Posted by Gokul KP
It might seem like a time with limited hope. Today, every other link or news item you come across will be about the Coronavirus pandemic – the number of affected cases, the number of deaths, and worse the imminent spurt in these numbers. And being exposed to such information constantly, it is only common that one might feel more and more anxious or uncomfortable.
Understand this. You don’t need to go through every article or every piece of infographic thrown at you. If you think reading about the pandemic is too much for you at some particular point in time, it is okay to stop. Yes, we should ideally be concerned about the ongoing crisis in the healthcare sector, or the economic slump, or the sheer amount of apathy meted out to the marginalized and the minority communities. But in the end, if it only makes you more pessimistic or causes mental distress, there is absolutely no point. More information does not necessarily translate to more preparedness.
we should ideally be concerned about the ongoing crisis in the healthcare sector, or the economic slump, or the sheer amount of apathy meted out to the marginalized and the minority communities. But in the end, if it only makes you more pessimistic or causes mental distress, there is absolutely no point. More information does not necessarily translate to more preparedness.
Social media is notorious for feeding anxiety for all our problems. Even though inducing a sense of urgency around coronavirus is essential, it is very easy for the situation to go spiraling out of control, especially for those who are susceptible to episodes of panic attacks. Recently, one of my friends even remarked how she was feeling extremely lonely because of the gradual shutdown occurring across all the companies in my area, after instructing all their employees to work from home. These are unprecedented conditions for many, and all these changes are expected to manifest differently in our psyches.
Rather than obsessing with knowing everything happening out there, try to stay updated at regular intervals. Use whatever knowledge you have to equip yourself with the necessary steps to protect yourself from coronavirus and your close ones from getting affected, simultaneously disseminating any information that raises awareness among people who still haven’t grasped the gravity of the issue.
Yes, having the choice of turning your back on an issue gripping the whole world screams of privilege, and might end up making you guilty as well. To combat this, one can make sure to follow trusted news and information sources such as government websites or social media handles of the concerned authorities. Consuming a lot of social media can increase the chances of getting exposed to a lot of fake news and unverified information as well, so one must be careful while sharing posts online. Another way to avoid potentially harmful content is by muting certain words that might cause triggers, as pointed out by this twitter user, or by avoiding such hashtags.
This is a time when social distancing is being encouraged too. It is particularly challenging for people who rely on getting out and meeting people or engaging in some kind of activity as distractions, to get rid of their worrying, harmful thoughts. Hence, people must find ways to stay connected to their dear ones or find some kind of alternative activity or outlet through which they can unload.
This is a time when social distancing is being encouraged too, to fight coronavirus. It is particularly challenging for people who rely on getting out and meeting people or engaging in some kind of activity as distractions, to get rid of their worrying, harmful thoughts. Hence, people must find ways to stay connected to their dear ones or find some kind of alternative activity or outlet through which they can unload. Irrespective of whether you are working from home or not, there is bound to be a lot of free time in your hands.
Therefore, this would precisely be the time when you should take that long pending list of things you were putting off (or make a fresh one) – things you wanted to read, write, draw, create, or simply finish off tasks – and tick off one by one. If you don’t feel like doing any of these on some days, it is totally fine to take some time off too. Get your sleep cycle right, exercise daily and try to get rid of all those bad eating habits. Also, make sure you have all the necessary contact numbers, be it of family members, close friends, government helplines, nearby health centres, etc. in case of any emergencies.
This cloud of uncertainty and skepticism is going to stay for a while. And it is only natural that one may feel the urge to respond or do something about everything bad or unfair happening around us. But it would be prudent to accept that in such a serious conjuncture, not everything can be under our control.
And in the middle of all this, make sure to keep in mind that more than all of us, there are a huge number of others who are more vulnerable to the dangers of the coronavirus – older adults, immunosuppressed people and those with other serious illnesses, and every single person in the healthcare sector striving day and night at the frontlines of this battle. The least you can be at this point is empathetic towards each other.
Most importantly, abstain from being discriminatory in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, caste, or sexuality. Again, everything I have mentioned in this article is only a general way of coping with the current situation, and it would differ from person to person depending on the kind of life one has led along with their surroundings, and the kind of health conditions they are suffering from.
Take care and stay safe. And not simply from the coronavirus but also from mental health breakdowns.
(As I write this piece, I am completely aware that it is written from a perspective of someone who can afford to practice social distance effectively, unlike health workers, daily wage labourers, etc.)
Gokul KP is a B.Tech graduate hailing from Kerala and is currently working in Bangalore. He is an aspiring journalist and constantly tries to spread awareness about LGBTQ rights, feminism, and climate change. He also often writes about politics, mental health, and mainstream media. As someone who identifies as Queer, he is constantly working towards sexuality and gender inclusivity in all communities, one step at a time. You can find him on Instagram.
Featured Image Source: Al Jazeera