As Day 4 of mandatory work from home came to an end, I marveled how things have moved at a dramatic pace in the last few days. One week ago, I had absolutely no inkling that I would be writing this blog, sitting in India, next to my gurgling baby. Ten weeks ago, I was watching news coming in from China with mild concern, removed from the actual panic. It seemed far away and localised. What I and most of the world didn’t realise that it was like a huge meteor approaching at accelerating speed and about to crash into us.
Concerns grew as it started spreading across Italy and rest of Europe and then came nearer home when one of the first few people who tested positive for COVID 19 turned out to be a parent of the school Arnav was attending in India. My work country Kazakhstan still seemed unaffected with no cases to show. Some relief. But I watched with anxiety as cases in India slowly rose. My husband, toddler twins and my mother and parents in law were all in India – the latter being the most vulnerable to the disease. Arnav and I were due to go to India end of March and I waited anxiously to be reunited with everyone. At uncertain times like this one wants to be with family.
Come week of March 9 and things started heating up in Kazakhstan and Central Asia too. My organization started to discourage travel and postpone or cancel events. Arnav’s school started preparing students for home based learning. I woke up on the morning of 12th to messages about India closing its borders to all non Indians starting 13th March. Even though Arnav and I could still fly, this could lead to flight cancellations. Within a few hours there was news of schools closing down for at least 3 weeks. The situation was changing very fast and I needed to take some quick decisions. I consulted with my manager who perfectly understood the situation and encouraged me to go home and be with family. I quickly pre-poned our travel to India by a week and within a day of landing, our offices across the globe advised complete work from home and Kazakhstan closed its borders for non citizens till mid April. Almaty, the city where I live has gone into a lock down from today. Armed forces and police personnel have been deployed across the city at important checkposts.
The situation is unbelievable. It is unprecedented. And things are not expected to get much better any time soon. The only thing to do is to tighten our seat belts and brace ourselves for the next few days, weeks and months (hopefully not). No one knows how and when will we emerge from this and whether the world will still be the same.
But the best quality we humans possess is resilience. Learning to live with what is thrown at us. And as more and more of us get ready to self isolate, to work from home, let’s look at some strategies that will help us cope.
Do you feel stressed all the time?
Stress is the one common denominator across the globe today – every single person is facing a disruption of their normal lifestyle. Apart from concerns about the well being of our loved ones, the ongoing or impending lockdown of our cities, self isolation and social distancing, and the overall uncertainty around the corona virus are causes for enormous stress. People who freelance or with businesses are understandably even more concerned about financial stress. Crash of stock markets has every investor worried. How does one deal with it?
Unable to manage children 24/7?
With three of my own, I absolutely know what you are going through! This is like summer holidays, except that there are no camps and no hobby classes! Thankfully my older son’s school is taking online classes so he is occupied for a few hours everyday. My younger one hasn’t gone to his pre-school for a week and has no place to channel his energy! We bear the brunt of it! Anyway, I am planning to put a few strategies in place this weekend. Sharing some thoughts with you.
Hopefully some of these will work for you. Let me know.
Going crazy working from home?
Oh dear, work from home has just begun. You can’t be going crazy already??? But yeah, I totally get you. For the last four days, I have had to have multiple conference calls with a toddler in tow, fervently hoping he doesn’t start screaming while I am not on mute! Also since I am yet to set up a proper work area – I have been working from my bed, at the dining table, at the living room sofa – basically everywhere except the toilet seat (might not be a bad idea to go there for my next phone call though – will hopefully get some silence there!). Anyway, as badly as I may be handling it right now, I am still trying to give you some suggestions – and hoping that I will be able to follow some of them myself!
And finally, let’s try to focus on the positives of this situation – we have been handed lemons, let’s try to make some lemonade. Live life, find love and try to work stress free in these times of Corona. And stay safe.
Hope you liked reading this blog. Please share and comment. Would be keen to hear how you are coping with these stressful times.
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