“Good health starts from the inside. You have to start seeking for good health today!”
The World Health Day, 2020, is being observed at a time when the whole world is undergoing a daunting medical emergency. The 2020 year began with a ray of hope and promises only to be extinguished by this big challenge.
The novel Coronavirus outbreak and its deadliness forced people to stay indoors, leave their jobs, studies, and day-to-day routines aside so that the disease will be contained.
India is currently undergoing a 21-day long lockdown, as directed by the authorities, to help in tracking the spread of the disease. This is a testing and very tiring situation where our patience and tolerance can be measured based on the vocal intensity. More than anything else, there are concerns regarding the tensions, anxiety, depression, stress and other forms of mental health issues that may sprout up. Alcohol withdrawal led to a couple of suicide cases in South India.
During this era of the internet and social media, we can see what people around the world are doing to cope. We see celebrities posting recipes, workout videos, and cuddles with their partners or children.
It is important that people take care of their physical and mental health during this tough phase.
I am working with a media company. We have the option of working from home, so I spend the majority of my time before my laptop. Thankfully, there is no shortage of basic necessities near where I live. We were specifically instructed not to stock up resources as it won’t be needed, and people who actually need it might not get it.
In the morning I workout, do the chores, and in between, during free time, I spend time watching movies or web series online on Netflix or Amazon Prime. My mother spends her time gardening, redecorating the house, redecorating the wardrobe and doing craft. She also works from home over the phone and using the internet. My father is a doctor, so he has to go to work every day. My mother and I also play indoor games like cards or board games to pass time. What I noticed is that there has been a significant increase in telephone communication between my parents and their respective relatives and friends. The lockdown gave them enough time to talk.
That being said, this also opened my eyes to the privileges we have when compared to a lot of others across the world.
Since we live in Kerala, we have the privilege of staying in our two-storeyed house where there is enough space to move around. My mother was talking to her cousin who is living in Bombay, who said that a family of five is “somehow managing” in a two-bedroom flat. The situation is unthinkable for those who are living in a hostile environment or climate.
The fact that women and children are vulnerable to toxic households, assuming that they don’t have contacts or resources, is scary. Also, alcohol withdrawal leads to self-destructive behaviour in several places. The focus should on treating alcoholism as a disease as opposed to stigmatising the person’s behaviour.
It was very heartbreaking to watch thousands of migrant workers travel amidst the lockdown because they were asked to leave from their places of work. They also depend on the day-to-day income for their well being. So every time a person complains about not getting their Starbucks coffee or pizza or vada pav during this lockdown, they need to think about those who can’t afford it.
The authorities should take all the necessary steps to rehabilitate the daily wage workers and migrants. I also hope that people contribute to the relief funds as much as they can.
The roads and towns that are loud with cacophony and noisy vehicles are now like ghost towns. I feel that this outbreak brought human beings down to their knees. Birds are out, people are behind bars.
The disease also put a massive sheet of darkness about the economy and how bad it can get. India was already on a verge of slowdown but this outbreak and lockdown worsened the situation. Now, even the super-rich are losing their revenue.
When one sits at home, some of these concerns and fears that visit the mind. What next? How bad can it get? What we can is hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
As a family, we are making sure that all kinds of precautions are taken when we go out and come back in. My maternal grandmother just had cardiac surgery due to a heart attack. She is the most vulnerable person in my house, we are making sure that she is safe.
I believe that even if we control the outbreak, people should follow a hygiene routine in the future as well. People can be asymptomatic carriers of the disease.
This outbreak put a sense of perspective and responsibility of people. The government should note that prioritise people over politics especially when it comes to rehabilitation and rebuilding of the economy.