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Covid-19 is here to stay. Here’s how you can emotionally prepare for this extended crisis

Updated on:29 April 2020, 11:24am IST
As reports from all over the world suggest covid-19 isn’t ending anytime soon, here’s some emotional guidance on how you can prepare yourself.
Dr Vinod Kumar
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Experts suggest that we may have to practice social distancing till 2020. So, it’s time to prepare ourselves for the fact that covid-19 crisis is here to stay. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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To say that we are in the midst of a very complex and ongoing situation would be an understatement. And so overwhelming feelings of grief, given the lockdown and the rising covid-19 pandemic, are natural.

If one has to deal with a loss of any sort, even that of freedom to move about, it is relatively easier, when the loss is finite and defined. Grief unfolds in varying stages of emotional reactions, such as an initial state of shock and disbelief followed by a period of acceptance and then reorganising your life in the context of the loss.

However, the complex process of grieving for a loss only starts when there is definite and clear loss–for example when a relationship ends due to divorce or the death of a partner. But, if there is continuous to and fro in the relationship without any certainty or clarity, then the situation is bound to be messy. The same can be said about our current situation.

We were all unprepared for the covid-19 pandemic
When the unprecedented coronavirus pandemic hit our lives in March of this year, we were not prepared for all the disruptions and uncertainties that were to follow.

Government authorities have tried to define the lockdown period for covid-19, but inevitably, due to the dynamic nature of this situation, it gets extended or a number of terms and conditions are enforced. In such a scenario it is impossible to realistically plan our work life, student life, or our personal lives.

coronavirus update
The truth is that coronavirus and its consequent lockdown took us all by surprise. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

These are unchartered waters and it is exasperating and quite frustrating to say the least. Depending on our temperament and unique situation, sooner or later we have to accept the reality of uncertainty and adapt accordingly.

But how can you adapt when there is no end in sight of either the pandemic or the consequent lockdown?
In simple words: by paying attention to our emotional reaction. You see, the way we react can be categorized into two brackets–helpful and unhelpful.

Unhelpful emotions typically include feelings of anger, sadness, fear, and frustration. These feelings are bound to come up. But after we have endured these for sometime, we need to reflect on the utility of these emotions in the given situation, and try and set them aside as much as possible. Otherwise, we are only adding fuel to the fire.

Also read: Coronavirus scare can be debilitating for people with anxiety. Here’s how an expert suggests to tame the panic

Helpful emotions, on the other hand, include feelings of calm, equanimity, and gratitude for all the positives in our lives. Obviously this will lead to positive gains wherever you are, we all need to aspire to develop positive emotions aided by continuous self-reflection and contemplation.

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Doing activities that help you feel calmer are very important during this time. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Use this time for personal growth
Before the onset of the current situation humanity was generally marching towards destruction–and calamitous statistics regarding the environment are proof.

Even though these perilous times are enforced upon us, they can catapult us back to a spiritual and more balanced way of living. Personally I think it is a great opportunity for all of us to pause and reconnect with our true spiritual self and nature ultimately.

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Dr Vinod Kumar Dr Vinod Kumar

Dr Vinod Kumar is the head of MPower-The Centre in Bengaluru.