How to deal with this pandemic, AGAIN
If you can make out the frustration that went in while I was typing out 'AGAIN', brownie points for you.
To be very honest, the entire lockdown fiasco during the first wave didn't hit me as hard as the second one did. But boy, this one is tough and that's what I wanted to address today.
Last year, almost this time of the year I made a blogpost called 'Time Investments ideas during social distancing'
That post contains a solid list of 20 things that you can spend your time on while we're all stuck at home. So if you're interested, feel free to check it out.
But to be completely honest most of my days are spent in one form of escapism or the other. Whether its endlessly binging Gilmore Girls or raiding my fridge and my cabinet for snacks or simply not getting out of bed until 11:00 am when my body can't bear to fake sleep anymore.
Believe me, no exaggerations included here.
That's what most of my April has looked like and I can see that slowly seeping into May as well.
Now, if you've come this far I'll assume it is either because you derive a sense of entertainment from the descriptions of my misery or that you resonate with my state of being in your own way.
If the latter is your reason, lets move on to actually dealing with the situation at hand.
Let's face it, the pandemic sucks. Whatever motivation we had in the earlier days to take up painting classes and switch from one video-call to the other or even to make dalgona coffee and banana bread is on the verge of being empty. I think I ran out a few weeks ago.
The past seems so sweet, the present seems so bitter and the future shifts between the two depending on whether you look at it from the angle of hope or uncertainty.
And to top it all, the meta-emotion I have here is of feeling guilty of all these feelings I just ranted about because I do recognise my privilege. I'm thankfully able to work comfortably from my own space on a course that has adjusted to the online ways and I'm well fed and taken care of. Do I even have the right to be typing this out?
So amidst all this confusion, hopelessness and chaos, here are some of my best tips to deal with this pandemic again:
Don't feel the need to be constantly updated about the situation. Information overload is a real thing and it can be extremely stressful to have constant bombardment of the ever-rising count in the country and to hear updates about people who you might know. Find out how much information you can take everyday so that you feel informed without feeling overwhelmed. To balance out the negative news, you can also subscribe to a few positive news only accounts and channels which might help.
It's okay if you just get the bare minimum done Most of us have some sort of work related responsibilities at the moment - whether its school, work, household, businesses, etc. In the pre-pandemic world we were, on most days, capable of getting to some extra tasks. Whether it be picking up some hobbies, working on personal projects, socialising or lots of other things that came easily to us. However, in this scenario, getting to anything beyond the bare minimum seems almost impossible and that's okay. The very notion that we can handle our career responsibilites is an achievement in itself because let's face it- at times, getting that bare minimum done also requires a lot of effort on your end. Please remember that it's survival mode right now and do only as much as you can get to. Be kind to yourself if you can't make yourself get to any of the extra things for a while.
It's okay to be doing well on some days! At the same time, the contrast of the earlier mentioned point is that on some days, things might be very smooth for you and you may be astonished at the fact that you were able to get so much done despite what's going on. That feeling almost is accompanied by guilt when you feel like is it right to feel so happily productive given what's going on around me? Well, yes. Take life as it comes right now, and live each day intuitively. Productive and lethargic days even each other out and in this time period, there are bound to be several ups and downs in your graph. Try to be as accepting of them as possible.
Try to have a basic structure to your day. One of the biggest factors that can contribute to our everyday sanity at the moment is a sense of control. Given the uncontrollable scenario all around us, we can bring this sense of control through our own lives. Having a basic structure for the day can help a lot. Try to do the following things at the same time every single day so that the rest of your day can be managed better: i. Waking up and going to bed ii. All of your meals iii. Taking a shower and getting ready iv. Working time (if you have control over it)
Take a shower every single day If you want to know how important this point is for me personally, let me simply direct you to a blogpost I made 2 years ago that is about this single point. https://www.saveourselvesblog.com/post/the-shower-power-10-tips-to-turn-your-dull-day-around The heat of May in India is a given, but even beyond that, taking a shower everyday becomes my turning point for the day. It can make you feel so refreshed and reborn even. I know that this point may be sounding ridiculous to a lot of people, but I feel its the repetition of these small things on a daily basis has makes the biggest impact on our mindset.
Have atleast one form of outlet for your thoughts. If I were asked to draw out a map of my mind, I would not be able to as it is a complex web of overthought emotions, the pressure of career responsibilities and multiple layers of existential crises. Now since I know that most of us share this complexity, I urge you to have atleast one form of outlet for your thoughts. Here are a few options: i. Talk to a friend/ loved one ii. Journal iii. Workout / movement iv. Therapy v. Meditation vi. Some form of creation - painting, writing, making music, crochet, etc.
Watch how you're talking to yourself We are the ones we spend most of our time talking to - and right now, especially so! When the outer world begins to feel devoid of hope, our mind can begin to reflect the same. It's natural for us to become easily frustrated or disappointed in ourselves. It takes efforts to be aware of our self talk and actually work on it so that it is beneficial for us. One rule of thumb to keep in mind is: If its not something you would say to someone else, don't say it to yourself. Or another way of looking that is : Talk to yourself as you would talk to a loved one - because you are one of them!
Try doing something good for yourself I was refraining myself from putting in any tips that might be hard to actually put to use and this one did put me in a dilemma. But what I realise is that at times, we can get so caught up in wallowing and thinking about all the negativity over and over again that it turns toxic. We can break this chain of thought by doing something that's good for us. For example, making myself open up my laptop and typing out this blogpost after being glued to my bed the entire day getting lost in the world of Gilmore Girls is the good thing I decided to do for myself. Why? Because writing leaves me feeling accomplished and satisfied with myself and motivates me to continue doing it. Was it hard? Yes. Did I fail for a couple of days? Absolutely. But this decision has left with a sense of fulfilment. No matter how small the thing is, choosing to do something good for yourself can turn your entire day around.
Do what you can for your loved ones and know that it includes yourself too Another dilemma worthy tip. But what I have noticed at times, is that being there for a friend, thinking about someone else's life can get us outside the familiarity of our own bubbles and make us look at life from a wider perspective. Its refreshing. Reaching out to people, keeping in touch with friends, sharing memes or cute baby and dog videos, sending them food, writing them notes or simply having a conversation are very small, doable things we can do for each other at the moment. Giving and receiving is a big part of our lives and it can help in bringing some balance to ours.
Try to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The pandemic has taken over our lives with such force that it feels apocalyptic at times. But like everything in this world, it is temporary. How temporary, we don't yet know. But it's temporariness is inevitable. We will go through change in the future and that's what we can look forward to. Having things to look forward to is a very powerful feeling. It evokes hope and I think that's what the world runs on. Don't stop planning your future or dreaming about the things you want to do. Because even though our plans may change a 1000 times, they might just work out the next time. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
I hope that this blogpost relieved you of atleast some of the pandemic burden that you have been bearing on your shoulders. If the times are unbearably hard for you, I urge you turn to professional and credible sources for any help. Take care and stay safe.