Umm Muhammed Umar
Many of us are feeling emotionally fatigued and it’s no wonder with yet another wave of Covid expected. Hurricanes, corruption, shutdowns – news just seems bad all the time. Many people are struggling with the ‘Covid blues’. While the pandemic has been tough, many people had just begun to breathe a little easier, when the Delta variant of the coronavirus struck. Traumatologist Janine Shamos says, “as humans we deal, or we learn how to deal with stuff, we get used to stuff and move on……we have this kind of sense of it’s going to be okay, this might end at some point.” She says, “We have some hope.” Shamos adds, “And then delta happened and it has put everyone in a bit of a state of anxiety and shock, and we can see that people were more positive, and really getting more out there, and now we’ve regressed completely.” She said that people are very nervous again and are wondering, if things were ever going to change.
In an interview with Radio Islam, Shamos says she was surprised to find that older people are coping better than teens. She said everyone expected that teens and kids adjust and that they’re always on their cell phones, but it seems that people aged 50 and over, are feeling a lot more in their comfort zones. Some are slowing down with work, while others have already stopped working. They’re not having to deal with unemployment issues, and life seems to be much more relaxed for them. Meanwhile, for younger people, it’s becoming frustrating. Shamos says, “The teen brain is very, very vulnerable at this time, and they need to experience things face to face, they need to have realistic and healthy, you’re pushing the boundaries and(taking) risks, and they’re not able to do that now.” She said that this generation will be quite affected in the future.
Commenting on the role of social media in relation to the ‘covid blues’, Shamos says, “We tend to really circulate horrible stuff, it’s all the panic stuff, it’s the conspiracy stuff, it’s all the negative news.” But social media apps are programmed to give us what we’re looking for. So, if we see one tragic story, and we ‘like’ it, the algorithm will ensure that we get more of the same. Shamos says, “it’s very dangerous, so it’s very important to take a step back, to limit your time (on social media), and be intentionally more positive in what you’re searching for and watching, and engaging in.” she said that we all have a role to play in making social media more positive – we can post the happy news stories instead of the sad: “look for the funny stuff, look for the fun stuff send that on, rather than the negative.”
The traumatologist advises us to be ‘kind to your mind’. She advises that we pause and reflect and just breathe. Shamos said that the first thing we need to do is stop waiting for the pandemic to end. If we keep on waiting for it to end, and continue being faced with wave after wave, we start to feel less and less in control. She says,” We need to remember that COVID is going to stay as long as it’s going to stay, and worrying about it and getting stuck in the negativity isn’t going to change that, it’s not going to change the course of the pandemic so we need to stop waiting for the end.” She said that instead of denying the reality, we need to look at our own situation and make a positive change.
Some ideas Shamos shared to get people laughing and smiling more, were, to find ones inner a child, and to play a little. Also, if you do have children, to get creative with them. Another was to eat something that was messy, something that was saucy enough to really mess your face and hands as a means of getting rid of the controlled feeling one gets as a result of enforced mask wearing and constant hand washing and sanitation. She said that we should stop taking ourselves so seriously and give ourselves permission to live and to laugh.