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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

‘Monotonous and sad’: People share lockdown experiences in second wave

If the first COVID wave and lockdowns gave people the much-needed break to pursue their hobbies, 2021 has been about loss and despair for many. So, how are people coping amid the second wave? Here's what we found

Written by Jayashree Narayanan | Pune |
May 31, 2021 12:30:13 pm
lockdown, second wave lockdowns, mental health, what are people doing amid second wave, second wave lockdown feelings, 2021 lockdowns India and people, what do people think about second wave, covid deaths, pandemic life, indianexpress.com, indianexpress, mental health news,Allow yourself to feel the varied emotions that you are going through and know that it's okay to go through them, says a clinical psychologist. (Source: Getty Images/Thinkstock)

The second wave of the pandemic has been devastating to say the least. It has affected numerous lives, livelihoods and the mental health of people. As such, unlike last year, people’s lockdown experiences are no longer about baking banana bread, painting, gardening or trying out new hobbies. With the fear of being infected, as many continue to stay indoors, we reached out to some individuals to know what’s on their minds. From lending a helping hand in this time of crisis, to taking out time for oneself, here’s what indianexpress.com learnt.

“This year, Covid has reached family and friends. Hence, making Dalgona coffee and baking banana bread is not something any one of us are enjoying,” said Somali Bajpai, a PR professional, adding that even entertainment platforms do not appeal to her at the end of work-from-home, which was not the case last year.

So, what is keeping her occupied after work? “One thing which gives me solace is collecting footage from my previous travels and making videos and vlogs around it. Due to the hectic office schedule, I couldn’t attempt it earlier. The mesmerising visuals give me some form of escape and adding music helps me heal. This may sound boring to many, but it’s new for me and I plan to do this on a regular basis from now on,” she mentioned.

For Reecha Chandak, 35, who is part of the healthcare industry the current COVID-19 crisis has distanced her from many friends, family, and even experiences. “There are periods of life that we look back at with nostalgia. We feel that loss and accept the bitter reality of what will never be. There are many intangible things that have been lost to us because of COVID–19, and their absence underscores a time that was often taken for granted,” Chandak, who works as an assistant manager, marketing, at Bhatia Hospital, said.

Notably, a lot of celebrities too have been exchanging SOS messages for hospital beds, medicines, oxygen requirements etc, and expressing how they are keeping themselves positive and occupied, unlike last year when they widely shared fitness videos, baking recipes, cleaning scheduled etc on their social media.

Ajeeb Daastaans actor Shefali Shah also penned a note on how the times have left us feeling vulnerable like never before. “Nothing seems to pacify us. This unprecedented situation has made fear, frustration, and hopelessness part of our lives. Consciously, subconsciously hypnotising us into helplessness. We try to do whatever we can to be of some help. Giving one lead of an ICU bed, one number of a plasma donor, one meal to someone in need. But more than others we do it for ourselves, to give us a sense of purpose. To keep ourselves from feeling useless and redundant. In spite of knowing nothing will be enough, in our own way, we have each other’s back. But do we have our own back that is overburdened and arching to a breaking point,” she said.

In her note, Shah also pointed out that howsoever our efforts may feel “insignificant” in comparison to the tragedies others have or are facing, we need to acknowledge it and let it be. “And it makes us question our right to feel sad or low or even happy. Nothing we feel is insignificant. Now more than ever. Every moment can’t be great. But every moment doesn’t have to be bad either. So, whatever it takes to keep our humour, our smiles, our sanity and strength intact…do it. Do anything even if sometimes it means doing nothing at all. Our own pacing minds and hurting hearts need rest maybe just a crazy rainbow of untameable hope,” she added.

Unlike last year that was spent on trying new recipes, 27-year-old Chhavi Auplish has been preparing simple home-cooked food for COVID patients. “Through my contacts, I’m helping as many people as possible to get beds or oxygen or medicines etc. I also prepared food for nearby COVID patients, though it was only for 3-4 of them. But single-handedly, I could do this much only,” mentioned the communications professional.

Actor and fitness aficionado Shilpa Shetty Kundra, also pointed out how one can take a break if “feeling overwhelmed”. “For everyone who is dealing with someone battling Covid-19, or has been helping others find the resources they need, I understand that this battle is not easy for any of us. Take some time off. You need to mentally be in a place that allows you to think on your feet and be fit enough to help others. Do whatever allows you to strengthen yourself and come back stronger to do what you can,” she wrote in a post on social media.

Auplish has also been regularly practising meditation to deal with the “negativity around” that she said has “deeply affected us and our minds that are now occupied by negative thoughts.” “So, I’m meditating every day; and unlike last year, this lockdown is quite monotonous and sad. So instead of cooking junk food, we’re all practicing a very healthy lifestyle. Having fluids and healthy food,” she mentioned.

Agreed Sahana S, clinical psychologist and outreach associate, Mpower The Centre – Bengaluru, and said how the impact of the second wave has been “more devastating, both physically and mentally”. “This time, people have to face and cope with the loss of their loved ones. A sense of hopelessness and guilt has also risen amongst people. People are feeling emotionally numb and there is a lot of grief and anxiety that we have to deal with. It is more painful because it is anxiety that is stemming from our very basic need – survival. Furthermore, protecting and helping our loved ones survive is also causing people to break down emotionally,” she mentioned.

According to her, in such emergency and panic-causing situations, here’s what to consider:

*It is important that we take perspective- work with what we can (things that are under our control),
*Allow ourselves to feel the varied emotions that we are going through and it’s okay to go through them,
*Try to be in the “here and now” and look at things one day at a time,
*Avoid overloading of information that creates anticipatory anxiety,
*Always stay connected with your loved ones and do not withdraw from people.

“An amazing trait of being human is that we learn to adapt and cope with the most difficult of situations. There is definitely hope so continue helping one another,” she said.

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