“Everything that is done in this world, is done by hope”- Martin Luther
The one thing knitting us all together, during this state of lockdown resulting from the life-threatening COVID-19 pandemic, is hope. A hope for seeing the ‘light at the end of this ongoing long, dark tunnel’ and praying for a better, renewed world and a stronger sense of community and togetherness. Whilst some people are experiencing numbness and disbelief in this entire scenario, some are battling anxiety and are more susceptible to contracting the disease. Whichever end of the spectrum you fall on, this is a time for practicing consideration towards everyone; to ensure the safety of as many people as possible, and spreading love, positivity and support, without losing our own sense of balance amidst all of this turmoil.
Keeping these few reminders in mind will help us to not only develop a stronger mental attitude towards this entire situation but will also thereby equip us to be better, more efficient and helpful members of our community.
- ESTABLISHING A STRONG SUPPORT SYSTEM: With regard to high-risk individuals like the elderly and people with underlying health issues, it is crucial to understand the gravity of this situation. Not only is it advisable to maintain a safe distance from them, owing to their weak immunity, but it is also very important to take extra care for these members and stock up (not hoard) on their medical supplies and essential requirements. This isn’t about most of us who could get it and beat it. It’s about the people who won’t beat it so we have to make sure we do our part to protect them.
Social distancing does not have to mean ‘emotional distancing’. If your relatives or family members are not with you, this is the best time to connect with them, make a phone call or show them love and support by creating family group chats, making video calls and reminding them that they are not alone during this time of crisis. Even with elderly or sick family members, whilst it’s better to not engage in showing them physical gestures of affection like hugs, you can still give them company by talking to them, reading them stories and keeping them engaged. You might also want to give special care and attention to those battling OCD, other mental disorders and heightened anxiety. Lend them your ear, help them alleviate their stress and reassure them that this time too, shall pass eventually.
- SHIFTING MINDSET: We need a better, healthier perspective to keep our momentum steady; physical resilience is simply not enough to make the cut. A simple way to create better mental health and reduce the crazy frenzy of stress and anxiety that most of us are subject to experience in this state of isolation is practicing gratitude. This simple ‘seed of happiness’ is proven to elevate our mood instantly, keep us hopeful and energetic, besides promoting our productivity and mental strength and stability. Cut down on your media consumption. It’s good to stay well informed and abreast of the latest news update on the virus, but too much of it can take a toll on your mental wellness.
Instead, utilize this time to grow yourself, build hobbies, connect with loved ones, and practice kindness towards those who have been more greatly affected by this pandemic. ‘You cannot pour out of an empty cup’, so refuel yourself first with some self-love and empathy, and then continue to replenish those around you, who need that extra push of love, care and compassion.
- USING SOCIAL MEDIA AS A POWERFUL TOOL: Right now, there are plenty of donation programs, mental health support groups, initiatives promoting good causes and aiming to bring about a positive change- that are being run on different social media platforms. We may not be able to step outdoors to offer aid, but we can definitely do so at online portals.
Whether it’s making donations in the name of charity or making individual contributions to help relieve the economic crisis we’re facing, paying tribute to the health care professionals, medical practitioners and store owners, or being a caregiver to elderly people living in isolation or quarantined sick individuals who are battling loneliness- Every cause is a noble one and each individual contribution goes a long way. Take charge and help bring about change. The more you do that, the less helpless and deflated you will feel about the situation.
- FIND YOUR PURPOSE: It’s easy to feel defeated, suffer from mood swings and a constant feeling of lethargy. Don’t fall prey to these negative emotions, and assume responsibility! Join empowering movements like the ‘Green New Deal’ to facilitate building an economy of kindness, animal welfare, better job provisions, lower debts, and climate-friendly living.
You can also simply start by making small steps in the right direction. Begin from your own home, by reducing plastic and other toxic material consumption and choosing an environment-friendly way of eating and living. Conscious activities like these create a sense of purpose within and help boost one’s sense of accomplishment and self- worth. The more meaningful your impact, the more joy you receive from it.
- MINDFULNESS: This is different for everyone but certainly non- negotiable. In order to cultivate compassion for another, one must nourish their mind and spirit daily with either meditation, physical activity, partaking in an enjoyable hobby, listening to relaxing music or whatever it is that provides some sort of emotional catharsis. This is especially important if you’re already experiencing distress and feeling under the weather. Panicking will only worsen things. Instead, feed your body nourishing food, take good rest, ask for any required help from others and above all, believe in the power of positivity.
“The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members”
Using love and empathy, together we can make it through this ordeal; help lift one another up and come out stronger in spirit as a whole.