Mindfulness Amidst the COVID19 Pandemic

The world struggles to contain COVID19 cases, and leaders are being forced to extend lockdown or quarantine orders. With the exception of Sweden, which has adopted a “herd immunity” approach, a lot of countries with rising death tolls due to COVID19 have closed non-essential businesses, and asked their citizens to stay home.

California has been on stay-at-home orders for more than a month, and it has already taken a toll on people’s mental health. I can only imagine how those from other countries on a much longer lockdown must feel. We are still lucky that even if some businesses and public places are closed, Californians still have the option to walk outside, go for a run, or ride their bikes, provided that social distancing measures are observed.

I still do my morning run, but I spend the greater part of the day in a small room that I’m renting. I don’t have people to talk to in person, and my socializations have been entirely online and through phone. I’m a natural introvert, but not seeing people from work, nor being able to visit family  has intensified feelings of isolation, and sometimes, loneliness.

I turned to social media in the first few weeks of the lockdown, and it feels comforting to be part of a big network of people who are experiencing similar situations. While most have started baking, working out daily, or even taking online classes, some are still trying to cope with being confined at home. I’ve even heard some of my friends complain that it’s already too much family time and that they need space!

While these are issues that people in my circles are encountering, there are so many who have faced much worse. Along with the lockdown, people were laid off from jobs. Some are not able to pay rent, and some have nothing left to eat. Not to mention those that have personally been sick with COVID19, or worse, had a loved one who died of the disease.

It’s a known saying that if you’re not part of the solution, then you’re part of the problem. It doesn’t matter if you’re from the upper, middle, or lower class. This pandemic has affected all of us in numerous ways – mentally, physically, and/or financially, to name a few. We have different ways of coping. What I’m saying is, times have called us to be more aware of other people’s situations and needs, and to act upon them.

We all want this to be over soon, and it can only happen if we cooperate with our government and do as much as we can for our communities. As with other global disasters that happened in the past, have faith that humanity will and always find a way to heal and prevail.

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