People have no qualm now in expressing their weariness about the sudden change in their routine that were once active and moving and which has now become ‘stagnant’ and confined indoors following the lockdown. The COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged most countries around the globe including India. The governments have announced nation- wide lockdowns in an attempt to tame the pandemic. This has created extraordinary situations that most of us are not used to. Sitting inside the houses, with absolutely no contact with the outside world may affect the mental health of a person. Besides, the news about the disease and the severe crises it creates in the financial and health sectors too would be extremely stressful for many. You could easily overcome this difficult phase by following these three simple steps.
Don’t give up
There is a popular saying, ‘an idle mind is the devil’s workshop’. Unpleasant and disturbing thoughts would take over our minds when we sit idle. When you begin asking yourself too many unnecessary questions like ‘why is this happening or how will it affect me’ could make you stressed. Lack of clarity and uncertainty are two major factors that could lead to mental duress. Mental stress can weaken the body’s immune system and make you vulnerable to diseases. So, it is important to survive these difficult times by not allowing your mind to slip into stress and depression. All human beings may have survived different types of calamities or crises at some point in their lives. Everyone might have incredible tales of survival to tell the entire world. When you think you are falling into depression, try to think of all the good times when life has been kinder to you; keep assuring your mind that you are not ready to give up yet and will surely overcome this crisis as well.
Spend time creatively
Many would find it difficult to adjust to a life where there is no movement and freedom, despite having all the luxuries at home. It would be particularly difficult since human beings value freedom the most after food. Forcing the people, who have always been on the move, to confine themselves within the four walls of their homes is indeed equal to cubing their freedom. The mind’s urgency to resist these measures of control and restrictions has forced many to flout the lockdown rules. If you approach the lockdown with a stressed mind and body, then your days would be agonizing and extremely complicated. However, you could make your lockdown days amazing and productive by spending time creatively. Engage in activities that would give extreme happiness to your mind. Try approaching the lockdown days uniquely to make it interesting and to beat boredom. Consider this an excellent time for introspection to make your future more amazing than what it was earlier. You could perceive this as a unique phase that could grant you health and freedom in the future.
Change these habits
No one expresses likes or dislikes at the time of birth. There are certain habits that one gets addicted to when they are away from their families and homes. From alcohol to drugs, or other addictions may have become part of their life for many. Many habits from our childhood remain undisputed in our subconscious mind and later become part of our behaviour. There are many who may have tried to give up these habits and have failed. You could use the lockdown days to give up the habits that have been dominating your lives. Psychologists say that one could change or get rid of a behaviour or habit in twenty one days. This duration is closely related to the activities of the brain. Experts say that there isn’t any behaviour or habit that cannot be changed in three weeks. Try to think about the changes that you need to bring into your life to make it more comfortable, healthier and happier.
(The writer is a noted behavioural therapist, former scientist at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre and former climate scientist at the Oman civil aviation department. He is a well known Kathakali critic as well. Currently, he works as the chief coordinator of the Vellinezhi kalagramam)