
As per David Kessler, if we can name the feeling, perhaps we can manage it. We know this is temporary, but it doesn’t feel that way, and we realize things will be different. The loss of normalcy; the fear of economic toll; the loss of connection. We are not used to this kind of collective grief in the air.
This breaks our sense of safety. We’re feeling that loss of safety. Acceptance, as you might imagine, is where the power lies. We find control in acceptance.
As we all commit to isolation for the safety of ourselves and those around us, we have to remember to slow down and take joy in small things in our life. It is important to stay safe during this pandemic, both mentally and physically. My heart goes to the medical staffs who are on the front line selflessly fighting with corona-virus. My prayers are with them and their families.
Every dark cloud has a silver lining. And this time, while it may seem like the most difficult time and there is no doubt about it, it has also made us realise what is important for us – a healthy and safe family. If this time is respected for what it is, it will enable more light to shine through.
During this time, it’s very normal to feel anxiety and let fear cloud our judgement. I was losing my sanity until I talked to my friend. And, I am surprised the way she helped me come out of this. She and her family have been locked down starting mid-February.
There are a few things which she suggested to me and in the process, I tried something which helped me keep away myself from falling deep in the blackness.
Limit News & Social Media – Yes, we all want to stay informed and updated, about the developing pandemic but we need downtime – especially from what is going on out there right now. News is flooded with this pandemic and its devastating toll on human lives.
Refreshing newsfeed after every minute and scrolling social media platforms for the latest update will not improve the situation but will worsen our anxiety.
It will not be easy but you have to be strict with yourself. It is only going to make isolation harder.
Learn New Skill/Hobby – If there is anything that we have, during this lockdown is plenty of time. So without any excuse, now is our chance to take this time to rediscover some of those hobbies that we were passionate about and reignite our creativity. It is good for our mental and physical well-being, and can give the meaning to our expression.
I am using this time apart from journaling to hone my watercolour illustrations.
Talk to Friends and Loved Ones – It’s important to talk to your friends and loved ones to prevent the feeling of loneliness. It is so easy to begin to feel lonely, lost or trapped. This will help to ease the feeling of anxiety.
Also, call and message friends whom you haven’t talked in ages and you will see this little connection will help you both feel less alone and lots of things to talk about. I am exploring zoom call where I can talk to my gang at same time and enjoy virtual coffee date.
Organise & Declutter – If you are anything like me who dread opening the closet to search for missing dress then this is the time when you can take out debris in solitary and organise at your slow speed.
If you’re looking for something to do for the day, declutter a room in your house. Ground rule if you didn’t look for something in past six months or so and did fine you will not need that specific item in your room.
Meditate/Exercise – We’re in a moment of uncertainty and high stress and deep, intentional breathing is an effective strategy to calm soul and mind. It will be difficult to shut all noises within you and meditate and you will need a stronger driving force to practise.
Research shows that mindfulness meditation and can reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression. Simple long, deep breaths for two minutes will help with anxiety.
Exercise has long been shown to have a beneficial effect on mental health, and it is no different now. Any form of exercise to get that daily dose of natural energy to recharge your body.
Enjoy your surrounding – Confined to our home, we can pause and take time to breathe, to get fresh air, enjoy our surrounding, and disconnect from tech devices.
This is the most difficult time, but you can also make it a special time by finding activities you can do together with your child, even if it’s only for 15 minutes a day.
While, under lockdown, while sitting in my library room, I have started noticing and enjoying the first ray of sun, the beauty of blooming flowers, birds chirping sound and swishing sound of the wind. This lockdown has made me pause, enjoy little things in life and devote more time in things that matter.
This time has surely made me more reflective, more compassionate towards other beautiful living species that co-exist with us on this plant.
The Navajo teach their children that every morning when the sun comes up, it’s a brand new sun. It’s born each morning, it lives for the duration of one day, and in the evening it passes on, never to return again. As soon as the children are old enough to understand, the adults take them out at dawn and they say, “The sun has only one day. You must live this day in a good way, so that the sun won’t have wasted precious time.” Acknowledging the preciousness of each day is a good way to live, a good way to reconnect with our basic joy. – ― Pema Chödrön, The Wisdom of No Escape: And The Path of Loving-Kindness: How to Love Yourself and Your World
We’ll emerge from this crisis even stronger and more collaborative. Be kinder than necessary to yourselves, your kids, and everyone else. That’ll make a massive difference as we all navigate our way through this.