Troubling Days, Not the End of Days
By Sara Badr, Associate Director of Events and Activations
During difficult times, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture, it’s easy to feel lost and resort back to our fight or flight instincts. It’s important to remember, thing’s aren’t black or white, there are countless shades of grey in between and finding the right one is what gets us to the other end with as much grace fathomable. Caution, over paranoia. Empathy, over stress. Acceptance over out-casting. Development over submission. Love over fear.
Amidst the current COVID-19 circumstances the world faces, governments and individuals play their part through committing to their own safety as well as everyone else’s. Below are a few suggestions on how we can take charge of our attitude and outlook on everything, and do our part to do more good than harm.
Help Yourself, In Order to Help others.
Russell Crowe in ‘A Beautiful Mind’ puts it elegantly: “The best outcome comes from everyone in the group doing what’s best for themselves, and the group”. Knowing what we do about the COVID-19, it is clear that taking care of yourself first, is the best way to take care of others. Younger generations may feel their immune system can handle it, however their silver haired loved ones at home are more prone to the consequences, which is why it’s important to adhere to the WHO health suggestions and government lock downs and quarantine. Sacrifice today for a better tomorrow.
Choose your words
Hundreds of thousands are currently infected, but that number pales in comparison to those who are tested negative. Take a second to consider how those who are tested positive might feel. Optimism, support and empathy are known to give the immune system a boost, and now more than ever is when we need it. We’re all concerned for those we care for, but constructive and empathetic criticism goes a long way; panicking and feeding chaos will only add fuel to fire. It’s a great chance to practice providing psychological and emotional aid, finding a balance between staying positive but being cautious. The same however goes the other way, for those of us that are built with lighter hearts, telling them to “simply not stress” will not magically fix their problems and is more likely to aggravate them even more. Instead, give them reasons to stay faithful in a better tomorrow, whether that is positive news, reassuring indicators or even a hopeful shoulder to lean on.
What’s the deal with social distancing? Why is it important and what does it really mean? Simply put, the greatest risk factor of the COVID-19 is its level of contagiousness and the fact that it takes around 2 weeks to manifest, meaning you alone could have infected tens of people, and none of you are the wiser. If we stick to the safety of our homes, and practice maintaining distance from those around us, we give the virus lower chances of finding a medium to hop on to. But social distancing does not mean cutting off from friends and family; take this time to spend with your family members, grow together, “tell them the stories you haven’t had the chance to, and learn about the stories you were never home to hear”. As for your friends, you could send them a letter by ‘pigeon’ … Or thankfully, make use of the digital age we live in. Call them through any of the countless video calling applications, or play online group games like ‘Trivia’ or ‘Pysch!’. Movie nights do not have to end, confidants can still be there for you and laughing with your group never needed physical presence. Who knows, this might also prove a good chance to finally clean your room for your viewers.
Social Media. Social. Media.
News travels fast, and panic travels even faster. Waking up everyday to reading dozens of negative stories, news pieces, outlooks and analyses of the virus is bound to bring down even the most positive of people. If anything is more contagious than the COVID-19, it is the negativity and panic it causes. It’s great to stay updated, but keep your sources limited and verify the credibility, choose quality over quantity when assessing the situation, and most importantly, be careful with what you spread. No doubt, it is top priority to protect our children from the virus, but it’s equally as important to keep the negative news and morbid outlooks as far away from them as possible. A child’s innocence and ignorance is a bliss that does not last forever, and playing our part in prolonging that is our responsibility. Social media can be overwhelming, but for those who choose, It can also be a weapon against low spirits. Choose to spread the good news, choose to give encouraging and refreshing feeds, provide balanced precautionary measurements, give praise to medical personnel, give support to those infected and give hope to everyone else. Overwhelming negative news from social media can lead to “false-anxiety”, instead it’s best to adopt a healthy blend of realism.
Opportunities Come A’Knocking.
Being stuck at home can be daunting and suffocating to anyone, but time has always been our most valuable commodity and we now have an abundance of it. Just like anything of value, you can either invest it, or squander it. Take this as an opportunity to develop yourself in any aspect you’d like and know that there is a community out there to support you. Look at the silver linings, those who have to commute 2 hours a day or more, now have some extra time to rest. Take this as an opportunity to practice patience and resilience. Resilience is most likely one of the greatest assets we can all attain, learning to persevere and carry on life as best we can, to come out with thicker skin and an “I can do it” mind set.
Your attitude can turn the tides, a balanced level of caution and positivity will keep you safe and sane; and understanding the power of social media and news can empower you to tame the chaos. These may be difficult and troubling days, but they do not have to be treated as the end of days.