“You don’t know how hard it is to do all household works – right from cleaning, cooking to taking care of my 3-year-old daughter and 5-month-old baby, and also attending numerous calls from office- I do all by myself with minimal support from my ‘Work-from-home’ husband,” says R Swetha, obviously stressed out due to ‘social distancing’ and ‘Stay home’ due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The novel coronavirus outbreak has literally paralysed the whole world and so the people who stay put at their homes, expecting some kind of relief from the pandemic after April 14 (after 21-day lockdown).
Swetha was discussing the same with her family group consists of all –her brother, parents, in-laws and cousins. There are also women groups, colleagues groups that all discuss the Covid-19 pandemic, and the fear that it brings among the people. Not just Swetha, many women out there are undergoing pressure with constant work in the kitchen coupled with stressful office work.
“The very thought of spending 20 more days at home drives me crazy,” says Swetha. Psychologists point out that it is not easy to stay put at home for anyone- be it women, men or children – all go through many ups and downs during the quarantine period.
B Saranya, a techie who works from home, says it is very difficult to remain at home 24*7. “Yes, one has to follow what the government says. I am happy to stay home and stay safe but at the same time, I am missing my daily walk. I am spending maximum time on YouTube, which is actually not good. I am trying to do some exercise and stay active,” she says.
While some people try to make the most of this quarantine period- by exercising, yoga, meditating, watching web series, others try to do what they always wanted to do like baking, soap making and so on. “I always longed for some break and I want to learn tailoring during this period,” says Saranya.
When Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Janata curfew on March 22, 2020, many people started stocking up essential items.
Bengalurean Jayashree P Kunju had a tough time, as her mother-in-law who is staying in Mumbai alone, could not get essentials. Jayashree managed to get in touch with someone living nearby and through him, groceries reached her mother-in-law’s place. She was so happy that a stranger helped her during the crisis situation and the idea of ‘Mitr’ struck her.
During this quarantine period, people undergo different emotions, some feel lonely, some need counselling and a word of assurance. There are some volunteers who are willing to provide food to the needy and help elders who are staying alone.
Mitr connects all these people and the CEO of iBAS Global, a global educational institution, says people from different walks of life join in the group and help each other and also the needy. “Some volunteers came on board and said they would help people who need counseling. Our counsellors help people who need positive vibes during this period,” she says.
Some people are also afraid of losing jobs, worry about recession and counselling gives them the much-needed hope.
Psychiatrist Dr Hema Tharoor, who has over two decades of experience in the field, says, there is a term called infodemic, an excessive amount of information concerning a problem.
“Earlier, when SARS virus was identified there was no WhatsApp. But now we could see information overload related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Everyone gives ideas regarding the virus. Ideally how one could cope with this is by reducing information overload, accessing sources constantly and updating about the pandemic. The general mantra is ‘Don’t panic’,” she says.
She points out that there are lots of online resources, classes available. “There are many apps that are helping people in doing some physical activity. I know somebody who attends online dance classes. One can do yoga, exercise, and meditation at home. At least some form of it,” she says, pointing out the need to share the workload. “Many women find it difficult to do both the household chores and office work, both men and women can share the workload and it will reduce frustration,” she says.
For children, parents can plan some physical activity, or online classes, that would help them a lot, Tharoor adds. So, the next time you try to access some information on the pandemic, try to keep it minimal and be occupied with work- from watching movies to washing the dishes and participating in household chores.