So, we are back! How have you been?
It has been over 3 months without a post. No writing and no reading.
Isn’t it interesting how times of high confusion and lack of clarity about the future paralyze our brains? Routines are known to be good for our well-being – daily constants that enable our brains to relax knowing: “we know what’s coming”.
In COVID19 times, our routines were disrupted in ways that throw the brain off balance. Sometimes, all we can do is relax in the roller coaster and find ways to cope. Daily.
That’s what I did. How did you cope?
For me, writing and reading were core of my day before before Corona. I wrote for an hour in the mornings, and read for an hour in the evenings before I slept. On lazy days, I read through out the day. In February, I had three books waiting to be read – they are still waiting impatiently at this point. Plus, my book is still waiting to be finished and published.
Work was another routine that kept the psyche calm.
- Wake up
- First bathroom visit of the day
- Make a cup of tea and a fruit bowl
- Go back to bed or sit on work desk
- Drink tea and eat fruit as you write
- Shower and prepare for work
- Go to work
- go for AW or go home
- Relax and unwind
- Read or listen to podcast and sleep
- wake up and repeat
Then we got to know that some of us may lose our jobs due to COVID19 effects on the markets. At this point, I was not only worried about a pandemic, I was worried about losing income in a pandemic. The prospects of finding a new job weren’t looking good – for me or for others as companies shut down operations to brace for the worst.
In these circumstances, we find ourselves becoming our brother’s keeper. Friends who lose their jobs need money for rent – from us. Relatives who are more stressed need empathy, emotional first aid – from us. Both friends and relatives who usually work each day for its meal need food – from us.
It is exhausting to be troubled by your own troubles, and then be troubled by other people’s troubles.
By end of March, I couldn’t soothe my brain enough to focus on a book long enough to read. Additionally I couldn’t focus on thinking long enough to write. I watched TV but only halfheartedly. Before Corona, I used to enjoy podcasts, TED talks, audio books etc. By end of March, I couldn’t listen to anything longer than 10 minutes.
I was restless, anxious, worried and needed information daily to calm my mind.
To crown it all, I was preparing to move house and there was delay after delay due to said pandemic. we all know moving house is one of the most stressful events of our lives.
New pandemic routines emerged. In search of information and connection, Twitter, which I had used sparingly before, suddenly became a daily dose. Within a few weeks, I was posing daily, severally. I was interacting with strangers and enjoying it. Twitter actually became a lifeline.
I even encouraged a few of us to start a book club – selfishly so someone else could keep me accountable. It went really well! One of us gave access to many good books. We had fantastic discussions about books, about life, about religion, about gender etc
Still, I couldn’t get back to reading.
So, I continued to do what I enjoyed most, even though I knew it was a temporary solution to a temporary situation.
The thing is, strangers can comfort you and never know it. They do it in passing and there is no indebtedness. Strangers can entertain you without knowing it – they made a joke as they passed, made you laugh and moved on. Informative strangers will inform you as they inform themselves – they need information , they find it, share it, and move on.
On Twitter, I found psychologists, politicians, social worker, economists, reporters, comedians, parents, siblings, friends – everything. And it kept me sane for months. I am grateful.
Knowing when to Stop is an Important Life-skill
- When you find something is taking too much of your time, or it’s addictive – you must be able to stop. That too is self-care.
- Going back to constructive routines is a life-skill. Make some adjustments, change some habits, be creative – but do go back to “normal constructive routines”
- Online Strangers can be Life Saviors but they often are and remain Online strangers. Rarely will they become long lasting Real Life friends.
- If you find Online strangers who become Real Life friends, it’s a lucky break. Try to interact offline more and more because nothing beats real life contact, attachment and dedication.
- Life is to be lived to the fullest, in it’s realest form – even in the midst of a pandemic
Coming posts will be reflecting on Lessons Learned from my Twitter Family – a family of strangers, acquaintances and friends. Don’t miss it!
So, we are back! How have you been?