The Pandemic Blues

Aug 18, 2020

How to overcome stress during these difficult times?

We are now five months into the pandemic created by coronavirus. The uncertainty in every field has become a routine affair. There are no definite clues about what is going to happen the next day. During the two month-long lockdown, we were comfortable with the numbers and the data concerning our country, be it the infected active cases or infected asymptomatic cases and the number of deaths. As the unlock phase began, these figures are on the astronomical rise. Fortunately, the deaths are not as seen in Western countries.

The lockdown has hit us hard in every aspect of our lives. The country as a whole has lost out on all counts. Healthy vibrant economy is no more the crutch word. There is no proper count at present to know how many millions have lost their jobs, and how many lakhs of entrepreneurs are in the doldrums. They may be street vendors, small-time businesses, big business enterprises such as factories, industries and so on. These sectors are helplessly staring at the scary uncertainty. Are we in a position to gauge this trauma? A collective trauma, to put it in a nutshell. Its present status can be termed as gigantic. It has shaken the whole fabric of society.

Let us take an example of a hotel business with about ten employees. The owner, (shall we name him as ‘victim’) is finding it difficult to keep his business afloat, and he is finding it difficult to pay employees’ salary. The ‘victim’ is in dire straits financially and has been affected economically as well as psychologically. His self-esteem is diminishing. Along with the weakened financial status, the fear of becoming corona ‘infected’ is haunting him. Every time he moves out of the house, he is gripped by the fear of contracting the disease. This state is further compounded by the worrying thoughts of his wife who has co-morbid condition with diabetes and hypertension. His 84-year-old father with failing health was another issue which worried him. ‘What if’ starts haunting him with imagined medical bills running to lakhs. There is added distress due to frequent exposure to negative news in the TV channels, social media etc.

The ‘victims’ with problems as described above, are found in all other sections of society. They are on the verge of becoming extremely stressful.

How can such a ‘victim’ tackle the overwhelming stress that is building up within oneself?

Here are some suggestions:

1. Take up Yogasana. Simple stress relieving asanas may be learnt from reliable teachers.
2. Take refuge in meditation, which is a part of Yoga. This will help in combating negative thoughts. The principle of not identifying with thoughts and not reacting to negative thoughts should be followed scrupulously.
3. The meditation process invariably involves observation of thoughts. This means that one has to let the thoughts appear and leave on their own. Just try it and see the result.
4. Involve in rhythmic breathing, which forms part of meditation. Let this become a habit. Resort to deep breathing when stressful condition exists.
5. Acceptance: Learn to accept ‘what is’ which is not in your control. This does not mean simply sitting and doing nothing about the problem, but getting into a clear thinking and acting without fear.
6. There are several other methods such as reading, learning music, pursuing hobbies etc., which may be pursued as per one’s liking.

A relaxed person automatically will be able to plan and come out of the complexities of the mind, and beat the Pandemic Blues.




By V Shyamsunder Kamath
V Shyamsunder Kamath is a retired bank officer, having worked in Syndicate Bank for about 34 years. Prior to joining the Bank, he was an entrepreneur, manufacturing paper bags. His school days were in Mangaluru and Mysuru, Pre University was from St Aloysius College, and the graduation at St Francis de Sales College, Nagpur. He has done his LLB from Nagpur University. He is the former secretary and member of the governing council of Besant Institutions, Mangaluru.
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Comment on this article

  • Maria Dcosta, Mangalore

    Thu, Aug 20 2020

    Your guidance is invaluable!
    Besides you can have on line readers clubs, discussions on varied significant topics,
    Do gardening, do spot marching 300 times at a stretch, read the Indian and Greek classics, contribute articles like Shyam's , learn a new language.
    You can fill your hours with endless work exercise ,hobbies and exercises.
    For me this is one of the most learning periods of my life.

  • Vidya Prabhu, Goa

    Wed, Aug 19 2020

    Good suggestion for rythumic breathing and yogà ....

  • Alwyn Johnson Quadros, Shirva/Dubai

    Wed, Aug 19 2020

    Thank you for the article and your suggestions.

  • Varsha Pradeep, Mangalore

    Wed, Aug 19 2020

    Well written, thanks

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