Reflection on our reaction to COVID-19

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Editor: Now that the severity of the pandemic is ending, it is expected that the pandemic will likely become an endemic.

Like other endemics, we will get our vaccines once a year to protect ourselves, except those who do not believe in any type of vaccinations.

As the pandemic-restrictions are being rescinded, perhaps, it is the best time to step back and reflect on our reactions between 2019 and 2022.

I have no doubt that the provincial and the federal level governments will analyze their information, and evaluate their strategies and actions in managing the COVID-19 pandemic. They will examine their successes and failures. They will also analyze the unpredictable events and issues that challenged them. Such analysis of their actions will be educational, to learn some new strategies for any future pandemics. It is wise to learn from the past mistakes and successes, and be prepared for the future.

As the system-wide evaluations are conducted, I believe it is incumbent on us individually to reflect on our own reactions to the pandemic, our effectiveness in handling it, and preparing ourselves for the future pandemics. Every adversity of life gives us the opportunities for self-development. Tough days can make us tough, and redefine us for better.

When we define ourselves with our “freedom and rights,” then the loss of these privileges, hit us hard. The feelings of hurt are felt deep within us. However, the fact remains that the loss of freedom and rights were curtailed temporarily. Those who were able to maintain proper perspective and control their negative reactions during this tough time were able to keep their head above water.

Watching our reactions to the pandemic, I learned that for some, their unrealistic expectations were too high to allow them to adapt with the COVID-19 restrictions. Undoubtedly, we all were frustrated, yet I also observed that those with positive attitude were able to cope better. However, I do applaud the helping professionals who experienced stresses and burn out.

Those who were obsessed with a pre-pandemic lifestyle were not thinking in line with the reality of the crisis. They felt more anger and frustrations. Such feelings, all by themselves are not bad, but maintaining an attitude that restrictions stink and that restrictions mean loss of freedom and rights, caused them more anger and frustrations.

Unrealistic expectations in life are linked with higher stresses. Stresses by themselves are not bad; how we react to them may either cause more frustrations or relief.

On a positive note, the problems of life give us opportunities to be creative. Solving problems with creativity and imagination, by themselves, is gratifying.

During pandemic restrictions, many of us found that our lives had gone out of control. For some, the so-called dictators at the government were controlling their lives. While I sympathize with their feelings, it is also true that blaming the government, and continuing to demand a pre-pandemic lifestyle are similar to juvenile-like reaction, resulting into more stresses, anger and frustrations.

I understand those who wanted to reach out to their family and friends but could not do so. I also understand those who wanted restaurant hopping, exercise at their favorite gym, and go for parties. Regretfully, the reality was different, and not in synch with their expectations.

COVID-19 demanded a drastic change within our lifestyles, and most of us found ourselves resistant to change and adapting to the new normal. The fact remains that status quo has no place in our life. Constant change is permanent, whether we like it or not.

When we readjust our expectations and become aware of the transient nature of our earthly life, then we come to a realization that holding onto the past is counter-productive. A healthy attitude would have been to learn to cope with it and capitalize on the changes demanded by the pandemic.

During tough times, often we forget that crisis is also an opportunity, that the pandemic demands some restrictions temporarily, that freedom demands discipline, and that rights demand responsibility towards others. Without discipline there is no freedom, and without responsibility, there are no rights, but chaos.

Naresh James

Chatham

 

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