10 Ways To Keep Your Cool During The Lockdown
In a world of uncertainty, a psychiatrist offers ways to stay in control and beat the blues
None of us ever imagined we would be faced with a grave crisis such as the coronavirus pandemic in our lifetimes, much less prepare for it. An emergency of this proportion is bound to cause anxiety and distress. It is understandable, logical and self-protective.
However, many of us are also feeling overwhelming unease, distress and panic. These feelings may exacerbate beyond reasonable limits. If you are unable to concentrate on activities or consumed by fear and panic, we need to take remedial measures. Irritability, poor sleep, withdrawing ourselves from social contact, increased smoking or drinking to quell anxiety and binge-eating, are all indicators that we are not managing our stress adequately. What can we do to look after ourselves better? Here are some tips:
1. Look at it differently. The classic ‘glass half-full theory’ is an oldie but a goodie. Think ‘we are safe and secure at home’ rather than ‘we are locked down and trapped indoors’.
2. Develop a clear schedule and routine. Do not go through the day in an unplanned manner just because you have no classes to attend or office to go to. Live one day at a time, and create short-term, achievable goals.
3. Physical exercise is a must. Use what you have at home and make use of the internet’s many offerings to make it happen.
4. Build in variety. Spice up your recreation and creative activities by trying something new. If you listen to the radio, add podcasts to your list. If you like music, listen to a different genre playlist. Add as many such twists to your hobbies as possible.
5. Carve out time. Select some activities to be done together as a family—household chores, board games, movie nights, cooking—and some on your own—meditation, reading, gardening. Those who live solo, do engage more with friends/families online.
6. Build good habits. Involve children and adolescents in planning the day’s schedule that affect the family, such as meal-planning or division of labour for domestic chores. This is a unique opportunity to inculcate life-skills and a sense of responsibility in young ones.
7. Build lasting bonds. The pandemic has put the world on pause. Use this time to nurture relationships outside your immediate circle. Reach out to others in your neighbourhood or community, and lend a helping hand to those you know could need one.
8. Take special care of the elderly. They are most vulnerable, especially since they are in a high-risk group in the pandemic. Reassure, offer practical support and help them with interpreting the news and technology support to ease them up.
9. Limit seeking out news about the pandemic. Stay informed but steer clear of dwelling on events and circumstances that are not under your control, draw up a list of things you can be on top of and take charge.
10. Remember to be grateful for what you have. There are too many others who have far less.