The second wave of COVID 19 in India has been much bigger and more brutal than the first one. One word that defines the second wave is helplessness!

Despite having the willingness to help, and the will to spend resources to support others, we are not able to help anyone. We cannot buy oxygen cylinders, hospital beds, ventilator enabled beds or medicine because they are just not available. The entire medical infrastructure got choked and the healthcare givers are at their wits end. A common person like me feels that the only thing we can do is to hope that God will have mercy on us. The last 3 weeks have been very depressing and stressful for me, one of my balconies overlooks a busy road and on the other side of the road is a hospital, there hasn’t been one straight hour without the sound of an ambulance siren. Every time I hear that sound of the siren, I imagine a person in the ambulance and pray for his/her well-being. I think this experience will leave a long-lasting impact on me as it has created a deep impression on my mind. 

As I started interacting with others, I realized that I am not the only one going through these emotions. There is in a way a collective atmosphere of almost continuous anxiety and depression across the society. Many people are experiencing the lack of support system and a protective environment around them.

This brought a rude realization that stress or anxiety is a natural reaction to an unprecedented and uncertain situation like this pandemic. When I started thinking and reading about this, I discovered that people can respond to such situations in various ways ranging from loneliness, long bouts of silence, sleeplessness, fear, edginess and mood swings. These emotions can have bigger implications like insomnia, poor concentration, poor memory, inability to make decisions, heightened alertness, reduced self-confidence, denial, emotional outbursts, anger etc. This served as a wakeup call and I realized that I have to take action to change the situation. 

“Every negative belief weakens the partnership between mind and body.” – Deepak Chopra

I was determined to change the way I was coping with the current situation. I experimented with dozens of recommendations and in this blog, I want to share with you what worked for me. I would like to invite you to experiment these tried and tested ways, do let me know what worked for you:

  1. Limit News Consumption. I realized that most of my stress was coming from the constant information bombarded at me from social media and endless browsing of news sites and TV news channels. Most of the news coverage deals with COVID and most of it is bad accompanied by gory pictures. I found that this was really increasing feelings of fear and anxiety in me. I decided to make an immediate change to this – I deleted the social media app from my phone for 3-4 days. I took this time to regain control of my emotions, spend time with family and do things that made me happy or engaged. I used this time for ‘self-care’. When was it last when you took time off for your own wellbeing? This really worked as a detox for me. When I resumed my normal routine after 3-4 days, I balanced my time on news/ social media by increasing time on other activities like listening to music, reading, connecting with friends and family, etc.  
“The cheerful mind perseveres, and the strong mind hews its way through a thousand difficulties.” – Swami Vivekananda
  • Stopped ruminating about negative news. I stopped discussing who got sick and how all the time. I did this to distance myself from the thoughts that were making me anxious. This does not mean I stopped caring for them. This means I diverted my energy to what I can do. I started looking at what is in my control.
“Because remember, talking about the thing isn’t the thing. Doing the thing is the thing.” – Amy Poehler
  • Maintain Social Connectedness. Feeling anxious or sad is a common place these days. So, I started connecting with people in my wider network to make sure that we are together coming out of it and guess what it made me happier. 
“I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard, and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment; and when they derive sustenance and strength from the relationship.” -Brené Brown
  • Sharing is caring. Sometimes we can show care by offering advice to someone around us, offering food and other essentials. I realized elderly people are feeling confused, lost and need help with online consultation etc. Offered them help that made them feel comfortable and brought a smile on my face. 
 “We can’t help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” – Ronald Reagan
  • Get enough sleep. I went back to my routine of 8 hours of sleep. Be sure to stick to your regular sleep pattern and get enough sleep. Schedule a normal bedtime and wake time during the week. This will help you sleep better and wake up feeling more refreshed! Sleep deprivation can also make existing mental and physical health problems worse. 
“When the going gets tough, the tough take a nap” – Tom Hodgkinson, British Writer
  • Practiced Gratitude & counted blessings. Practiced positive self-talk every day by spending a few minutes each day thinking or writing about what I am grateful for today. This helped me to focus on the positives and brought an optimistic outlook.
 “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.” —Willie Nelson
  • Practiced Mindfulness. I learnt that to practice mindfulness, I will have to bring all my attention to the “now” and “present”. Which means becoming aware of each passing thought or feeling without judgement. Evidence shows that practicing mindfulness in our day to day lives can significantly increase our capacity to cope with anxiety, depression, and stress. It improves control over our emotional states and reduces anxiety and stress. Practicing this has made a huge difference to me, I no longer panic when I hear a distress call or a crisis. Instead I want to do my best to support that person and say this one line – “this too shall pass”.
“Observe the space between your thoughts, then observe the observer.” – Hamilton Boudreaux
  • Started eating healthy & colorful Food. Eating a healthy diet & drinking 8 glasses of water every day is important. My nutritionist advised me to add colors in my meal, so I increased my intake of a variety of fruits and vegetables. It reminded me that every color in the vegetables and fruits represents a different family of healing compounds. 
“To keep the body in good health is a duty…otherwise we shall not be able to keep the mind strong and clear.” – Buddha
  • Did Yoga whenever I got time during the day.  Yoga significantly improved my physical and mental health. It worked for me even more as it helped me practice meditation for 15 minutes every day and do a lot of breathing exercises. Below are some links of breathing exercises that I did. Try them and let me know about your experience.
  • Diaphragmatic Breathing –
  • Pursed-Lip Breathing –
  • Lion’s Breath Tutorial –
  • Alternate Nostril Breathing –

If you are experiencing the same emotions as mine, please feel free to write to me to block 30 minutes to discuss this. Coach provides a safe, non-judgmental place for people to express and get recharged. 

Wishing for Peace & good health forever.

Written by – Jyotsna K Dobriyal – An Executive Coach & People Services Advisor with 21 years of corporate experience in People Services Function.

Jyotsna K Dobriyal
Jyotsna K Dobriyal

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