By Sadie Hussain
is most important that we strengthen our sense of community by connecting with and supporting each other. Communication is a subject that has been constantly highlighted; we must all adapt to this peculiar rhythm of life and make a collective effort to get in touch others in creative ways. Research that was conducted after the SARS virus in 2008, produced evidence supporting the significance of connection through epidemics. It found many experienced "increased social connectedness, which offset the negative mental health impacts of the epidemic." This is something to be deeply reflected on during this time.
Working together as a community fosters solidarity and this is something we must all adopt in our fight against the Pandemic; social distancing involves physical-social distancing and is not to be mistaken as distancing from society. Our community starts with those around us; stay in touch with family, friends and colleagues remotely.
Offer your help where possible, volunteer, devise and/or suggest initiatives that support professional and social communities. The possibility is endless, the smallest of acts build a sense of hope, purpose and meaning; a reminder that we can better manage this together, in solidarity. Making others feel hopeful will also make you feel positive in what lies ahead.
Stay connected with your values, do not let fear or anxiety drive your interactions with others. COVID-19 doesn't discriminate - it can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, nationality or ethnicity. Practice awareness. The World Health Organization has published several guides on handling those that have been affected by the pandemic.
Unconscious bias is topic to be taken into consideration, do not refer to people with the disease as "the victims", "the infected" or "the diseased". They are "people who have contracted COVID-19", "people who are being treated for COVID-19", or "people who are recovering from COVID-19". It is important to separate a person from having an identity defined by COVID-19, in order to reduce stigma.
Use understandable and accessible ways to share information with people with intellectual, cognitive and psychosocial disabilities. Where possible, include forms of communication that do not overwhelm the listener.
Compassion is as vital in this time as the air we breathe. Imagine a world without our historically exceptional patrons, imagine a world without the countless individuals who risked their own lives to save others. We must consider that if compassion has the power to rouse courageous deeds, it must also encourage a number of positive bi-products that have both individual and societal benefits. Perceive compassion as profound requisite for a meaningful existence in modern society.
A number of psychological studies have found that increased compassion is related to:
- Increased happiness and overall wellbeing.
- Decreasing depression by acting as a buffer against physiological reactivity to stress.
- Promoting social connection.
- An important motivator of co-operative behavior.
The Pandemic has affected us all in ways unforeseen. Compassion is at the core of all our relationships; be altruistic, practice patience, show respect and most importantly, always be kind whether to yourself or others. Never underestimate the power of hope, and that, which you have to offer another person.
"And this too shall pass".
- The above advice should not be considered as a comprehensive report or medical advice concerning issues that may affect physical and mental wellbeing.