Life Skills

Keeping Sane and Thriving @Coronatimes

Corona virus has taken us all by surprise. The sudden unexpected change has brought many shifts in our lives which many of us are finding difficult to navigate. Let’s discuss what we can do in the midst of the pandemic so that we emerge victorious.

Mindset change: It’s not a break from your “Normal” routine but a complete overhaul. Treat it as an opportunity to re-evaluate priorities and make healthy lifestyle changes that will serve in the long run. The pandemic is real and it’s happening. Let’s acknowledge it. Let us hug the unknown and make perspective shifts while following the advisory.

Maintain your equilibrium: First and foremost priority is to keep oneself calm and centered. Your first responsibility is to be a warrior and stand tall amidst this crisis. Read an uplifting book, take adequate rest. If you are feeling overwhelmed by news disconnect from news, if overwhelmed by work ask for help in household chores.

Follow rhythm: Have a pattern for the day. Try waking and sleeping at around same time everyday. Having meals on regular time each day is good for health. If your kids haven’t been following rhythm earlier make gradual shifts. Don’t ask too much out of them.

Build up immunity: Build a Practice of Mindfulness and Meditation. Ananda India is offering lots of resources online. For people interested here’s the link Eat in moderation and stay hydrated. Warm lemon water in the morning has been said to have cleansing effect on the body. A cup of warm milk with a pinch of turmeric is also said to boost body’s natural immunity. If your home gets sunlight try to soak some in morning or evening. Integrate some form of physical exercise, be it Yoga or jogging in place. Household chores like sweeping the floor the traditional way is a great exercise. Energisation exercises given by Paramhansa Yogananda is a great tool for keeping our energy up. Take adequate sleep. If you can be joyful there’s no immune- booster like it.

Don’t lower the immunity by focusing on worry, negative news on social media, irregular sleep patterns. Stress significantly lowers immunity and also brings other disorders in it’s wake. Go on a Worry Fast rather than feasting on worry.

Use and consume social media responsibly: Avoid news( especially on TV) if it is overwhelming which it is. Don’t spend much time online mindlessly grazing through Netflix, Youtube and the likes. Be responsible in what you share on social media. Practice Non violent communication on social media. Be offline as much as possible maybe take a complete day off. Board games are meant to be played on board not on smartphones.

Acknowledge your feelings but don’t brood over them. Practice present moment awareness in case you get overwhelmed, that is pay attention to the current moment and realizing that in this moment ‘I am safe and provided for’. One can bring focus back to present moment through engaging the senses by naming 5 objects you see at that moment, 4 sounds you can hear, 3 things you can feel through your skin, 2 distinct smells and one thing to taste.We all are in this situation. Everyone is being affected on some level or the other. You are not alone.

Breathe. Yes just focusing on breath helps us in calming and re-centering ourselves. Be an observer of your breath several times a day.

Bond as a family: Divide home chores and try to do together as much as possible for example ask your kids to take off clothes from clothesline and pile up where everywhere can sit together and fold. Cook together, do the dishes together. Bring back games from your childhood. Make your own board games. Have story time. Share stories from your childhood and recall some fun incidents. Make video calls to your distant family and friends. Spread love. Share joyous time together by going through photo albums.

Mindful conversations: Words have power, use them judiciously. Don’t discuss news and stats too much especially in front of younger kids. Limit conversations around COVID. If you are feeling triggered don’t enter into a heated conversation. Take deep breaths, distance from that person till you are calm again. Logical conversations might not work as this whole situation feels so surreal.

Gratitude and Appreciation can shift you quickly from a negative mood into positive frame. So practice them more often. Keep a gratitude joural. Make an appreciation jar. For eg. one of the notes in our appreciation jar says ‘thank you Bhabhi for cooking without complaining’ while my son wrote ‘Thank you for yummy dosa’. One can observe the happiness it brings when we read appreciation notes.Appreciate the value of others in your life and actually speak those words of appreciation.

Pray: Play the bhajans/chants/ uplifting music. If possible do away with loud noisy beats and do the evening aarti/chant together. Offer prayer of gratitude before sleeping. Pray for healing trusting in God’s wisdom. Don’t pray in despair, pray with faith and conviction.

De-clutter your space and practice austerity: Some of us have already done this and it’s a good time to de-clutter. Be objective while sorting out stuff. Mark items to be given because you haven’t used them for a while and are unlikely to use in future. Also mark to where you would like to donate or give them. Really experience how little we actually need. We don’t have to go back to the life of consumerism.

Learn life skills: Learn to cook and do home chores. Lots of online offerings are also there in all arenas. Now you could do a zumba class from the comfort of your home, isn’t that wonderful? Re-invent yourself. See what skills you can add that will help you post lockdown. If the job/industry you are employed in is taking downturn explore where else your skills will be useful, what job offerings you can apply with current skills or maybe adding one or two might augment your portfolio. Rewrite your CV according to the job you want to apply for and add necessary skills. There are lot of resources available online for skill adding.

