I heard a TED Talk recently by Lori Gottlieb, a therapist, who said that two themes, Freedom and Change, are the key fulcrums that human beings circle around.
The first is a feeling of being trapped or imprisoned, by our circumstances, our families or jobs, which is self-imposed in many cases (seeing the world through one's self-imposed prism of barriers and not letting go of them). The second is Change, which brings responsibility with it. Change is the hardest to deal with because humans are comfortable with predictability and will do anything to maintain the status quo.
And here we are...thrust into physical isolation and dealing with momentous change... the kind that is beyond imagination.
How does one deal with the situation? Do the circumstances dictate how we will engage with it? Or will we redefine ourselves to take it on? Will the way we narrate our lives post Covid-19 predict the future of what we become?
Each person has his/her own way of dealing with stress but when this is coupled with crippling global economic uncertainty, it becomes a cause for immediate concern.
The fallout of Covid-19 could be more pervasive and permanent than one has hitherto imagined. Insecurity, fear of sickness and death, economic and infrastructural unpredictability and no solution in sight can lead to consequences from a mental health perspective.
We need to sit back and take this seriously for a moment. Take stock of the realities at a personal and family level and set about creating a conscious and positive approach.
In times of uncertainty and concern, we often go about our tasks in a robotic, automated way. It's our way of dealing with the unpleasant and the unplanned. On and off, we could be irritated at small things, our responses could be off-key.
Work from home keeps us centred to a degree. Grappling with new routines tests our patience.
At such times, any further upsets or depressing news sets off a chain reaction, mostly of distress, sometimes anger...often unrecognised as loss of coping mechanisms.
For all of us facing these unprecedented challenges, it will help if we can connect over phone or digitally with friends, partners, colleagues and business associates. This serves as a safety net for normalcy.
Creating a routine, making meals and eating as a simple, healthy way of togetherness (if there is more than one person in a home) and fixing an exercise schedule will be a fairly simple start.
Bringing the outdoors in...through a garden if possible or even a few greens in a balcony or looking out at some trees will help. Walking the dog and caring for pets is calming. Jogging, if allowed in the park is wonderfully energising for the body and the mind. Tuning into nature - the sound of birds or water or the breeze whistling through trees....these little steps bring balance to an upside down world.
Recognising the turbulence is essential. Creating an internal and an external system to work with is key. Dealing with it randomly by watching TV, cracking jokes, chatting with friends, worrying endlessly, arguing and complaining or creating solutions to difficult issues is totally normal and brings forth a feeling of familiarity with the known.
While, it is each individuals choice, as always, on how to deal with a situation that has no parallel in living memory, it is important to remember you have the inner reserves to work with any given situation.
Make your own battle plan for inner harmony, resourcefulness and revival - and work on fulfilling it.
You have to find the best version of yourself as well redefine your place in the new world order when it re-opens for every day business and every day life.