These are corona-times. From governments, medical professionals and WhatsApp university professors to the all-knowing spiritual gurus and religious leaders, you have no dearth of advice on coping, managing, and remaining safe with the coronavirus pandemic. The good thing is that the social distancing the virus has forced upon us is giving people the much-missed ‘family time’ though within the confines of the home. For a good percentage of people, especially the working and the busy ones, this kind of home-time may be new. Like most things in life, when its novelty withers away, the free time available to individuals at home will enter into the domain of boredom. And boredom can bring in psychological issues of many kinds.
Boredom is defined as the state of being weary and restless through lack of interest. When we do not have activities that generate interest, we tend to get bored. As a mind-care professional, through the points given below, I too am venturing out as an ‘advisor’ on the psychological and mental health aspects of life during these corona-times and beyond.
- Acknowledge the purpose of being confined to the home. Stick to the rules of social distancing with sincerity.
- Observe the way home functions, - from connecting with each other at home to cooking, cleaning, etc. Maybe you never had an opportunity to do this earlier which deprived you of the understanding of the fineries of family environment and home management.
- Many of us are control freaks, whether we admit it or not. Control the urge to control others. If you have millennials at home, know that they have their own ways of utilizing their times. Unless any of their activities are likely to have an adverse effect on their own life or that of the others around, do not try to control them.
- Try to spend time meaningfully. Pursue hobbies, engage in more positive communication with each other at home, connect with others outside through phone or messenger apps like WhatsApp, learn to cook, help in-home activities, read, etc.
- The ego will remain to be harmful to human relations even after the coronavirus gets controlled. Spend some time introspecting and reflecting to check out on your own ego issues. Ego would have prevented you to forgive many. It would have blocked you from communicating with people who were otherwise supposed to be closely connected. Nature is flashing its torch of wisdom on the reality of universal equality through the coronavirus pandemic. No one is superior, no one is rich and no one is great! Everything is situational. The ivory towers we have created with false pride and ego are meaningless. The person who wouldn’t get into the car unless the peon opened its door is now uncomfortable when the peon touches its door handle. Manage the false pride and ego during the current home-times. Reach out to people without these – starting from those at home and then beyond. With this you are very likely to find a more comfortable and caring world among them.
- Empathy is the key to human relations. Learn to empathize with the way life treats others around, from their position. This again will open up a more beautiful awareness of the human relationship matrix.
- Reflect. Reflect on life’s events that kept you unhappy with others. Now look at them without the prism of ego and false pride. Empathize with people involved in those unpleasant events from their perspectives. This may encourage you to forgive many. Once you forgive, genuine communications will show up the green shoots. Nurture those shoots and life will bloom more beautifully for you.
- Expect less, especially from others. Disappointments are the gaps between expectations and fulfillment. Remember, we are not expecting things from others after taking their permissions or checking out on their capabilities (mental,physical or financial) to fulfill our expectations. With less of expectations from others, we are less disappointed and consequently more happy.
- Forgiving is not difficult. There may be many beautiful relationships that are currently choked because of your inability to forgive. Ego may be one of the factors that may be blocking you from forgiving. Fossilised disappointments of unjustifiable expectations from others may be other reasons preventing forgiveness. Remember– life is in the ‘here and now’. Whatever (WHATEVER) has happened in the past is rigid, unchangeable history. There is no point in clinging onto them to remain unhappy. What will happen in future is most uncertain. Our current corona-times are also a pointer towards this. So make the best of the here and now. Reach out to those with whom distances and barriers have been created with forgivable and forgettable reasons. Begin a new here and now this way, and you are most likely to succeed in leading a life of greater joys.
- Understand that all relationships are two-way. Accept others as what they are because they have their own limitations in becoming what you want them to be. Once you accept others that way, unconditional love will follow. Remember, - love too is two-way! Give those whom you love a feeling that you are there for them. With this, along with yours, their life too will blossom.
- Life is a flow, full of moment to moment changes. Try not to make anything rigid, in terms of rules, regulations, likes, dislikes, needs, habits, rituals, beliefs etc. Do not hesitate in breaking rules if it does not affect your own or others’ life adversely.
- It is not difficult for any sensible person to identify mental disorders (which simply do not mean crazy madness) in self or in others we are living with. Some of the common mental health issues are depression, obsession (OCD), narcissism, histrionics, alcoholism, bipolar disorder, paranoid personality disorder, hypochondriasis (illness anxiety disorder, which is likely to manifest in many during these corona-times), anxiety disorders, etc. Taking help from mental health professionals (psychiatrists and professional psychologists) to deal with such situations, rather than brushing them under the carpet, will be wise.
Corona-times are difficult times. I carry a belief that we will be in a different world order once we overcome the current situations. We are very likely to change our perceptions and belief systems of life and living (drilled into us by others during our childhood days) in our post-corona days. The main reason for this is the fact that nature has played the role of the great leveler through the current virus pandemic. The lesson learned is that no one is invincible. Money and power are no guarantors of happiness and success, but collaborative and mutually complementary human relations in social living are. This is so irrespective of our caste, creed, religion, community, or country. We need to carry this message through the generations ahead.