Home, Family, Work , Kids and Anxiety in the times of COVID

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My brother gifted me a swanky bike for my birthday. It was a gesture to stay young at heart, reminiscent of my love for cycling as a little girl. The next morning along with my cool green helmet and water bottle, I carried a reasonable amount of anxiety for ‘The Bike Ride.’

It had been long, and the body is not as fit as it used to be, nor was the mind as free as it was as a child. Hence the leisurely activity ahead was made into a daunting challenge along with the constant repetition in my head ‘I Will Fall’-‘I Will fall’ and yes evidently as I manifested my fear which only and only stemmed from my anxiety… I am now on bed rest with a bruised backside and spirit. Anxiety: A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease about something with an uncertain outcome. Anxiety is a feeling which is an oxymoron to logic!

Our Present-day situation is the perfect recipe for a feeling of unease and nervousness because we are treading a universal uncertainty. The difference between Fear and Anxiety is just this -Fear is of something known whereas anxiety is caused due to the unknown. Let me further explain with an example- If we are to walk in the jungle where we are pre-warned that we may encounter a tiger, we will have fear, and as we walk, we will keep thinking about how we will face the beast because of our brain has been prepped with data of known danger, we would probably carry a weapon to protect ourselves or choose not to go at all. But if someone is to tell us that there is ‘something’ in the jungle, our logic goes out of the window, and we start spinning our web of erroneous conclusions. COVID-19 is that ‘something’ in our psyche right now.

We are brimmed with uncertainties for our jobs, our children, relationships, and social progression. Humans need social connections, reassuring, comparisons, and competition to thrive, and this Virus has restricted just these—a perfect cocktail for anxiousness to intoxicate our thoughts. Well, its quite clear that there’s a problem. Now what? Should we buckle and fall? Should we be expected to wear our cape and surface as superheroes?

No, we learn to structure better. Having a routine chalked out is probably the best option for our mental survival at this time. Planning out your day is an essential part of our survival kit and reduces anxiety to a huge limit.Yes, I’m telling you to bathe at the same time every day and to get out of those PJ’s!

Having time chalked out for yourself is also a good idea as it is for the others in your house, including your children. This does not have to be a ritual and must be an easy option for all, so whether it is having your first cup of tea before everyone is awake or reading a book in a designated spot in the house where your spouse and kids both know that you would like to be alone. Most international interior designers include this trend while designing homes now; to have a corner made in the house, which is like an individual sanctuary for the members living in that space. This can just be a comfortable chair with some plants around; it does not need more than basics but goes a long way in finding some solace.

Let’s talk about our Combatants now in this war of Stress and Anxiety. Our two main contenders are The Spouse and The Children. As far as the spouse goes, the initial trend we were seeing was a sudden surge of love- Movies together, meals together, cooking together, and then Crash Boom Bang, the arguments started pilling up. WARNING: Please do not spend more than the required time with the counterpart!

The honeymoon period is over for anyone who got excited that they will have their husband or wife to them 24/7; this is not practical nor long-lasting. Sure this is a silver lining to this pandemic that we are getting more time with our family, but let’s chalk it out in an orderly manner, so we do not over expect and overburden our relationships.

As far as the munchkins go, We as grown-ups must identify that they, too are going through Anxiety and Stress at their own level. Feeling that they are the lucky ones with extended summer vacation is a misconception. More than us adults, our children need peer interactions, they are developing their basic personalities, and they need to make comparisons all the time to reassure their growth. School, Structure, and Stimulation are basic and necessary needs of growing children. Teens are mid-way adults and believe in advice from their friends far more than their parents. While parents are hovering over them 24/7, especially working parents who are now home and in their zones telling them what to do, hawk eyeing them- give them their space they themselves will indicate when they need you and at that time oblige graciously. The young adults who have just given their boards are sitting in a state of limbo, not knowing what’s going to happen next, and their big plans are being dragged over.

So what do the children need… A little leverage… No, we will not offer them wine or unlimited Tv time we will offer them earnestly our support, but only when they want it, we will offer them a structure of routine which we set by example, and we will give them a little extra physical contact like hugs, pats on their backs, winks and smiles and we will not expect that in return.

Like the great poet, Edward Gerald said

‘When things are bad, remember: it won’t always be this way. Take one day at a time. This  too shall pass.’

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