“It was the Best of Times; It was the Worst of Times”
The opening line of Charles Dickens’s ‘A Tale of Two Cities.” has always been apt and relevant, but never as much as it is in our current times when people all across the globe find themselves in the throes of a pandemic. Locked down in our homes, when our T.V screens and twitter feeds constantly bombard us with a never ending cycle of distressing news, when things we took for granted are now out of reach and a global recession seems inevitable, it feels as if there is no way out of this ceaseless chaos and catastrophic crisis.
Yet; in the midst of this predicament, we have witnessed some of the finest examples of altruism and the strength of the human spirit. Our health workers have been at the forefront, fearlessly risking their own lives as they try to ward off death and essential service workers have been doing their best to ensure that we have access to resources.
We are living in times of uncertainty. It feels as if we have lost all control and the future seems to be painted in shades bleaker than the present, yet there is one thing which still remains certain.
You control your response.
Only you choose your response. You always have and you always will. Instead of spiralling into worry, you can choose to face this challenge with resilience and compassion. And in the times like these, when the odds seem to be stacked against us, it is even more important for us to choose kindness, over and above everything else, because today we are connected like never before and anything and everything we do, shall have ripples across the world.
It’s natural to feel overwhelmed. It’s natural to feel confused. To not know what to do and where to begin. If you find yourself in a similar situation, here is a simple guide to help you practice kindness in times of a Pandemic.
Kindness for your self.
As Heraclitus said, “To be even-minded, is the greatest virtue”
If you have been refreshing your newsfeed every five minutes, now is the time to stop. Worrying or fretting about the future will only make you feel worse. No one knows how this will roll out, both on an individual as well as global scale. The only thing you can do is to follow the advice and keep the faith. Cling a little tighter to hope.
Before the pandemic struck us, we were suffering from another epidemic. The busyness epidemic. It always seemed like we lacked time. There was so much to do, but no time to do any of it. Now, that you have a surplus of this finite resource, invest a little in organising your thoughts, reflecting on your beliefs and rethinking your priorities. Once you clear the fog, you’ll feel a lot better and the (metaphoric) drive, will seem a lot smoother.
Reconnect with your hobbies
Did you always want to pick up a paintbrush and swirl the paints on a sheet? Is there a story you had always wanted to write? Are there books on your desk that have been collecting dust for way longer than you can remember? Now’s the time to do it all! Reconnecting with your hobbies or even trying out something completely new (indoors, that is) will help you get your mind out of the troubling news and into a state of flow. The more constructive activities you engage in, the better you will feel.
Take it slow. Take it easy.
Remember, you are under no obligation to suddenly catapult into superman levels of efficiency. It’s alright if you are feeling overwhelmed. It’s alright if you are feeling stressed. A lot of us are. Acknowledge your emotions and progress mindfully. Take a deep breath and draw yourself back to the present moment; it’s the best place to be in.
Kindness for the world
This goes without saying.
If you think you are young, free and wild and a puny little virus won’t affect you, Sorry. You can’t be further from the truth. Going out needlessly and flouting social distancing rules is not only putting you at risk but others as well.
Stay safe. Stay home.
It’s likely that you are cramped in your home with your family members. Living together within four walls for such an extended period of time is sure to result in some conflict. Frustration can affect the best of us. Kindness is understanding that the other person is just as stressed out as you. Proceed with patience. Help out each other with small tasks. Hear each other out. In the face of a global crisis, knowing that we are all in this together provides a sense of relief
Let others know you care
Sometimes a simple call can brighten our day. The simplest of words, when laced with kindness, lead to happy smiles. Call your friends and family. Get in touch with those you haven’t spoken too in a long time. Leavy a friendly message. All of us are in a need of a little more hope and there is nothing stopping you from becoming a beacon of light.
There are several ways you can contribute monetarily to help fight the pandemic. Some people are helping by donating masks, such as this Texas woman. Others have promised to not cut the wages of their household help. Maybe you are in a financial crunch yourself. Just remember to do the best you can.
These are tough times, but together (yet far apart) we can make it hurt a little less!