Lessons For The Long Haul

– Akshita

The corona virus pandemic has touched everyone’s life in one way or another. Although educators, parents and students continue to struggle to adapt to new ways of going about our lives, communities have shown resilience and tenacity when it comes to meeting the challenges of tackling a global pandemic

While COVID-19 has given rise to new challenges and uncertainties, the pandemic has also yielded some valuable lessons.

  • Wearing a mask no matter what

Masks are a key measure to suppress transmission and save lives. Masks should be used as part of a comprehensive ‘Do it all!’ approach including physical distancing, avoiding crowded, closed and close-contact settings, good ventilation, cleaning hands, covering sneezes and coughs, and more.

Depending on the type, masks can be used for either protection of healthy persons or to prevent onward transmission. Leading US-based healthcare expert Dr Atul Gawande says wearing masks is a “responsibility” people must take seriously to stop the spread of Covid-19. The basic logic of wearing a mask, according to Dr Gawande, is,” I protect you; you protect me.’’ Others have pointed out that wearing a mask in times of the pandemic also shows concern for the community and respect for another person’s wellbeing. Wearing a mask is not only important, it’s life saving.

  • Taking out time for your loved ones

Family and friends come first: We never imagined that we would have to be stuck inside for so long. However, this time has also given us the opportunity to rekindle the relationship we lost with our family. With the fast-paced lives, we were living, we hardly sat together as a family. The lockdown has given us a chance to go back to the days when family time was the most important time of the day. Before the coronavirus dominated our lives, many of us may have taken human interaction for granted. Spending time with our immediate loved ones now, however, has taken center stage. Despite the frustrations the daily confinement may naturally bring, it’s important to reflect on what our family and friends truly mean to us. 

Family time is an essential factor that helps to create strong bonds, love, and connections with family members, and strengthens relationships among the family members. Spending quality time with family does help in coping with boredom, and dealing with a sense of loss, instils a feeling of security, inculcates family values, and much more. Spending time together should be fun and enjoyable for all family members. Watch a movie together. It can be an

animated film, a horror movie or any genre of your preference. Sharing popcorn and opinions on the movie can be a fun activity.  You could also make for your dears, a short video or a scrapbook collecting photographs from memorable moments of special occasions, holidays or any other random moment you cherish. Lastly, you can give them gifts, it doesn’t always have to be a huge article, it can be anything from a simple drawing to flowers. 

  •  Self-care

  The World Health Organization (WHO) defines self-care as the ability of individuals, families, and communities to be and stay healthy. This includes preventing disease and dealing with sickness “with or without the support of a healthcare provider.” The WHO also defines self-care as eating well, being active, and living in a safe environment. Self-care includes both individual wellness and the wellness of the greater community. Thinking of it this way, self-care could also involve checking on your neighbors. Talking more with friends and family over the phone or in video calls can be a form of self-care, too. These things strengthen our community and improve our own mental health.

Because many of us are self-isolating or in quarantine, at-home self-care activities are important right now. These can include listening to music, gardening, meditating, calling a friend or loved one, taking prescribed medications, and showering. There has always been so much you wanted to do but never got the time too. It is time to bring out the artist in you and spend time with all your hobbies you were missing. It is a good way to spend your time and also take care of your mental health. A positive mental attitude is so important, because mind and body are closely related. All of us encounter a certain amount of stress and anxiety in our daily life. It is a matter of learning how to cope with it. We have to train our minds towards positive thinking. A holistic way of life and attention to these common factors can help to revitalize the body, relax the mind and recharge the soul. Be kind to yourself. In the midst of caring for others, make sure to put aside time for yourself to recharge your own internal battery. Take a break when you feel like you need one. Be realistic about what you are capable of achieving. It’s okay not to be working 24/7 or to make every zoom call. Nobody is perfect. It’s natural to feel a range of emotions at the moment. Sharing how you’re feeling with each other can help you to better understand and manage the way you feel. By talking about your feelings, you might find you’re able to share different ways of thinking about things and gain a different perspective. You might also feel less alone in how you feel and gain useful advice from people you trust.

  • Becoming Empathetic: Housework and supporting one another

During this time of “social distancing” and quarantine, we are each doing the best we can to manage our own physical health and mental well-being – and keep our families safe and healthy, too. We know it can be stressful. And even scary. But now is a good time to remember that we are also seeing something kind of wonderful taking place: we are coming together to protect the people around us who are at risk for getting really sick due to COVID-19. Health care workers are working extra hard to take care of people when they are sick. They’re finding more ways to meet with patients online so fewer people will catch the virus. 

There are many benefits to practicing empathy. Empathizing with others can help you feel less lonely and more connected. It also increases the likelihood that people will reach out and help others when they need it. In addition to boosting social connectedness and increasing helping behaviors, empathizing with others also improves your ability to regulate your emotions during times of stress. Feeling empathy allows you to better manage the anxiety you are experiencing without feeling overwhelmed. 

From mopping the floor and washing clothes to chopping veggies and cleaning the dishes, haven’t we become more empathetic when we had to do all the household chores ourselves in this period? Didn’t we feel hurt when someone stepped or dropped something on the floor soon after we had cleaned it? Empathy is all it took to appreciate our domestic help’s effort that often went unnoticed and uncared for before the pandemic brought the world down to its knees. We are grateful!  Now is the time that everyone is coming together to experiment and try something new for dinner every day. Cooking is a good way to bring the family together and this way you will never get bored of the dinner either.

  • Technology makes it possible to meet friends virtually etc.

It’s evident that social media has become a lifeline for many of us. You’ve probably noticed that people who swore off Facebook are now more active than ever. What’s cool is that we’re starting to use social platforms in more creative and genuine ways. From dance classes to DJ sets, live story time sessions to virtual tours, we’re discovering unique ways to stay connected and engaged. Needless to say, books are our greatest buddies. They impart you a great deal of knowledge without asking anything in return. More so over, you never feel alone or bored in their company.

Staying Connected: There are many virtual platforms available to host meetings, book clubs, or gatherings. Try Zoom, WebEx, Facebook Live, and more to host a Zoom Birthday party with cake and singing of happy birthday with friends/family. Instead of going to the movie theater, you can host a Netflix party—just download the Netflix Party browser extension to watch TV shows and movies in real time with your friends and family. Catch up with old friends you’ve been out of touch with by email, phone, or on social media platforms. Play online games with friends using apps, such as Words with Friends.

Nobody knows what the ultimate outcome of the COVID-19 crisis will be, but one thing is certain—we are stronger when we act together. The lessons we absorb and the energy we put into making positive choices today will make a meaningful difference tomorrow. Pretty much everywhere you look around the world and here at home, you can find examples of people responding to this health emergency with kindness and hope.

Together, we are engaging in an impressive act of community service.

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