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This time will be remembered – 7

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Day 20 of lockdown – COVID-19 may spare us, instead we may get Cabin Fever

By SUNITA VIJAY 

The COVID-19 pandemic has engulfed the world in its strong fist. Not only has it caused more than a lakh deaths around the globe, it has shaken humanity itself, pushing human lives and their plans into a tailspin. It knocked at the door when the human was attempting to reach the dark side of the Moon, when s/he was looking for life on Mars, and while s/he endeavoured to master and tame AI. No one realised even in the wildest of wild dreams that very soon the minutest among minute particles will strike us and will make us tremble in our boots. That the ill-health of the microcosm would threaten to derail our respective macrocosms: that future plans, recreation, adventures, fanciful life, economy and countless other material aspects would be placed on the back burner and the roaring, overarching, thought would be, ‘Will we survive?’

We may sail through this phase, notwithstanding the loss of many lives and still continue to live gripped with fear, in the new world with COVID-19 still alive and kicking. This unconquerable flu hangs over our heads, like the sword of Damocles! Until and unless a specific line of treatment or vaccine to protect us against this lethal virus is discovered, we will remain insomniac. At present we are in lockdown, trying to flatten the curve but what stays in store for us after this – once we are back to work? China is again reporting fresh cases after lifting the lockdown and South Korea’s report bearing news of 91 cases of ‘reactivation’ (recovered cases again testing positive) is spine-chilling. The moot question is how to get rid of this virus! The near future seems to be in no mood to draw us out a rosy picture. However hard we may try to put up a brave face, ward off melancholy and generate cheerfulness by keeping ourselves engaged in the de-stressing activities apart from loads of household work, as a matter of fact we are bearing the brunt of the abominable situation each day, each moment.

Each one of us has our own way to cope with an awkward situation. Many are complaining of sleepless nights while pondering over the dreaded thought. The most affected are the ones who live alone and or the ones who are habitual of going out on a daily basis – the party birds, the office goers, the business class people; this social distancing is capsizing their mental health. The cases of mental agony and stress have increased in multitudes. Domestic violence and divorce cases have also increased all over the globe. The cases of depression have reached new highs. In order to maintain a responsible social distancing, many are slipping into loneliness and psychological isolation.

All the residents of the world are in the same boat tackling this global pandemic. Tough times require the company of loved ones to emerge victorious emotionally. By interaction, discussion and chats one can overpower this gruesome feeling. The problem is universal but each one of us has a different personality which makes us respond varyingly, we all react peculiarly to a situation like this that has shut down the world and put humans in cages.

The ones with family too have innumerable issues to address. Harnessing the tantrums of kids, making the cooking menu worth relishing with limited resources, health issues, interpersonal (dis)harmony; all of this is exhausting. We all are dealing with the demon!

At the end of the day, it’s all about managing the emotions and controlling the mind. Some spiritually-evolved souls perhaps find it easier to tame the thoughts, albeit after laborious practice. The ones who are creative and imaginative will resort to reading and indulge in other learning activities. The ones who are organised, patient and systematic, too, may find this time less testing. The problem is with those who are vulnerable to stress, harbour negative thoughts and hold negative feelings. They are at major risk for anxiety and depression. The best solution for them is to engage in meditation and deep breathing. They need to negate all negative invaders that affect the mind. Talking to those who bring positivity improves the mood. Reading spiritual books, watching good cinema – happy and joyful programmes, reducing news-viewing hours and reinforcing social support may be tried to ease the tension.

Meditation techniques have always helped people to adjust to stressful events. This is the most disquieting event of our lifetime till date. Chip in time for relaxed meditation. It will block the effects of norepinephrine, an emergency hormone that raises the blood pressure and increases the heart rate. Meditation is done in a quiet environment in a comfortable position by repeating a mantra or a prayer or a sound. Maintaining a positive attitude will help. Just think that all will be well and curtail all intervening thoughts. It will help in dropping the blood pressure, heart rate and will reduce the anxiety.

Coronavirus fails to lose its vigour. It is incapacitating emotional and mental stress. Facts suggest it is here to stay, grow and infect many in coming months. Humans are literally home-jailed. But we mustn’t treat it as a punishment. It is a treatment to save oneself and others. The lockdown has touched day 20 in India, as I pen this article. Its effects will be felt if we abide by it. It is also a time when we rise to the situation and emerge victorious against this fight. And make the most out of it. This phase is ‘return to the self’. Stay happy, don’t seek happiness in material treasures, treat basic necessities judiciously – while you may be lucky to afford them and enjoy unhindered supply chains, there are crores who continue to go without wages or food during these trying times, look inwards, and make all of these work towards keeping you healthy.

Please write to me at sunitavijay459@gmail.com narrating how you spend your day during this lockdown phase and maintain your emotional balance.