Abstract.....In the face of this gripping pandemic, may are at a loss to understand for how long, can they go along with the imposed restrictions. People are bemoaning that they are denied the travel that they took for granted all this time. Many are missing out on the connections and grappling with a huge frustration about this terrifying pandemic. Petrified at the inability to do anything about this pervasive problem, they remain horror-stricken. This pandemic has left many of us wordless with loneliness while some are ranting continually, fisting their hands aimlessly, hoping, wishing that these restrictions were lifted overnight. But the reality is, they are meant to stay from a pragmatic perspective of caring.

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But the isolation though needed, is breeding slow and gradual depression and an anxiety is consuming the people worldwide. People are no longer socially engaged with the friends and family. Many who seek to gain a sense of purpose through volunteering by their contribution to this external world, are now confined in their homes. The truth is, people share an invisible connection with others and from that standpoint, they need to nurture and nourish that interrelatedness which is holding them together. Without that, the thread is stretching and getting worn out. Before it gets torn out, its time to ponder the possibilities which can bring us together despite the difficult times.

Some people though may prefer solitary times to others, especially the introverted creatives, still, it is an undeniable truth that the pandemic isolation is affecting all, and no one is beyond the cut. Being in the company of other people stimulates us deeply, and we get to feel happiness, burst into laughter, plunge into the wildest merriment. It’s a beautiful splurge in the splash of emotions, one that comes free with the sharing of hearts. It keeps the connections revived and we realize we are part of the bigger whole. Taking it off, we are nothing short of a husk, consumed with emptiness inside and that definitely is depressing. People are beginning to feel the loss, the more and more they are sinking into a depression. Though the limitations have loosened a little, with the schools now in session again, still they do not have the social interaction the way they used to in the pre-pandemic situation. But instead of being devoured by the limitations, we can try to implement some ways to nurture the connection we so need.

First and foremost, we need to gain clarity on the reasons behind the isolation, if that is for a well-supported cause and an altruistic one. A better understanding leads us to tolerate the stinge of separation, rather than constantly fighting it.

We can gather ideas for celebrating events. For those who have their family members living far apart, for them to celebrate special occasions like, say father’s birthday, we can have all the family members jubilate in baking a delicious cake and then celebrate the special day to turn it to his auspicious birthday. It can be turned to a soul soothing one, by having a video birthday party, and then watch him blow out the candles. What seemed to be an impossibility can turn to be so real and alive. As with a strong, visual support, the entire celebration can be so animated.

We can connect in many other ways, so it can take away the loss of not being able to connect in-person. Many families who have young ones have delved into ways, plunged into reading storybooks via live exchanges and recorded messages. Several elderly grandparents who are longing to be together with their grandchildren can practice crafts with them over Zoom. Grandmothers can have the precious times with their grandkids over the live video. They can cut together, cook together, bake together, have the hilarious times, following the instructions step-by-step and finally enjoy having the meal together, all by the live video.

The family members who have not seen their extended family for a long time, can indulge in FaceTime which can bring back the memories of the times once spent together. It revives the old times, and those recollections nurture the family connection, that precious thread that is now barely hanging in the air. Seeing the faces of one another makes the connection alive.

We can search for those creative people online who are indulgent in creativity, who can bring new and innovative ideas of how to make the perfect use of this imprisoned time at home. This way, what seems to be an imprisonment can turn to be a freedom of heart.

It would be vital to have the calendar marked to set aside some planned time when it is going to be with friends and family. Having the events marked and highlighted in the calendar can be a powerful reminder. For instance, they can be named……” Zoom Book Club”, “ Zoom Movie Club”, “ Zoom Overseas Family Time”, etc.

With our friends, we can plan to walk on separate trails, but we can talk and text while walking. Or we can meet up while staying masked and maintain physical distance.

In addition, we can indulge in playing online games and conversing while playing them. That is an interactive way to reduce boredom. Digital games and virtual board games can foster game- based learning. At the same time, it can induce problem solving, perseverance, and creativity which are the essential keys to success.

When it comes to older people, phone calls are more meaningful than texts, as they get to hear the voice of the loved ones which adds vitality to their depressed spirits. Reach out to them, especially if they are confined in the senior living homes and retirement facilities as there the lockdown has excluded them from leaving their rooms completely. A phone call can restore them to a meaningful perspective of living again. Imagining oneself in their age and situation can give us an altruistic motivation to pick up the phone and give them a call. Fill their ears with positive news, so it can give them a reason to live for tomorrow.

We can get ourselves outside to take a walk and do it more than what is necessary to get our spirits lifted. Especially we can consciously choose the tree-lined streets as the closer we get to the trees, the better it is for our mental health.  Being outdoors and waving to others, be that a friend or a stranger eases the discomfort we feel inside and breaks us free from the gripping isolation.

We can keep ourselves occupied in doing productive activities every day. It may not contribute in making a connection with others, but it helps us feel grounded to this life, gives us a feeling of accomplishment and a sense of connection with this world.

Next comes making a conscious choice to limit the screen time. While it is very important to remain in full knowledge of what is going on around and have the latest news on coronavirus, it is equally important not to be overwhelmed by that. We can set aside sometime when we are not going to indulge in a constant search of coronavirus statistics, neither are we going to talk incessantly about the pandemic. That does not mean, the pandemic does not exist. It does, but we are making a conscious choice to beat the isolation and depression by shifting our focus on other things. Ultimately, we need to decide on how much of that discussion is too much. How much can a human being take that and beyond which it leads one to an insanity.

Ultimately, healthy habits can contribute towards beating this pandemic isolation.

Author.....Jayita Bhattacharjee....born in Calcutta, India and later on education from University of Houston in Economics, she had chosen her career as a trustee and teacher. Her Indian residence is in the vicinity of the famous Belurmath. Currently, she is settled in Tampa, Florida. Her books " The Ecstatic Dance of Life", " Sacred Sanctuary", " Light of Consciousness", " Dewdrops of Compassion" " are among the many that she has authored. https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6850731.Jayita_Bhattacharjee

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