Mar 27 2020

Brave New World: The Year of the Covid-19

Category: MiscellaneousIuliana @ 21:59

A few weeks ago our life was still somewhat normal and the Wuhan tragedy was thousands of miles away. It was a distant world hit by a tragedy and it was just a story for us, one of those things that we were mildly curious and sad about. I was reading the news while preparing to fly to Romania for three weeks and I could not imagine I will not be able to do it.

But now it has become our reality and in a desperate try to slow the spread and protect our most vulnerable members of our society we have isolated ourselves in our houses and we are risking our mental health in doing so. And that is what this entry is about, mostly, how to manage your own mind and keep from going crazy while locked in your home and worried about a billion things.

Start by making a list of friends and family members and video call at least one of them daily. If you are not going crazy because you are a loner and used to being by yourself, most people are not. And they might be crazy with worry themselves and not even know how to deal with it. So be a decent human being and be there for people that do not even know they need you.

Be especially careful with your children. When humans develop they need routine, routine means security. Having a fixed routine helps them feel somewhat in control of their life, while learning to live in our society and helps them become confident. This pandemic has disrupted their routine so it is up to you, the parent, to enforce a new one. The initial disruption in routine will make them do crazy things. On the inside they are probably scared, they know something bad is happening, they might even feel your anxiety about this new situation and they will react to it in ways that will surprise you. This is the time to have that serious chat about feelings with your children. It is time to tell them that it is ok to be sad, it is ok to be angry and restless, but lashing out and breaking things will not help and it will not change things. It’s ok to cry, it’s ok to get a pillow and kick it until your knuckles bleed, but hurting the ones closer to you is not ok. Also, keep reminding them them that is not forever and help them cope by helping them to keep in contact with friends and relatives as well. Keep them busy, but also allow them to be alone from time to time. If it looks like they are out of control just punish them by sending them to their room for 30 minutes. Maybe they will box that pillow, maybe they will cry, but they will have time to think and hopefully they will get out of the room when they feel like it and maybe realize the craziness of their behaviour. Of course this works with kids that are over four years old, for smaller ones … you are doomed. But hopefully you are a good parent and you made it this far, so trust yourself that you will make it without scarring your children for life. (How do I know so much about kids? Simple, I never really grew up. :D)

Keep busy. Obviously if you have kids, that part is settled. :D Take advantage of this period being locked inside your home to get to know yourself. Although the TV, and/or Netflix, or Amazon Prime, etc offer a lot of distractions, they also offer a lot of noise. This noise keeps you from thinking and acknowledging the situation you are in. You are locked between four walls. And you probably are in fear for your job and salary. Think very well what you want to do about this. If the company asks to accept reduced pay, you might want to take it. If you are happy with the company you work for, you want to help keep it alive, so you will have a job after this disaster has passed. If you know that the company you work for is danger of shutting down, you have to think fast. Do you have savings? How long will you be able to go on living almost normally until they end? Could you get another job? What else are you good at that you could make money of? If you have garden, it is time to become an expert gardener. Being able to grow your own food is an invaluable skill.

And acknowledge the novelty of this situation. There will be people who will have it worse then you. Help those who you know are worth it and buy a baseball bat to defend yourself from those who will not ask for help in a … friendly way. It’s scary, but you can only start solving a problem once you acknowledge it. So let’s acknowledge the fact that we really, really do not know how long this will go on. Most governments never expected for our civilized society to deal with a pandemic of such magnitude, and they will not always make the best decisions. They will not be able to save, protect and help all of us. So let’s acknowledge that if we do not help ourselves, it is quite possible nobody will. We are all in this together and we will deal with it in different ways. And unfortunately when survival is at stake, being a decent human being is no longer a priority for most people. So acknowledge that too and decide what you are willing to do if worse comes to worst.

I do not want to scare you more then you already are. But most of us have been sleeping comfortably on the pillow of civility, in our decent communities for so long we forgot that for some people laws are just guidelines. Most societies remain civilized not because their member are unable of doing uncivilized things, but because they choose not to. In an uncertain situation, when resources are limited being civilized is no longer a priority.

I really hope for a miracle, and I hope in three months we will have a vaccine or the virus will just mutate into an innovensive form. And I really hope we as a society will become better because of it. But … hope is just a thought. And thoughts are just thoughts. Only actions shape reality.

Stay safe, stay healty and stay sane!

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