Peaceful Future with Nature
Uncertainty… Fear… Disappointment… Isolated… Alone… Hopelessness… Is this our new normal? This question haunts me today. It haunts me to see a future where human interaction is obsolete, a future where education and jobs will function through only digital screens in front of our eyes. A future where kids will not be able to go to the nearby park to play in the grass.
In these trying times, it is normal to feel physically and mentally exhausted with thoughts like these. As we enter lockdown 5.0, it feels as if we are losing a battle. Feelings of hope are now withering away. There is a common low that we feel in terms of our mental health. However, it hasn’t always been this way for most of us. Let’s recap our journey since lockdown 1.0.
When it first began
When the first lockdown was announced on the 25th of March 2020, people all over the nation took it as a positive challenge. There was a general sense of hope for the situation to get better after 2 weeks. People saw this as a much-needed break from their busy work schedules and an opportunity to spend time with their families.
Other things that motivated this positive attitude included catching up on sleep, tapping into their hobbies which get forgotten amongst their busy life, reconnecting with extended families and friends, finish up pending tasks, and more time to work on the self. At this time, the potential threat of COVID-19 seemed minimal, hence, there was less exposure to negative news in print and digital media. It was also hard to anticipate the sorts of threats that this situation will bring on the economy of the nation and thus on personal financial issues. Overall, there was a more positive outlook on the future.
And then there was the 2nd, 3rd, 4th
As the situation got more serious, that slither of hope started withering away. The monotonous routine of every day led to boredom and feelings of anxiety and stress. This increase then further impacted sleep schedules and personal hygiene. The disturbance in sleep led to a lack of energy, fatigue, and feelings of worthlessness. Employees who are not familiar with technology had to now move to the online means of working and worry about getting the same level of productivity out of it. However, for some working from home through an online means proved to be more beneficial as going to work every morning was indeed a stressful activity for them. Hence, work from home brought out the productivity in some.
The increase in the time spent on domestic work also put added pressure on every member of the family. Being around the same people all day every day increased feelings of irritation and agitation. All these factors tremendously decreased levels of motivation, which hampers the completion of daily tasks and goals and increases feelings of being unproductive and worthlessness.
What can we do differently?
As we enter lockdown 5.0, mental exhaustion is a feeling common to most of us. Questions about existentialism cloud our thoughts as we question the meaning of life and its purpose. However, we can only get through these hard times if we stay positive and be hopeful for the future. One way is to connect with nature. Setting a particular time in the day to interact with nature can significantly help to calm the mind and remind ourselves of the good things in life.
The magic of the sunset
As I climb these steps that lead to the terrace, it’s 5 in the evening. I’m first greeted by the bright sun, its rays hitting almost every corner of life, lighting it. The clouds formed the weirdest, yet interesting patterns and try to decipher them into shapes and figures to make meaning out of it. I see my neighbors bringing their chairs and stools outside in their balconies and enjoy their evening masala chai.
Now I sit down on the terrace, filled with cement and concrete broken into a million pieces due to the low maintenance of this space over the many years. Listening to the birds nearby, singing over each other, trying to find harmony. The sound of the light breeze passing by, cooling my warm skin, and it’s almost a foreign feeling. A small monkey was holding onto its mother for dear life as they tried to find some shelter high up on the tallest tree. The wind now picked its pace, making the many leaves on the trees dance, giving it life. The sky is now filled with reds and oranges and pinks and purples and blues. The sun sets and it’s 6 in the evening.
You can choose your own magic hour. The magic hour for me is 5 to 6. It is this hour when I sit alone, shut my mind off, and just enjoy the sounds and sights of nature. It has truly become my favorite part of every day.
About the author
Sukriti is a 3rd year college student pursuing Psychology. She helps lead the Environment Club which actively spreads awareness about environmental issues on campus. She believes that nature heals people and must be protected at all costs.