How to stay sane in an insane world

24/06/2020

The start of the millennium brought about much-unexpected change to daily living. Think 9/11 in 2001, the HIV/Aids epidemic in the early ’00s, the gay rights movement, the controversy relating to government surveillance in 2013 and last, but certainly not least, the Coronavirus pandemic this year. 

 

Since the day that these events occurred our lives have never been the same again! Two hours before the Twin Towers came down no one (bar the perpetrators) imagined that the almighty US of A was about to become victim to the biggest terrorist attack in history. Nobody ever thought it was possible! But in minutes, out of nowhere, the Towers disintegrated and disappeared, taking thousands of human lives with.

 

As with the Twin Towers, no one would have guessed a few months ago that three months into the new decade the world as we knew it would change – possibly forever. No one dreamed that the globe would come to a complete standstill and that the world’s people would be forced into isolation, barred from leaving their homes in the wake of an unknown, frightening and at times lethal virus.

 

Eight months ago soap was just something you used to wash your hands quickly, sanitiser was mostly used by visitors and staff at hospital ICUs, shaking hands was seen as good manners and contact meetings and physical school attendance was simply the way things were done. In fact, for most of us, online meetings were never really a viable option then. We knew they existed, we knew we had access to the Apps, but most of us were not attuned to how they worked and weren’t too concerned about finding out either.

 

And what does this all tell us? It says that life is unpredictable and just when we think we have it all figured out …. BOOM! …. the universe throws us a curveball. And we are left to pick up the pieces and learn how to deal with it.

 

 

Today we are dealing with a global pandemic. Pandemic!!! What a scary word. And the situation is just frightening. The Coronavirus has literally taken over our lives and it’s anybody’s guess how long it’s going to be here for. Worse yet is that as long as it does it will remain a threat to our health, wealth and wellbeing. However, if anything, humans have shown through the millennia, centuries and decades that we are a resilient bunch.  And COVID-19 may indeed make us wobble for a while, but we will overcome!

 

But while we are on this unknown trajectory, it is very natural to feel down and out. Being locked up with some of the freedoms we took for granted since the day of our birth taken away can turn us into miserable people. But getting angry with your spouse, your kids, even the next-door neighbor isn’t going to help! Remember, they are just as miserable and angry as you. We can keep throwing our toys out the cart, keep kicking brick walls, keep moaning and complaining – but it will all be for nothing. The truth is that we are all afraid of the same things. We are all afraid of losing what we once took for granted, we are scared of never bouncing back and most of all we are all petrified of failing to keep our families safe. So what is the solution? How do we keep sane in an insane world?

 

Here are some tips that are known to work. Give them a try and it might just make life at the moment a little easier.

 

  1. Do one thing every day that makes you happy. Whether it be taking a long, hot bath, playing with your fur babies for half an hour or just reading a chapter of a good book. If it makes you smile, do it!

 

  1. Do one thing every day that makes your family happy. It could be baking their favorite dessert or playing their favorite board game. If it makes their eyes shine with happiness then give it a go.

 

  1. Keep reminding yourself that this, too, shall pass.

 

  1. But, keep in mind that this, too, will happen again. Not necessarily the Coronavirus, but another unexpected social or natural disaster which will impact life and resurrect our fears in terms of safety, health and wellbeing.

 

  1. Stay connected! If you are still in isolation or lockdown then talk to your loved ones online. These days online communication has never been easier and staying in touch with those closest to you happens at the touch of a button. If you in the fortunate position to be in a place where lockdown restrictions have eased, then have a small get together with your closest and most loved family and friends. Spending quality time with those we care about is priceless and can help lift your mood better than any antidepressant on the market. Just remember to sanitize and avoid too much physical contact!

 

  1. Avoid conflict! Do not argue with your family, colleagues or neighbors. Remember everyone is sailing unchartered waters and although we are all in the same ocean, we are not all in the same boat! So be openminded and tolerant.

 

  1. Stay away from the news! You neither need to listen to every news channel nor read every online article. It will only aggravate you and make you feel out of control.

 

  1. Don’t believe everything you read – especially on social media! Suddenly everyone on your timeline is an expert virologist, human rights advocate and proficient conspiracy theorist. Do not allow those with the same, or less, knowledge than you to dictate what you should be doing or wearing. If you keep reading and reacting to such information your anger, fear and resentment will multiply, yet you will still be unable to do anything about the situation.

 

  1. Make it good for yourself! Be in the company of those you love. Focus on connecting with them on a new and different level.

 

  1. Stay active! No – we don’t mean start training for the 2021 Comrades. If exercise isn’t your thing then all you need is to go for a short walk around the neighborhood. Explore new sights and sounds. Get some fresh air. Alternatively, play some backyard (or even lounge) cricket, netball or rugby with your kids. Anything that positively distracts you from the current reality is a bonus!

 

  1. Hold onto hope! Things will change for the better again. Believe it because the only constant in our lives is change. Next year this time you will probably look back to June 2020 with a nostalgic, proud smile and tell yourself “Yeah – I made it!”.