It's Okay To Not Be Okay During The COVID-19 Quarantine
As we enter another week of quarantine, how are you feeling? While we are urged to stay happy and productive, Mental-Emotional-Spiritual Therapist Saps Uttam tells us why it's also okay to not be okay.
As of writing, we're at day 23 of the enhanced community quarantine. To say that it has been quite surreal is an understatement. Having to stay at home for the greater good is surely easier said than done. Social media provides tons of distractions to help us pass the time, but along with it comes pressure from left and right to reach a certain level of 'productivity' or 'achievement' during the lockdown.
Does someone in your circle seem to have it all together? Is a certain friend pressuring you to do more than you actually want to? The pressure is real, and it can be harmful to our mental health, as we battle these concerns alongside the other real issue we all collectively face: the threat of COVID-19.
We are bombarded by tons of information every day. Some good, some bad, some downright harmful. We may not know it, but as each day passes, these toxic energies can get stuck within us, leaving us helpless, feeling defeated, and filled with anxiety. The need to show everyone online that you are 'OK' can add to the pressure as well.
We are here to tell you that it is OK to not be OK.
Pressuring ourselves to try a new recipe, to declutter the entire house, to workout till we have defined abs, to manage an entire household while worrying about the pandemic takes a huge toll on our physical and emotional health—so we turned to Mental-Emotional-Spiritual Therapist Saps Uttam, who is also an Inner Child Therapist and Hypnotherapist to help us navigate the scary, uncertain times we're in.
Read on for her professional advice...
Metro.Style: There is pressure to be productive, to try new things, and to get through this lockdown perfectly. What are your thoughts on this?
Saps Uttam: There should never be any pressure to do anything especially during this period. There is no perfect way to be in lockdown at all. Many different emotions are rising and what we see on social media isn't the truth at times. I say let's remove the pressure and let us just breathe for a second and do things at your own pace.
While it is great to be productive we have to check in with ourselves and make sure that we are okay, and we do things that we genuinely want to do and not that we are forcing ourselves to be productive just because it will look good on social media.
MS: What is the danger of trying to project a perfect quarantine experience? What are some of the bitter realities people face during this time?
SU: There will never be a perfect quarantine experience because every single person is going through something or the other, and many aren't talking about it as there is this fear of being judged. I think what we shouldn't do is compare ourselves to others and compare our experiences with others. Fear of not accomplishing anything or much during the quarantine period is whats playing on peoples’ mind a lot.
MS: A lot of people are not okay right now. Why is that so? And why is it perfectly normal to not be okay?
SU: As human beings we need to know what is going to happen next, that is who we are, and if we don't know, then that leads one to go through bouts of anxiety which is fearing the future. No one knows what tomorrow will bring, and when we focus and fixate on the negative because of whats happening around us, then we will always be in fight or flight, which is the brains natural response to possible threat.
Now, if we know this we can then have dialogues within our own self and the emotion of not being okay or fear or whatever it is has to come out and we have to acknowledge that feeling and be aware of our feelings. See it for what it is and try and understand where this is coming from. Just breathe and say “it is okay for me not to be okay at this moment, I still love and accept myself despite all the emotions that's coming up." Focus on your mental, emotional and physical health to start with and take it one day at a time.
MS: Anxiety has heightened over the last few weeks. What are your expert tips to reducing such stressors in our lives?
SU: Identify what gives you anxiety is a great place to start. It is very easy to pinpoint what we think gives us stress, but we should learn to identify so that we know how to handle such situations in our lives. I can easily say lessen social media, but there are many that need it and feel informed by social media. I would say since we are in such a situation at the moment maybe we can practice breathing, mediation and perhaps anything that will bring a smile to your face and make you calm or calmer. Try the art of journaling and reading a great book or listen to an audible book. Connecting with supportive friends and family is vital. No one wants to ever feel alone.
MS: What lessons should we bring with us to the other side once all this is over?
SU: To be kinder and to be grateful for all that we are and all that we have. To be compassionate and less judgmental towards others. Having said that, to love ourselves and treat ourselves with compassion is high up on that list as well.
Lastly, Saps tells us to take it one day at a time and remember to treat yourself with utmost love and care.
To listen to more of Saps' wellness classes, check out Heilen Medical Wellness Clinic on Facebook for her LIVE sessions, as well as the 'Maxicare From ME to WE' podcast on Spotify. Follow her on Instagram at @innerglowbysaps.
Lead photo via @bumble