Many friends nationally and internationally are asking how we Kashmiris have spent time during multiple lockdowns in last three decades. They want to learn and gain experience in the times of COVID 19. Well we have seen lockdowns and many times it was with one major difference having restricted or no access to Internet. We had social distancing during lockdowns in Kashmir but at the moment it is more physical distancing. But as they say adversities come with opportunities and I think many of us in Kashmir adapted positivity and that is why we are still surviving. So let me go step by step what actually matters in lockdowns and how we should take care.
Lockdowns always have immediate, short term and long term effects and we have to deal with them accordingly. The first things that come to our mind are always the essential things. My immediate checklist for the lockdown goes as:
- Make a list of doctors/ paramedics who will be available during any emergency (day or night) in your locality.
- Keep handy cash at home because you may need it anytime
- Electricity backups like inverter and generators wherever it is possible.
- Candles / torch in case of severe breakdowns
- Stock eatables, gas and other fuels to a limited extent.
- For cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy you need to have constant follow up with the concerned medico.
- Oxygen concentrators / cylinders for those who need them 24×7 should be stocked.
- Frequent chats within family and friends can be video/ audio etc
- Stock up emergency medicines, recharging mobile phones and if required request for special curfew pass from administration.
- Have a good Sleep. Your body needs rest
Then comes the short and long term phase. For short term phase the major challenge is to manage fake news, anxiety disorders, panic and other associated factors. The short term effects of lockdowns vary but I am focussing on major ones depending on my experience in Kashmir for last three decades.
1. In short term lock downs you have to first care for people having mental health issues like OCD, Anxiety or any mental disorder.
2. Anxiety disorders even in general population are a lot and this time it is about hand washing. For anyone with generalised anxiety it exposes him or her to excessive worrying and irrational behaviour. Considering the present crisis of Corona Virus hand washing at times becomes a major challenge in OCD patients.
3. General public should avoid temptation to learn everything about COVID 19 from social media. Have information that is required. More social media information adds to panic and mostly it is the fake news.
4. Have verified trusted news source and twice a day update is enough about Corona Virus
5. Managing anxiety and panic during such crisis requires us to focus on facts and not random emotional bulletins.
6. As a community you have to come together and feed those who can’t afford a living. This has been done in Kashmir by people through mohalla committees, various social and civil organisations.
7. If you have issues with anyone business, professional, personal. This is the best time to reach out, chat, talk and resolve your differences
8. Spend quality time with your family and friends. In present corona crisis you can do it with audio calls, video calls and whatsapp groups.
9. For children it is the best time to encourage traditional storytelling, introduce them more to your local regional language, culture, art and local heroes who are fighting the crisis.
10. Eat less, try to avoid weight gain and have mental relaxation.
In long term lockdowns the whole strategy changes and we have to get loads of sectors together and major challenge is to sustain economy. In case COVID 19 goes off soon and I pray for that than we may not need that strategy. But in case it sticks for longer time I will share with all of you those experiences in next article.
Dr Amit Wanchoo is a medical doctor, entrepreneur and social activist. He is Chairman H.N.Wanchoo Trust.