24 Jun 2022

Lessons We Took From The Pandemic (and mustn’t forget)

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The lockdown during the outbreak of COVID-19 hit us in early 2020. It impacted our lives in a lot of different ways. However, we know that we have become habitual to some of the changes it brought, whether initially we liked them or not. Let’s take a look at POST-COVID mental well-being from the eyes of an everyday dreamer.

Now that we are slowly resuming the normal life we knew pre-COVID, adjusting to this newfound normal can also be taxing. Getting back to offices after months of working from home, interacting with others after being in isolation for a long time – well, let’s just say – it’s been a rocky start. The positive thing is that we’re slowly getting the hang of it again and might we say, have secretly begun to enjoy it too?

You are not alone in this

It’s easy to think that, as individuals, we might be the only ones struggling with adjusting. However, this experience of grappling with the new normal is shared by all of us. The difference is in the ways that we choose to deal with the stresses that come with it.

According to a survey by NASSCOM in November 2021, a shocking majority of 70% of the employees worldwide were comfortable working remotely. Even more so, studies by Rakuten Insight also show the increase in online purchasing with existing online giants growing manifolds in their business.

Baby girl wearing a mask during the lockdown, drawing a heart with her finger on a misty glass window

We have spent almost 2 years in isolation or only interacting with a limited group of people in our physical proximity. Some of the things that became normal for us are: –

  • Being free of judgment for oneself and others
  • Relying on oneself, lesser collaboration
  • More time to look inwards, lesser interaction with others
  • Reduced tolerance for other people’s ways of thinking and being
  • Greater dependence on our screens and devices
  • Preferring using digital means of interaction rather than face to face

In difficult times, remember these things

Value other people’s contribution

 a paramilitary woman officer on duty helping a civilian woman in tying a face mask properly during lockdown, kindness

When the Indian elite and middle class first entered the lockdown in early 2020, our greatest fear was not having our maids and house-helps around. We, who were so used to having our meals cooked, dishes washed and houses cleaned by others, were left to fend for ourselves.

In those times, our mothers and fathers and older sisters came to our rescue. Some of us were stranded away from homes and wholly depended on ourselves. Many huge businesses had to shut down simply because of the absence of labourers.

Having respect for the contributions of all people around us allows us to experience joy, peace, and gratefulness, which are known to increase our physical and mental wellness. It also allows us to cope better with their absence and plan ahead, instead of losing hope when faced with such a situation.

Our health is indispensably crucial

The 1st wave of COVI-19 came with shocking surprises that we took time to get used to. However, the 2nd wave of COVID-19 gave us shocks and learnings that were even harder to deal with.

An aged Indian man working out on an elliptical exercise machine, online fitness class

It is important for us to be of sound mind and body, to not just stay disease-free but also so that we can care for our friends and family when they are in need. Staying indoors, with increased consumption of packaged food, also led many of us to compromise our fitness and energy levels.

Although it’s easier to adopt a YOLO attitude and let yourself loose, it’s important to wake up to our body’s need to be nourished. Adopting healthy habits, staying active, and being healthy and joyous, are non-negotiable needs for a fulfilling and healthy life. It may seem difficult at first to bring about a change in our comfortable habits, but it is worth the results our efforts will bring.

Be Kind to others

One really couldn’t stress this enough. Being kind to each other, in the simplest of interactions, is important. Especially in a world that is becoming increasingly separated from each other, through optical fibers and indulgent social media platforms.

During the worst times of the pandemic, we lost people in our lives or saw our friends and family grieve people close to them. During emergency calls for plasma, oxygen cylinders, medications, we stood up for each other. Front-line workers risked their lives for the well-being of the people of the world at large. Delivery executives working for milk delivery services and grocery delivery apps did their part by keeping us safe inside our homes and bringing our daily essentials to our doorstep. All these are examples of a radical commitment to kindness which is bound to move us if we really think about it.

 a traffic policeman in Delhi feeding stray dogs during the covid lockdown

It is important to be mindful that many of us have only begun to recover from heavy losses incurred during the shutdown. At the core of it all, we all have shared experiences of fear, doubt, pride, loss, friendship, insecurity, survival, and love/need for our families. Being kind is the most powerful key we have. So whenever you have the chance, choose to be kind.

Be Kind to yourself

After almost two years of being locked in, baring ourselves, and becoming comfortable in our un-groomed skins and wildly growing hair, we are now grappling with jumping back again into a picture-perfect world. We selectively leave out parts that aren’t instagram-worthy and capture the ones that make for good reels. In such a world, remember to be kind to yourself.

The pressures of putting on the most fashionable clothes where trends change with every season is bound to get to our mental health at some point. With photoshopped pictures, filtered reels, and a partial view of scenarios presented to us and driven by corporate motives, it can be hard to assess our limitations and give in to an illusion of never-ending competition. When faced with anxieties emerging out of such scenarios, remember to be kind to yourself, count your blessings, and celebrating all the things about yourself that you have ever loved.

Find reasons to depend on yourself

With the world and its ways almost back to normal, remember to still be independent. When we have help available, it’s easy to wait for things to happen before we move ourselves. However, if there’s one thing that we learnt the most – it was to be dependent on ourselves and knowing how to deal with difficult situations without someone else there to take care of it for us.

Young indian father with a child doing house chores, washing colourful dishes at the kitchen sink

If we look around and start observing your life, many of us might find that we have again begun to leave the simplest task for others to complete. This could include cooking our meals, cleaning our floors or car, fetching ourselves a cup of water etc. On the contrary, science claims that the more we accomplish, the better we feel about ourselves because of the endorphins and dopamine naturally released in our body after accomplishing tasks.

We are creatures of habit. The more we get used to getting our tasks done by others, the more we believe it to be our right. When things don’t go our way, we feel that something is wrong and lose sight of being kind. Therefore, it’s important to keep a check on ourselves. Continue to give yourself little challenges every day and accomplish them despite all the things that you think could go wrong.

Find time to connect with others

Many of us developed an endearing love and closeness with our family and chosen families (friends) too during the pandemic. Whether it was by way of being quarantined together for months, or by realizing their value because of their absence.

In those times, we understood the importance of their presence in our loves, but also of being there for others. We came closer to the realization that family matters immensely to us.

Therefore, find time to drop a message, make a phone call, or visit your family and loved ones. Just staying connected and spending time with can be highly energizing for our mental well-being.

Two female friends hugging each other, strong love and connection

What lessons did you learn from the pandemic that you still stick to? Or would like to remember? Share with us in the comments below! It might help give someone else a great perspective and serve as a useful reminder.

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