Relax and let loose; you don’t have to “accomplish” anything during this lockdown
By William Dekker
In the last two weeks, people in the northern Indian state of Punjab have been enthralled by the fact that, for the first time in more than thirty years, they can now see the Himalayas. As the lockdown eases air pollution, the Himalayas mountain range (that boasts of many of the earth’s highest peaks, including Mount Everest) is now visible from Punjab’s city of Jalandhar that is more than 100 miles away. This can be equated to the distance between Nairobi and Meru. Quite far, right?
The increased visibility has been attributed to the dramatic improvement in air quality in the recent weeks, after industries shut down, cars came off the road and airlines cancelled flights in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. To put this into perspective, India’s Central Pollution Control Board has reported that New Delhi – India’s capital – saw up to a 44% reduction in PM10 air pollution levels on the first day of its restrictions. (The PM10 or suspended particulate matter – are microscopic particles of solid or liquid matter suspended in the air.)
The above scenario is a clear indication of how the environment is making gains during this pandemic. But how can we too make life-long gains in such times that we are confined in our homes? I suppose you’ve come across tones of pieces of advice asking you to read books, learn new skills, new languages, complete online courses and a billion other things. But, really, is life all about ‘accomplishing’ things even when we are hard stricken with such a pandemic? Perhaps the best thing to do during this period is simply “not to do anything”! Yes, sit back, relax and let loose!
In a world that has been moving so fast – sometimes faster than our pace, now is the time to take a break from the demands of life – a break from the pressure to achieve goals each new day. Break is the perfect antidote to the panic and anxiety that has been slowly setting in during this COVID-19 pandemic.
This break also presents an excellent opportunity to rediscover yourself. Lie down, think about yourself, take stock of your life’s choices, ponder over the progress you’ve made so far, re-evaluate your strengths and weaknesses and candidly self-debate how you’d want to work on them moving forward.
But how do you achieve this when your world is still crowded with so much noise – information overload from digital technologies and the mass media? Agreeably, this could pose a challenge. Consider this, on an average day, you check your phone about 58 times, to make about 2,617 clicks, taps or swipes on the screen, says a 2019 study. This means, about 3 hours and 15 minutes of your awake hours is spent staring at these gadgets, sometimes more. It therefore calls for a ‘digital detox’.
Taking a moment to stay away from your digital devices presents the best opportunity to reduce stress and focus more on interaction with others. It helps you create time to experience nature, get physical exercise, practice mindfulness or to resume the hobbies that used to make you happy and fulfilled.
Just as the lockdown eases air pollution, a personal break helps ease the mental pollution we’ve suffered for the longest time. As rare as it is, the earth has officially called for a break, and you too, take a break.
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William Dekker is a Strategic Communication specialist. Emailfirstname.lastname@example.org