Share: Have compassion for less fortunate and contribute to the society in whatever way you can. Shift the focus from” Me, me and me”. Let your posts on social media be imbued with spreading positivity even if it’s sharing the pictures of your green planters. Whatever skill you have cooking, recycling, organizing, arts, writing whatever share it with the world. If even one soul is uplifted wouldn’t it be enough not to mention your spirits will automatically be lifted.

Financial Planning: Prioritize your life- needs and desires. See what all you can let go. It’s a good time to hold discussion among family members as to what the family values are and how members can support one another. What kind of lifestyle will the family be able to maintain Post Covid. What we essentially need and what we can let go off. Please include older kids in discussion. It’s also a good time to reflect on saving habits and difference it makes.

Ask for help: Government of India has taken a commendable step in allowing tele-medicine. Many institutions as well as individuals have started providing online counseling services. Make use of them.

Dealing with people having mental health disorders: Have reasonable supply of medicines. Do not leave the medicines with patients at this time and supervise taking of medications. Limit their exposure to news. Worsening might happen and if it does call up your mental health provider or use helpline.

Dealing with kids: You don’t have to fill each and every minute of their day. Let them get bored. Play with them as often as you can. Involve them in household chores. Don’t hammer your kids to study. Gently suggest but then leave it to them. Don’t pressurize your kids to learn online. Make critical observations on what actually is important. There’s an opportunity for tremendous growth and resilience don’t lose it by meandering into the by-lanes of forced academics. Take this time to see the world through their eyes. Understand that they are also feeling change and might be unable to express it concretely in words like adults also that their neural processing is not yet fully developed. Let them process and express it through their play, don’t unduly interrupt by saying “aise nahin bolte”. Be observant.

Don’t despair: Stay positive doesn’t mean ignore the advisory. Let’s accept it. The world is changing… for better. Hope we make the transition too.

You can drop in your comments here if you need expert advice or can connect to me through my facebook page named Parenting Mantra as well.

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About Dr. Mona Choudhary

I,Dr. Mona {Psychiatrist(M.B.B.S., MD) am a strong advocate of holistic health, meditate regularly, have tried different models of education like homeschooling, alternate school etc. for my super energetic son. I focus on basics and use my medical training and over a decade of experience in psychiatry to give practical advice on difficult parenting issues via individual consultation, workshops and this blog so that parents can become their best versions uplifting the child in the process.
View all posts by Dr. Mona Choudhary →

13 thoughts on “Keeping Sane and Thriving @Coronatimes

  1. Dear Dr. Mona,
    As always it is one of the best blog you have designed for this period of pandemic. You have given all the probabilities that could fit almost every home and people from different arena. I really appreciate your heartful writings and together pray for a better time to follow.
    Regards n wishes

  2. Nice article ..some of the points are not valid for me at this point of time maybe as my baby is very young ..he is just 8 months and needs all my attention.
    Please throw some light on how to stop yourself from yelling at your child..sometimes I get frustrated and starts yelling but lateron when my child is sleeping I feel so guilty …the guilt is beyond words.
    I also have one more query,how does a child brain works as far as mother and child bonding is concerned, for a working mother does a child bonds less with his mother and more with nanny or caregiver.
    My biggest fear is one day my child will think that nanny is his mom..I may sound silly but this is what I feel

    1. Hi Monika, thank you very much for reading this post and sharing your concerns. Let’s take them one by one. You aren’t being silly, many mothers have this doubt. As your child grows up he will know that you are the mother and nanny is the caregiver. So cognitively your biggest fear is never going to materialize. In terms of connection even we as adults tend to bond with them who show us love and affection and forego our mistakes what to speak of a child. An infant doesn’t think she is my mother,she is nanny. Connections are formed on basis of human interactions. Those who share more skin time, sing and soothe the child and are around him to cater to his needs networks of love and safety are formed which are associated with the primary caregiver. If human interactions are brief and rude similar neural networks result associated with that person. So try to spend as much time as you can with your child both qualitative and quantity vise. And as far as the guilt is concerned I have been there few times so I know how it feels. This question needs personal exploration and there are many tools to keeping your calm but my favourite is meditation. That has been the game changer for me. I developed more patience day by day. Ananda India Online is offering many classes during this time of pandemic. There are other sources too for meditation but I recommend what i practice.
      Hope the answer provides some relief to you.

  3. Dear Aunty,

    I’m so grateful that you write and share such wonderful blogs… they are just what we need. If one follows your advice on how to utilise their time during this lockdown, life will be so full of learning experiences and joy.

    Each point you mentioned: Maintaining a routine, Boosting our immunity and Sharing… all are so apt and important.

    Thank you!! 🙂

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