I am not ok and I have no qualms about saying it even though i have been fortunate enough to not have a personal tragedy in my IMMEDIATE family.
The newness of the lockdown last year, with everyone exploring varied amusements via group gaming online or connecting with long lost friends, experimenting their culinary skills; has slowly waned. Energies are now diffused, and most seem to be struggling to get past a day at a time.
Days drag by with some failed and some successful attempts of arranging ambulances, oxygen cylinders, oxygen concentrators for near and dear ones or even complete strangers.
Families are just trying to keep their sanity intact amongst the few faces that they have to see everyday. Tempers are flaring for things that were non-issues in the past, kids are howling for minuscule matters and the grim news flooded across all platforms is only exacerbating minds further.
I feel like I have about 10 bricks on my chest, the weight of which has become so familiar, that on any given time in the day, if anyone asks me how i am doing – i can actually relay it in quantum now. The best moments feels like about 2 bricks. But the pendulum oscillates from 2 to 10 swiftly through the day.
But you know what, NOBODY IS OK and THAT IS OK. I think to be ok in the face of such mayhem would probably make one inhumane.
What we can do is take baby steps to make each day better. We just need to start small, the size of a mustard seed.
Find the light and chase it down.
Rumi famously said, “the wound is the place where the light gets in”
Take the first step, that’s all:
Here is what I am trying:
1. Take a day off work
Take a day off to just breathe, process the chaos around you, acknowledge what you feel. Brushing it under the carpet for a future day, wont help.
2. Start office meetings with a happy moment
At virtual meetings at work, start with a happy moment. Narrate the most simplistic joy that you felt on a given day to spread a positive vibe. Be it the mischievousness of a kid in the family or a meme or joke that cracked you up. And if you can’t think of one, ask someone else to. Live it vicariously for that fleeting moment.
3. Find the sparkle
In our small family of 4, we play a game called “find the sparkle”. We ask each member to find one thing to appreciate about the other 3 in the day that went by. It could be the tiniest observation. A unexpected hug, any sweet gesture. Once you get into the habit, it almost becomes like a competition to ensure that you do something each day to make it count. Kids can come up with amazing observations.
4. Celebrate the teeny weeny things
My kids are being reprimanded for hitting each other these days. So when my elder one, despite persistent nagging from the younger brat controlled her anger and reigned in her instinct to hit out, we celebrated. We actually opened a packet of chips for the kids, poured a drink for ourselves and celebrated.
In this tumultuous upheaval that we are witnessing each day, the ordinary and the teeny weeny things have to count for something to keep us sane.
5. Go on a happiness crusade
Hunt, literally hunt for happiness. It’s like the precious diamond that is way too scarce right now. Within you or outside in the little ordinary things of life. Just find it ! And when you find it, latch on to it.
I saw a rather funny video on YouTube. I kept reminding myself of it through the day and it kept putting that smile back on my lips.
6. Empower your children
Days when you feel drained and exhausted and just about manage to rummage some determination to get past the day, empower your children to take decisions for themselves through the day. See what they do with the responsibility you bestow on their shoulders. Ask them to plan their day, decide what they will eat, demarcate play time, tv time and all other activities that keep them engaged. The idea is to make them understand that this empowerment is a privilege and if it is misused, the privilege will be taken away.
The benefits are 2 fold:
A. You would be surprised how constructively and carefully children use their privilege
B. You will be relieved for a day of the continual mini decisions that you need to make for little humans around the house all day long.
I empowered my elder one to play mommy to the younger one for a day. I didn’t have to decide the following for the day:
(a) what they should wear;
(b) if she can have a candy before lunch or after lunch;
(c) when can they watch TV;
(d) do they need to study;
(e) do they need to finish the food on their plates;
(f) if one calls the other an ‘idiot’, what must the consequences be;
(g) if one rolls eyes at the other, is it or is it not rude and disrespectful;
(h) if they hit each other, then who started it and what should thr consequences be for each;
My officially shrunk brain can only think of the above but any parent would be able to add a dozen more in a jiffy !!
7. Make people around you feel worthy
One thing that this pandemic has done is that people are stepping up left, right and centre to help others in various capacities. If one had to root for the positive out of this chaotic misery, it would be the humanity in people. We are living in a world, where people care not just about their families or neighbours but about random strangers knocking on doors of others for help.
If anyone has helped you in any way, thank them, show your gratitude. You know why, cause you don’t know their story and despite their story and the twisted plots in their screenplay of life, they took the time to help you. So bring a smile on their faces by showing your gratitude profusely. Make them feel like they matter. That appreciation of yours may help them get past that one day with a smile.
We are all fighting our own silent battles each day. Celebrate your strength and trudge along. Humanity is more alive than ever. It is dazzling and sparkling all around us.
No one is alone.
We shall overcome this hardship
THIS SHALL TOO PASS
One day at a time.