“Being hopeful and optimistic for the future has been associated with better mental health and wellbeing.”
The infectious disease originated from China soon reached India too. We were hearing stories about what was happening in China. We never imagined the situation we will be in. Soon lockdown was imposed here too. So far, many citizens had never experienced such kind of situation except the older generation when they went through experience of black outs during Indo-Pak war in 1971. And, so, many reactions, emotions started emerging out.
Humanity is going through unprecedented times. For many of us, initial period of lockdown came as a shock. Slowly people started beginning to adapt to the situation. In terms of adapting, one thing I am aware of is how much negative news connected to Covid-19 is out there. And how much we are increasingly trying to avoid it. The Corona virus lockdown and news, along with the uncertainty and the ambiguity, can have negative impact on our mental state. Yet staying positive is a core ingredient in the recipe of successful coping in a crisis.
Ok, so we’re not in control of what’s happening. We might be stuck indoors for some time, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Our lives have changed radically, but what we can control is ourselves and how we adapt. Are there positive things and stories in this crisis that we can relate to? I think and hope there are.
I always believe that you’re stronger than you know. It is easy to be engulfed in the hopelessness that the pandemic brings with it, but hope goes a long way. Hope is what keeps us going. Get hope from your past resilience. You have got through so many things in the past because of your strength, and you will conquer this as well.
While some people have been safe in the relative comfort of their own home, others have faced difficult and upsetting situations.
During this period, people had to set and adapt to non-standard working hours or work from home culture to accommodate family and other personal commitments. By doing so, people have demonstrated that there is a work/life balance to be had that can suit personal circumstances, whilst also ensuring productivity and delivery for the business and our clients. With attitudes already starting to change in the last few years, will Covid-19 become a catalyst for further progressive change?
Your usual routines probably went out of the window a few weeks ago, right? But there are some activities you are still doing that can give structure to your day like taking daily exercise, sticking to your regular mealtimes and sleeping patterns. You might find it helpful to create a weekly picture calendar and put it up somewhere everyone can see it.
As a result of less travel, there is less stress. Enjoy ‘me’ time and getting to do things you never normally have the time to do. Develop hobbies, skills which also improves mental health & wellbeing. If you have been thinking of getting fitter, take up yoga or Pilates, or join a functional workout class from home. Many yoga and fitness trainers are offering classes online currently, follow them on their social media pages to find the best option. What’s more, the fitness and aerobics videos on YouTube can be real fun! At the time of anxiety, practice breathing slowly and deep. You need to do an activity for 3 weeks for it to become a habit, they earlier said. Even though that has been disproved, fitness experts will vouch for the fact that you can see the effects of in this time. I say, “build a new body”.
With factories closed, comes less CO2, NO2 and PM2.5 emissions. This has a wider impact towards climate change and zero carbon policies, which most organizations are now targeting. I read a news few days back that due to cleaner air, people from Jalandhar could see peaks of Himalayan ranges from 140 kms. Also, pre-mature mortality rate due to PM2.5 has come down drastically. The air also feels cleaner and brighter and healthier. The positive impact on the environment unquestionable (just lean out the window and hear how the traffic noise is reduced) and has the potential to reduce journeys and demand peaks on public transport networks. Which bring more sustainability.
On the line…. Online!! There is change in the way we use technology. We are realizing that not all meetings require to be held face to face and we are now starting to use technology to its full potential. Basically, we are working smarter to achieve the same results. Whilst face to face will likely always be a requirement for several key meetings, there is an opportunity to consider if this is always necessary. In the post-Covid-19 world, “no contact” might become the standard. Sanitary- and gadget-makers are working hard to bring out products that work on sensors, and tech companies like Apple and Samsung are trying to bring out phones that could work as virtual debit cards. Organizations may no longer need as much office space. Perhaps we will see the traditional desk space drop away and replaced with touch-down spaces and agile zones where we can collaborate with colleagues.
It’s time to avoid junk food, impulse snack purchase and focusing on healthy food. That is required to build immunity. Warm water with turmeric, black pepper and honey is simple way to build immunity, While, turmeric having antiseptic property, black pepper helps to digest turmeric. Develop passion to cook healthy food like greens and salad dressed up with toppings. It’s easy to make and tasty too. My salads, and my wife’s cooking, have benefited greatly from the opportunity to make more from less, and with the luxury of putting time into our culinary pursuits.
In this crisis, many people are re-learning how to slow down. This gives us more time to notice what is around us, especially walking around our local community. For example, birds, trees, other people, quieter roads, or interesting buildings. There are also far fewer cars on the roads. When we step outside, we now hear a mixture of silence alongside birdsong and people talking. Cherish it! Unless you signed up for a Vipashyana course, it is unlikely that you have experienced true quietude!
With the supply of commodities shrinking up, this is a good time to re-evaluate what you should consider essentials. Most of us have acquired too many belongings that complicate our life. Try and figure out what you really need and what you don’t. This is a good time to do some trimming. Rest assured, the experience will help you gain a completely different perspective on your life.
Savour the small moments even during lockdown. The smell of coffee, the feel of the warm shower on your back and so on. When you stop to take in these moments, rather than let them rush by on auto pilot, you are giving your brain a chance to process the pleasure, which boosts your serotonin – the feel good neurotransmitter that helps elevate your mood and make you feel calm.
All these past days, many of us were too busy with work. Many of us are finding staying at home an opportunity to strengthen family relationships through cooperative activities and shared entertainment. And just see how much you will cherish these moments later. Take the time to hug your kids or partner, look them in the eyes, have long conversations with them – all of these gestures promote closeness and also boost your oxytocin, which is a hormone that bonds people and also has a calming effect on your body. “The family that reads/streams together, stays together.” Yes, we miss going to the movies, concerts, and theatres, but there’s lots of good books, movies, and shows available in the home.
By tuning into these silver linings, you can potentially change your brain chemistry and build up your energy stores to help you cope with the other aspects of your day that have been made more difficult.
With the increasing COVID-19 scare, people have started maintaining personal hygiene. Habits like these not only prevent us from catching any disease but also keep our surroundings clean. Many are encouraging online transactions now.
Every dark cloud has a silver lining, and this is your chance to thicken that lining and take charge of your mental health so that you come out of this experience stronger. I feel many of us will never forget the positive things those are emerged affecting our health, lives.
Ultimately, the meaning of work has changed for many people. We are remembering that we do not just work for money. Some of us will have realized that our career is part of our identity, a purpose or a symbol of independence that may not have always been appreciated. Life after lockdown will never be the same, but do we really want it to be the same?
If you do not come out of this lockdown with either a new skill, developed hobby, more knowledge or with better fitness, you never lacked time, you lacked discipline. It does not matter your passion, hobbies change. Whatever you pursue, put everything in it.
Finally, I would like to end with quote:
“Once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in.”
—Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore