Let’s admit it, we are fighting an unseen enemy. Sure, there are plenty of animated mock-ups of the COVID-19 virus and even this instance of cops wearing a Coronavirus helmet in India to scare those who step out during the lockdown into going back to their homes. But in reality, this is a Trojan virus (remember when that lingo was restricted to computer software?) that can stay dormant without symptoms for up to two weeks. It’s stressful to read about it, but reading about it is so easy, literally the push of a button away on your phone. And as you encounter, react to and absorb new information throughout the day, you might find yourself oscillating between feeling anxious or hopeful. You could go to bed feeling extremely anxious, and wake up feeling hopeful, or perhaps the other way round.
Most of the communication you’ll find around you, will ask you to stay positive, list things you are grateful for and keep your spirits up. Almost as though feeling anything else right now should remind you of your privilege. But let’s look at how biology works.
When faced with any adverse situation, humans (animals too) react with the three ‘f’ response- fright, fight or flight. ‘Fight’ is restricted to prevention by practising better hygiene whereas social distancing completely eliminates any chances of ‘flight’.
That leaves us with fright or anxiety. Since we can’t fight or take flight, the outward expression of this anxiety is stunted in a scenario of quarantine. So how can we deal with this anxiety we feel right now?
Simple. By first acknowledging it and then talking about it. It’s okay to worry about yourself, your family, friends and work right now. Talk to your friends or family, there is absolutely nobody right now who isn’t going through the highs and lows you are. By talking to someone else, you would have helped them release their fears and anxiety as well. Pick up the phone, drop a message or make video calls—there’s never been a better time for us to collectively realise we are in this together.
The other effective way to deal with anxiety is to turn fear into action. So things like being hands on with household chores, forming a routine that’s best suited for you or cooking meals for those who might need them, are simple and effective ways of channelising fear.
The underlying thought is to not let this anxiety get the better of us. Keep Thriving!