The entire country is shut! No restaurants, no pubs, no gatherings, no satsangs or religious gatherings either, no hangouts, and no party! Most of us are home, avoiding infecting other people unintentionally or catching the virus. Yes, we have our work, but life has changed considerably for each one of us.
With everything locked down and people cooped up in their houses, we are discovering that to go through this ordeal alone without emotional support and friendship can increase our anxiety and hamper our coping abilities. We may be feeling isolated, hopeless, depressed, bored, worried about our finances, and brooding about the pandemic… And we know we are not alone. World over, every nation is going through a traumatic experience, and people feel their lives will never be the same again.
But here is the upside: we are in this together. Take heart from the fact that the best brains world over are working to find a cure. Meanwhile, we are to practice social isolation and stay home. This social isolation and little activity are, of course, the perfect setting for getting depressed, worried, anxious, and feel that there is nothing to do.
Here are 5 simple ways to keep that worry at bay.
1. Reach out to Friends and Family
Use that internet and reach out to your friends and family. Because yes, we are locked down, but not cut off. Video calling has never been easier. Email, text, and call. Keep track of your experience, and see how you feel after you have reached out to someone in a similar situation. And reach out to someone every day.
2. Schedule your activities
Just because you are home, don’t forget to make your ‘to-do’ lists. Make a list for the next day before you sleep – which gives us an hourly purpose. Om Swami, at a recent satsang at his Ashram, said the same. This will provide us with an hourly purpose and a sense of being productive and will help distract from the million worrisome thoughts buzzing in our heads. Then look at the list at the end of the day and see how productive you have been. I list even the smallest activity – and I have found it gives me a wonderful sense of accomplishment.
3. This is FREE time
Here is the big bonus you have been waiting for, the gift of time. Or the sabbatical you always wanted to take but couldn’t. Yes, of course, your movements are restricted. But you can always write the stories you wanted to, take a masterclass, sign up for online classes, read the books piled up on the table next to your bed, clean out the cupboards, organize the photo albums…This is your time to do what you want to do. All you have to do is to do it well.
4. Eat wisely
Often stress makes us overeat. This is a great time to get on top of that problem. Dedicate this period to eating wisely and well. Plan your meals, try new recipes, and try your hand at new things – like making bread, maybe? Cooking is a great activity to involve family members, especially children. So if you are locked in with your family, use this time to bond over cooking.
5. Support someone
One of the best ways to feel connected and feeling useful is to check on someone who could be having a hard time with the lockdown. Seniors, in particular, have a hard time when they are unable to meet friends or family. So call or send a text to someone you know could do with support, just to see how they are doing. Often, when we help someone, we give the most help to ourselves.
We know that there is no blueprint for what is today the ‘new normal’. Yes, the crisis is still unfolding around us, throwing up unfamiliar challenges. Yet it has allowed us to connect with and gain a deeper understanding of ourselves, as we navigate a situation that is at best unpredictable. The Times, as Bob Dylan said, They are A-changing, and we hope that these simple steps will you cope with the lockdown.