Sreetama never expected this. Even in her worst nightmare, she could not imagine such a turn of events. Her world seemed to be falling apart. A few months of persistent struggle, slow recovery from a sudden crisis — all seemed to be coming to an end.
Her husband Sujoy constantly tells her to cheer up and have faith that the situation will turn around. In spite of his continuous assurances, she cannot but feel afraid, stressed, and extremely unhappy. She is further afraid that Sujoy, the only earning member in the family, has been talking about some uncertainty in his workplace. But EMIs and bills must be paid. Suppose things don’t get back to normal fast? Will they face financial trouble?
Will there be light at the end of the tunnel?
No One Expected Covid 2nd Wave to be So Furious
Covid 1st wave was almost gone. Almost all establishments were opening up, though in varying degrees, and there was the hope of a fast recovery. Even our disrupted social life was fast coming back to normal.
Sreetama was even planning a tour in the hills during the summer.
Her parents (and Sujoy’s) had taken the 1st dose of the vaccine, being senior citizens. The fear of infections was surely less.
People were going out. Restaurants opened up. And travel. Almost everyone thought Covid is behind us. Even vaccination centres lacked an enthusiastic crowd.
Then suddenly all hell broke loose. Covid 2nd wave arrived. Fast and furious, the number of new infections, death, and the medical infrastructure crisis hit us hard. Hospital beds, medicines, oxygen, vaccines — everything was in short supply.
The bitter memories of lockdown came back.
A lot of restrictions followed suit. Along with it the worries and anxieties came back.
How should you respond? How can you overcome stress?
How to Overcome Stress with Positive Thought and Action?
When you feel anxious and uncertain about the future, it’s easy to go into this downward spiral of thought. It eventually leads to hopelessness. This usually happens because we feel it’s out of our control.
If we feel we are powerless against such a huge pandemic that disrupted our lives and professions and put us at risk of untimely death, we might fall into depression. Therefore, we must get over this feeling and think positively.
In spite of the ferocity of the pandemic, the economy is doing reasonably well. The situation is not entirely hopeless. Of course, a couple of sectors are in dire straits, but not all. We are even hearing of salary hikes in some sectors, pharma and IT prominent among them.
Although the infections came like a flood, the authorities initiated clamp-down and soon the number of new infections declined rapidly. Of course, we cannot lower our guard but there is no cause to be unduly alarmed.
We are going to witness an aggressive vaccination drive by the government. India’s population, logistical difficulties, and resource crunch make it challenging to progress very fast on this. Nevertheless, we will soon get a speedier vaccination drive. Vaccination definitely reduces fatality from the disease.
Adopt an Active Lifestyle
Adopting a healthy and active lifestyle is sure to enhance immunity, reduce co-morbidities if present, and give confidence to fight the disease, even if infected. A majority of infected people got cured on their own, without even hospitalisation.
In fact, regular physical activity helps the secretion of certain chemicals in our brain which helps us to remain happy, optimistic, and fights off depression. Start with brisk walking at least. And yoga and meditation can help a lot too.
Another great stress-buster is regularly talking to your friends and family. Not WhatsApp. Not social media. But talking over the phone (or video call). Always share your worries with your family and close friends. This way you can bust the stress that builds inside you.
And get vaccinated when your turn comes.
How to Avoid any Financial Trouble?
Apart from taking care of your health, you must take good care of your finances. Cash is king in these difficult times, and every effort must be adopted to preserve it. You must maintain at least 10 times your monthly income as an emergency fund.
So, avoid hitting the checkout button on your favourite food delivery apps, and e-commerce portals. Learn to live without costly food, pricey apparel, and show-off gadgets. Avoid travelling as much as possible.
If you haven’t, immediately buy medical insurance. Hospital bills these days can make even a prince a pauper.
Every time you decide to buy anything, ask yourself whether you cannot do without it, whether there are cheaper versions available, whether you can delay the purchase. Every rupee saved is a rupee earned. Try to save even small amounts.
If you buy a home (or a car), then you must choose according to your own requirement and budget and avoid getting carried away. Look for an affordable location (can save you lakhs of rupees). Choose a longer-term home loan and talk to your bank to increase the tenure of your long term loans. You can reduce the tenure in the future when the fear of financial distress subsides.
Maintain a good credit score. Minimise credit card purchases, and pay the total due amount in time.
Another good investment in yourself is to learn a new skill that can be monetized if the necessity arises. For example, there is a huge demand for consultants and coaches in different fields right now.
In short, there is no cause for undue worry. We must remain cautious, yet optimistic about the future.