Compassion during Covid

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As the saying by Plato goes – “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.

The on-going pandemic has left each and every one of us tired of our own battles – frequent lockdowns, endless work-from-home, mandatory masking, washing of hands with sanitizers and all the as-much-as-you-can-watch unpleasant news on 24×7 TV channels. What was just statistics of someone affected by covid in some faraway place last year is now a reality in our home, some close friends or relatives of ours being infected. These once unfathomable incidents are now happening around us. The virus is no longer a ticking score card we all carefully followed up on all news channels. It is real and becoming more vicious.

How do we keep ourselves sane while the pandemic continues its dance of death? How can we be with each other at home and at work so that there is much more positive interactions?

Compassion is the key to bring back the sanity in our day to day dealings and transactions. Compassion needs to be practiced consciously in our everyday interactions. Being aware of showing compassion is the first step towards making the work place and our home an even better place.

Let us explore a few ways and means to practice showing compassion in our actions and thoughts.

  • If you are working in an IT company, while not literally at your workplace but working from home – please do not call your team members if they are off due to an emergency. The project work can always wait, but our friends and families need us right now. We see our colleagues and their families going through tough times at home and in the hospital, even a few grieving the loss of their near and dear ones. It would be ever so appropriate for all of us to pause and show some compassion and reciprocate appropriately to their personal emergencies. During the stand-up meetings, ensure the questions are asked appropriately. Extend as much personal and organizational support as possible.
  • If you are at home, we see a growing trend in families getting into gardening, practicing healthy cooking, having a pet, learning new skills through online certification, learning a new skill in fine arts such as music, painting etc. Almost every one of these are great way to be compassionate, kind, and relaxed. It keeps the mind away from all negative news beaming out of 100s of channels on the TV. Studies have shown that even small interactions with animals cause the human brain to produce oxytocin, a hormone often referred to as the “cuddle chemical.” Oxytocin increases feelings of relaxation, trust, and empathy while reducing stress and anxiety. Similarly the joy of seeing a plant grow and blossom with your care every day will only make you smile when looking at it. Of course they also give you back the oxygen which is so much sought after nowadays. 
  • Working adults can somehow get adjusted to the new ways of working from home, not being able to travel, and adjust getting work done over the phone. Imagine how children are coping during this pandemic. The online classes are no less a torture for children at all grade levels. Playing outside with other kids from the neighbourhood is no longer a safe option. As parents, see if you can introduce children to age-old-now-forgotten board games. Games that require strategy, logical thinking, swift decision making, time-bound games. Games can also be a great teacher of sportsmanship, compassion, humility, and humbleness. 
  • Be kind to the lady at home. Your mother, sister, or wife. We need to understand if the women at home is a homemaker, she is already living a lockdown life most of her life. The lockdown may have brough the happiness of having children and all the family members at home and always being next to each other. But at times it can also be overwhelming to think about what should the next menu for dinner, breakfast, and lunch be. Food is a never ending cycle and not everyone at home can be satisfied. So show some compassion. Be grateful not only to the farmer who grew the produce, but be grateful for the person who cooked the meal, and remember compassion for those who are not even able to make their ends meet during this pandemic. 
  • Dealing with your digital gadgets is another important thing we should keep in mind to having a tension free day. Firstly, turn off all notifications on your smartphone. You can always go to the respective apps to check what you want. You do not want a beep or ting to let you ‘You’ve got a message or a mail’. For those who live away from their parents, the ringing of the phone at odd hour is just a nightmare. As much as possible reduce news hour on your TV, and limit your use of social media accounts like Twitter, WhatsApp and Facebook where you’ll hardly find any inspiring or uplifting news. 
  • Put yourself in someone else’s shoes and really listen to understand, rather than listen to react. As Dalai Lama said Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength. 

Stay safe, stay home, and follow covid appropriate behaviour when you are outside. Please do not indulge in arranging or attending any kind gatherings, function or religious rituals during this time.

May this post inspire compassion in you and your everyday lives, aiding for a better place today and tomorrow!

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