Connecting during the Pandemic

Just as life had started to go back to semi-normal – with educational institutions slowly opening up around the world, shops and businesses coming back to life, restaurants serving dine-in customers, and people emerging out of isolation – we are now bracing ourselves for the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic crashing down upon us. For some reason, it feels harder to accept it this time around. Harder to retreat back into that bubble we were in at the start of the pandemic. Harder to get back into the online classes mode. Harder to let go of the everyday things which we used to take for granted, but seemed to cherish so much more once the situation allowed it. But, it is what it is and as responsible citizens we must take all the precautions and measures needed to contain this virus and bring an end to this global pandemic.

In this midst of it all, it feels like we go into some form of automated mode, where we are just doing the actions and taking care of what needs to be done, but ignoring our thoughts, feelings, and emotional state. We are living through a global crisis that is impacting each and every one of us – individually and collectively. Though there are so many things that are out of our control, there is one specific thing which we CAN control that I feel has been the single most important thing that has helped me through this challenging time of uncertainty, stress, and fear – and that is maintaining connections with my human support system.

As an introvert, I thought going into lockdown and working from home sounded pretty dreamy. No need to get dressed and go out, no obligation to socialize – just sitting in the comfort of home in isolation with my family. I was ready. Reality proved otherwise. It took me 5 days to start feeling claustrophobic. To start feeling like I needed to get out of the house and see people, feel the presence of others. I started to feel low and lethargic, my mood was off, I was snapping at my kids, I didn’t feel like doing anything. That’s when I realized, if I couldn’t go out and be around people or meet my friends and family, I would have to do SOMETHING. That’s when I started organizing and setting up Zoom meetings and reunions.

I have never been more grateful for technology than I have been during this pandemic. It allowed us to connect across oceans, across time zones, with people who we haven’t met in years. Cousins getting together online swapping childhood stories, old high school friends catching up, work colleagues regrouping just because we miss each other’s’ company, daily video calls with sisters and parents. It felt like we were more connected than in usual days!

The bonding felt special, maybe because we are all collectively going through this together. This pandemic is a shared global experience, and that unique fact allows us understand one another at a deeper level. There is always a silver lining, you just need to look for it.