Pandemic Stress and a Message of Hope

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A few days back, when we were down to our last box of Clorox wipes, my husband came home from an early morning trip to Walmart with a big box of disinfectant wipes and a victorious smile. I whooped with joy and ran to give him a hug, but he reminded me that I couldn’t, as he wanted to shower and change first. 

While trying to find sanitizing products or holding off on hugs is not the definition of stress in the larger scheme of things, the above anecdote is just my attempt to find humor in a world that has drastically changed as of late. Who knew a time would come when we would be wearing masks to go shopping, and wiping down groceries before we put them away?

When schools and offices closed in March, and we all stayed home, I was looking at the silver lining in being quarantined. My daughter was home from college for spring break and I was joyful that she did not have to go back. My husband and I were working from home and the kids were studying online. It was a blessing to have everyone home and spend quality time together.

 

Five months down the road, I still count my blessings that we have jobs, food on the table, and a loving family. However, this lifestyle is making me mentally exhausted and weary.

 

I am yearning for face to face human interaction. I never thought I would care for it so much since I am quite an introvert who does not like big crowds or parties. And I am truly surprised to realize that I do miss that I cannot invite friends home for dinner or throw a graduation party for my son. I miss going into work and I miss my coworkers. The interactions on Zoom meetings are just not the same.

My son decided to start his freshman year at college in Atlanta while living in a dorm on campus. We tried to reason with him to stay home and take classes online, but he said it would not be the same. He said he will take precautions and be careful, and we did not have the heart to say no. I worry about him incessantly and second guess our decision to let him go.

On the other hand, my daughter decided to cancel her housing contract and do her junior year of college virtually from home, and my youngest son decided to do a hybrid schedule for his sophomore year at high school.

When I told people about my son going out of state for college, they discouraged me, and I felt judged for our decision. They seemed to insinuate that I don’t love him enough since I I let him go. But in reality, I was actually looking out for his best interests. I know that, based on his personality, he would be miserable studying from home. As much as I miss him, I do trust my son to be responsible and follow safety protocols while he is away.

 

The harsh judgments and intense reactions people have for the choices families have made regarding how their kids will attend school or college, really bothers me on a personal level.

 

The country also has become increasingly divisive and vitriolic when it comes to topics such as race, immigration, police brutality, mask versus no mask, online versus in-person school, voting for Republicans vs voting for Democrats, etc. Meanwhile, deaths due to COVID-19 are rising and there is no cure in sight. 

I wish we could all respectfully agree to disagree. I wish we could discuss a topic without attacking each other personally and breaking friendships. We need to unite in these unprecedented times instead of arguing with each other. We are all in this together.

Goethe has rightly said, “When people keep themselves apart in mutual disdain, a truth is hidden from the heart. Their goals are much the same.”

The other day, when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed and gloomy, I went outside. What I saw literally took my breath away. A majestic double rainbow swept across the sky; a kaleidoscope of colors contrasting beautifully against the azure sky. The image was so vivid that the pictures I took could not do justice to the dazzling splendor of the twin rainbows witnessed by my eyes.

This unexpected view of nature’s sublime beauty immediately uplifted my spirits and filled me with peace and happiness. It may sound cliché, but it really filled me with faith to see this divine sight.

In this moment of serenity, I felt like a load had lifted off my heart. I decided that moving forward I would free my mind from worry. I would declutter it from negativity.

Times are tough, but we can be tougher.

We can stay positive, take each day at a time, trust God, and do the best that we can do. Worrying and overthinking do not help. Mindfulness, meditation, exercising, connecting with nature, helping those in need, and being grateful for what we have will always make us feel better. Lets motivate each other. Lets listen to one another and offer support without judgment.

This too shall pass. We need to be patient and we will persevere.

What moments of serenity have you found during the recent months?

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Growing up in a small town in India, Mona Verma never dreamed that she would immigrate to America. She came to Columbia in 1996 when her husband found a job here and they were newly married. It was an arranged match but she did get to meet her future husband and give her approval and there has never been a shortage of love in their marriage. With a Masters in English and a Masters in Library and Information Science, Mona divides her time between being a part time Reference librarian and a part time writer. She is however, a full time mom to three teenagers, a girl and two boys. Volunteering, gardening, reading, binge watching her favorite TV shows and drinking wine with girlfriends spark tremendous joy in her. She is a very laid back person who likes to live and let live. Cups of hot ginger tea and hugs and cuddles from her family keep her going….

6 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Mona… Once again I read through the entire piece. Your articles have a grip sans any drama. You touched on very pertinent points of choice being based on personality types. Holds true for your children and for all of us who have chosen to react so differently to the same pandemic.
    The unrest caused by unnecasary arguments just to prove your own point , at the cost of losing friendships had be aghast as well. That so many would loose in this battle of wisdom and knowledge was a sorry state as well as a good realization.
    Good luck to you dear and looking forward to more writings from you- simplicity with no desperation to proove a thought is the best bit about your writing.

  2. Thanks so much Rashi for reading and relating. It is amazing how our children have different personalities and minds of their own. Completely agree that unrest caused by trying to prove your point at the cost of friendships is so unnecessary

  3. Mona, your articles are straight from the heart hence they touch the right chords.
    Very well written. The decisions made by you are the best ones coz that is what we have faith in.
    God bless all in these times. May we all see the day when all this will be over.

  4. Thanks so much for always reading Deepa and glad you could relate. And yes, looking forward to the day when we get our old normal back 😊

  5. Awesome Mona Dear, as always. What we thought would be a lifestyle for 2-3 months is just extending on and on and seems never ending. I’m also waiting for face to face interactions to start soon in every sphere sans the masks…….

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