I ended up writing quite a lengthy post and thus, thought of breaking to into parts. All the parts were written on the same day.
Social Distancing Day 50
May 3, 2020
I am in the 8th week of staying at home. While lockdown in India began on March 24 (and had been extended twice since then), my office asked us to start working from home from March 16 onwards. The last time I saw the world outside was back on the evening of March 14. It was a Saturday.
When there was no fear in people
In the first week of staying at home, I went outside for the first time to buy some pens. I had to write my assignments. My mother asked me to not go out. She was scared. The situation was not that bad back then. But I knew it would get worse and so, I needed to buy the pens to get my assignments done. I went on my scooty to the local market. No one was wearing masks. People were enjoying their time after work hours. It was evening. No one felt the need to maintain social distance. But I made sure that I did not touch anybody. I tried to keep my personal space all the time.
Soon, they announced colleges in Delhi would be closed due to the virus. The dates of submission of assignments and exam forms were extended. The virus bought some time for procrastinators.
Coronavirus and mental health
Being a journalist, I have been reporting coronavirus-related news since January. As I look back to mid-March, I remember how it had been just a few days that I was staying at home and my mind felt drained out. Even though I have been reporting the happier side of the chaos (yes, there is a happier side- people clapping, singing, faking trips at home, dogs on news broadcasts and much more), with the negativity all around, it has the power to take a toll on your mental health.
I made sure that I was reporting the number of recoveries too and not just the alarming number of increasing positive cases and deaths.
Then I came across a graphic on Instagram which perfectly defines the life of a journalist:
Yes, this is exactly what was (and somewhat is) happening with me. There is no news that’s more important than COVID-19 right now. After reporting corona for 9 hours every day, when I closed work, my family wanted to talk about corona. If I switched on the television for entertainment, they wanted to watch corona news.
It felt like I wanted to take a break from everything. From work, from home, from life. Literally everything. Nothing felt right outside. Something started to not feel right inside.
It got so heavy up there that I once talked about it on Blogger Community, and Apinder and Niki suggested that I should try reducing my news consumption.
You are a journalist. How do you do that? For the past one year, even when I had my week offs, I kept a tab on the news of the beat that I report. It had just become a habit. When I realised I couldn’t stop that, I decided to reduce the consumption of general corona news.
I don’t know the exact number of cases in India or the world right now. The doubling rate has been improving. I don’t know what exactly the rate is. I know that my district is under Red zone and I have to stay at home. Several cases have been reported near my society. My mind cannot take all the corona news.
This post was inspired by Dr Tanya’s question in her Blogging Insights series.