To say that the last two weeks have been a rollercoaster ride will be a profound understatement. Coronavirus or COVID19 has drastically changed our lives, leading us to grapple with our changed reality. While many continue to argue that the virus isnâ€™t nearly as fatal as other diseases weâ€™ve battled in the past (such as Ebola), itâ€™s still being compared to the deadly Spanish Flu Outbreak of 1918. The sheer rapidity with which Corona spreads, the fact that symptoms arenâ€™t always visible and underprepared healthcare facilities around the world are what make this novel strain a formidable foe of humanity. Before I go any further, Iâ€™d like to thank the healthcare workers whoâ€™re tirelessly fighting this pandemic. True heroes certainly donâ€™t wear capes!
Despite working around the clock themselves, they urge the general public to assist them by simply doing one thing: staying at home. As threatening as the virus may be, all it requires are the following basic actions to reduce the spread â€” or at least get it to a level thatâ€™s manageable for healthcare institutions. These are:
- Social distancing: even when at home, remain at least a couple of metres apart from others; if you must go out (while abiding curfew rules), ensure youâ€™re not in close physical proximity to anyone.
- Wash your hands: this canâ€™t be said enough; wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, especially before and after eating or drinking and intermittently throughout the day. Hand sanitisers also help.
- Donâ€™t touch your face: the virus can enter your body through your mouth and nose.
- Protection when out: masks, gloves, sanitisers and social distancing.
- Isolate: if you feel symptoms, immediately quarantine yourself and stay away from family members; contact your doctor and see if a test is required.
All of this seems rather simple; however, people have had issues adjusting. Sometimes, a disease with seemingly basic precautions isnâ€™t taken seriously by people. But I hope that by the time you read this, weâ€™ll have made considerable efforts to #flattenthecurve. I exhort you to go online and look up this concept. In short, social distancing is an immense help in lowering the infection rate to a point that medical professionals can respond effectively.
Those who have adhered to all protocols, especially those who had the foresight to do so on their own before governmental intervention, must now be feeling symptoms of another nuisance: cabin fever. Being cooped up in one place for extended periods of time can make anyone start questioning their sanity. Anxiety, panic, irritability, ennui and a sense of doom â€” all or a combination of these can start to plague your mind. Since they say, a healthy mind can cope with a lot thatâ€™s thrown its way, Iâ€™ve compiled a list of things, based on my readings of several articles over the last couple of weeks that will hopefully help make your isolation bearable. These are all the things that Iâ€™ve personally been doing since my self-imposed isolation almost three weeks ago.
- Adopt a routine: in the new normal, your routine doesnâ€™t have to be the same. Youâ€™re most likely working from home, which saves up a lot of commute time. You also get the opportunity to work in an environment that you can create yourself. However, do stick to a schedule, even if it doesnâ€™t match your usual one. This allows some form of normalcy to remain in your life.
- Be creative: start painting, sing songs, dance around, write â€” anything and everything that allows you to express yourself.
- Stay fit: make sure staying at home doesnâ€™t stop you from physically moving. While staying in a vegetative state might be appealing, do get up and move around a bit. It could be a full-blown workout, a yoga session, or just a walk outside (social distance is a must and keep the time limited, abiding by local laws). For mental exercises, read a book!
- Feel everything: thereâ€™s no right or wrong way to feel about this situation. Most of us have never experienced such distress before (hey, at least now the world can sympathise with the plight of Kashmiris and Palestinians). Get in touch with a therapist if you can or keep a journal. Just donâ€™t feel guilty for feeling how you feel.
- Talk: reach out to your friends over social media and plan video calls. Talk to others, talk to your family. Donâ€™t mentally and emotionally isolate yourself.
- Stay off the internet: donâ€™t stay on the internet for too long. Itâ€™s a depressing place â€” now more than usual. Get your necessary information and then stay off blogs citing the end of the world (unless youâ€™re into that). Otherwise, avoid the negativity. Cute animal videos are fine.
This is what Iâ€™m doing, except the last one. Iâ€™ve been on Twitter and Instagram a bit too much and hoping to cut back on the negative clickbait. Everything else Iâ€™m following on a daily basis and at the time of writing, itâ€™s really helped. Nevertheless, as I stated, thereâ€™s no right or wrong way to navigate through this. As long as work obligations are met, youâ€™re free to figure out your own response. Sleep all day, eat whatever you want â€” just do all it takes to be mentally and emotionally stable during this time. Iâ€™m cognisant of the fact that this is more challenging for some than others, especially those with pre-existing mental health issues or who live in abusive households. For those free of these concerns, do check up on your friends. Together â€” but physically apart â€” weâ€™ll get through this.
Stay safe and #washyourhands