Coping with the Pandemic Scare

(Gayathri Sreenath)

When we first came to know of the existence of the Covid-19 virus, I for one and I’m sure all of you too, somehow thought that it would be confined just to China and that India and the rest of the world would be largely safe from the spread of this virus.  I must say that I am taken aback at the pace this spread is now happening.  We are all confused, we are angry, we are sad, but above all we are scared.  This pandemic has sown a fear in all of us, a fear of whether or not we will escape this virus, whether or not the precautions that we are taking are sufficient, whether or not wearing of masks and social distancing and other precautions being followed are enough, to the point that whether or not just staying indoors at home would keep us safe from this virus.

While this virus could affect every single one of us on this planet, if we are not careful enough, the seniors and small children are the most vulnerable. 

The low immunity in both the seniors and children make them a softer target for the viruses to attack, as is also the case with persons of any age with severe health issues. 

I would like to give a few pointers, especially to seniors, on how best to manage the current situation.

  1.  Maintain social distancing and not social isolation.  Be in constant touch with family and friends.  Talk to them over the phone or other social media and share your thoughts and feelings.  This way you will not feel isolated and scared.  Make it a habit to call at least one friend or family member every day.  Get in touch with friends with whom you have lost touch with and renew friendships.  You will be surprised at how much of reminiscing you will do with old friends.  Being by yourself and not connecting with others, especially during this time, will only make you feel lonely and unnecessarily anxious. 
  2. Stay active indoors.  Do not brood that you cannot go for your morning/evening walks.  There are so many activities to do at home that will keep you fit and mentally agile.  Cooking, reading, playing board games (with others in the house), going through photo albums, listening to music, organising the wardrobe/drawers, yoga, meditation and so on. Rediscover old hobbies like writing, drawing/sketching, painting, singing, dancing, sewing and embroidery and you will have no trouble staying indoors.
  3. Eat and sleep well.  Eating nutritious, healthy food for all meals and staying well hydrated always will help one in building immunity and staying healthy.  Eat small meals at regular intervals instead of 2 or 3 large meals.  This will aid digestion and make one feel light.  Having a good night’s sleep of about 8 to 9 hours is a great blessing, but this can also be split and had during the day.  Seniors do not have the compulsion to maintain timings of any sort, especially for sleeping.  Just listen to your body and sleep when you are sleepy. Simple. Short naps during the day will also leave you rejuvenated and fresh.
  4. Too much of information is misinformation.  Do not watch the news about the pandemic all the time.  Be up to date on the news but do not be obsessed about it. Following the Covid situation 24×7 will be very depressing and scary.  Even when you make calls to friends and family, do not talk about the pandemic — there are a zillion other things to talk about.
  5.  Home made remedies.  Take out your ancestral recipe books and whip up home made decoctions and herbal drinks. What we can do best during this time of pandemic is to build our immunity and what better way is there than time trusted home remedies. For example, a simple everyday use of garlic, ginger, pepper, and honey in our food will go a long way to improve our immune system.  When consumed on a daily basis, its benefits are multi fold, from aiding digestion, to being an anti-inflammatory agent, to treating the common cold.  Ginger can also be had in the form of ginger tea along with a dash of honey to enhance its taste and efficacy. 
  6. Mental health.  Managing your mental health is as important as managing your physical health and wellbeing.  Being overwhelmed by stress and other feelings that are associated with it is a normal thing to happen to anybody, especially during this time.  Coping with this stress and anxiety by consuming tobacco and/or alcohol should be totally avoided.  Instead, take sufficient rest and healthy foods, and stay physically active with a good routine. This will surely help you tide over your feelings of stress and anxiety. 

These are unprecedented times that we are in and none of us are prepared for it.  This calls for dealing with the current scenario on a day to day basis.  Do not overthink and try not to hair split your fears about this pandemic. It will only result in multiplying your fears and incapacitating your mind and body.  Build a support group of like-minded persons and share your thoughts, feelings and fears and you will be surprised at how comforting the outcome will be.  Stay positive and stay safe are the key words to live by now.

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