We became anxious when we were told to remain under strict lockdown. We have again become distressed after getting to know that the government will ease the lockdown. We were supposed to be happy that this “abnormal” situation would finally meet its end. However, the point of our perturbation is that COVID-19 still sustains which is making our life uncomfortable and miserable as well. The impact is different in different kinds and levels of people. But, on the whole, the individual and collective stresses are ramping up. The struggle of earning money and bringing food to the family has taken the peripheral position as the question of living catches all the central attention. The battle of survival has just begun.The major weapon to fight against this deadly COVID-19 virus is our immunity. The more we get stronger, the more we get the chance to live healthier and longer. Therefore, we should work on boosting our immune system. For this, a few lifestyle changes are highly required. I believe, however, during the lockdown period, we have already adapted a handful of good habits. Now, we wash out hands more frequently. We have overcome the tendency of spitting on street. We now cook and eat fresh food. Although lockdown made our body lazy, we somehow managed to do a few unequipped basic exercises. These habits will definitely help us fighting against the biggest, yet invisible enemy of the contemporary world—COVID-19.
Both the government and the people of all levels have already started addressing all possible sorts of hypothetical questions and confusions. How will we attend office? What will happen to our children at their educational institutions? How can people be well aware of the consequences? Everyone grapples with details of what can and cannot be done and what constitutes the “new normal” notion. Let me give a couple of examples from other countries where the governments have eased lockdown before Bangladesh.
In Germany, people started to go out and buy their groceries from different superstores. My brother, Gourab, lives there and reports that no one is allowed to leave their house without masks and proper safety measures. He too has to wear his masks and gloves to visit any public place. The government is strict enough to make people maintain all the rules. From this, we can also learn to strictly follow the rules in our country too. For all the COVID-19 affected countries in the world, these rules are common and unchanged.
In New Zealand, one of my friends, Torya, has recently given an interview with Somoy TV. She has beautifully pointed out the scenario of New Zealand and also detailed out what they (and we) should do. She states that they are allowed to go to the parks nearby. But it is their won self-consciousness that forbids them to go outside without any real emergency. This is what we should adapt too. Even there will be no lockdown; we should not go outside without our extreme necessity. The battle of survival can be fought and won over in this way.
It is high time we checked and revised our cultural norms. We, the Bangladeshis, love to meet and greet our loved ones by giving hugs. Shaking hands is not our cultural trait, but we have adapted it long ago. It is time to unlearn these social activities and learn a few new customs. For example, a simple smile can do. There is no need to get closer and threat the lives of us and others. The use of digital platforms should be handier for all the people so that the social distancing rule still sustains.
Most importantly, there is no shortcut to healthy lifestyle. Proper diet, required exercise and adequate sleep are essential for a sound body. A sound mind is the trump card for achieving a healthy lifestyle. Our body needs all kinds of food but in a right portion. So, it is better not to get entrapped in any shortcut fad diets like “Keto”, “GM” or “Egg diet”. “Plate Method”, which includes all the elements of food, is far a better option for healthy weight loss and maintaining a sustainable lifestyle. Underweight can also be risky for our health and immunity. I myself have been trying to gain a healthy physic by losing the extra kilos. As a mother of three and wife, it largely depends on me to set a healthy routine for my family. My goal is to achieve a sustainable, easy-to-follow and healthier lifestyle.Life will not be the same as it has always been. Of course, there are different theories to guard this statement. Buddha said, “Time is like a river. You cannot touch the same water twice, because the flow that has passed will never pass again”. Our life will also change its dimension in this way. But it is also important to remember that history repeats. The recurrence of history is proved by the current pandemic itself. So, we should not take it for granted and follow proper precautions to win this battle of survival.
In social media, especially in Facebook, many people have been sharing the survival story of a cockroach. Dinosaurs went extinct, but cockroaches survived and are still running around our kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms and where not! The power of adaptability lies in biological features. However, our mind is a vast sea where all the games take place. If we just make our mind for the wild games, our body will give us support to win the race. And we will automatically acclimatise all the good habits which are essential for our survival.
When the storm begins, we take shelter in the safest place possible. We get out of our comfort zone and face the wild world again as soon as the storm ends. Life never remains the same after a heavy tempest. But in case of this haughty COVID-19 tempest, the storm is still going on and we have to sail our boat and ship in this fierce weather. Let’s be positive and get ready to fight this battle of survival with all our survival tools. Let’s defeat COVID-19 and win our life back. We are the phoenixes! We can rise from the ashes and then again live to the fullest.
The writer is Lecturer, Department of English Language and Literature, Premier University Chittagong