It has been over a month since the Paris lockdown (6 weeks). I can’t tell the days apart and my routine has blurred and I am struggling with this new temporarily life style. Thank you COVID-19 (Corona Virus Dises 2019 ).
My boys are coping exceptionally well, they do say the at children very resilient! However, I have noticed changes in their behaviour and moods. Trying to keep some form of a routine for them seems to be key, along with constantly being entertained, which is draining. I also want them to sit still and be silent …to get comfortable of doing nothing .. this has not been achieved and I think its geared more for me than them. It is a blessing that they can leave the flat for one hour a day, which we take full advantage of. Bike rides, scooter and playing football has been their escape and of course a trip to the shop to buy them Lego magazine or something to keep them occupied and happy. I am really getting tiered of their moaning and bickering!
In fact, I don’t know of anyone who is NOT having problem coping, young or old, in Europe or otherwise. I see that despite this many are finding ways to deal with this extra ordinary situation with fun, compassion and creativity. Those who are finding it difficult and find this situation disabling, I tell them it’s going to be okay, you are surviving each day at a time and that took courage. Do not compare yourself with others, you find your own method of coping and know that you are doing well.
To all of you out there a big that WELL DONE and I applaud you for surviving each day, in whatever way you find manageable.
Never has there been anything like this in our life time. We have not experienced this before, so we do not have strategies or mechanisms to deal with the intricacies of a pandemic that requires quarantine and other restrictions worldwide. Hence you feel stuck, fearful and anxious …you ask yourself what do I do? You look for higher authorities and guess what they don’t know what to do either! So confusion and fear and even hysteria sets in. But don’t let the darkness swallow you … take a step back and breath.
The key priority is to stay safe. You can do that by staying indoors as this air born pandemic that effects everyone! Keep washing your hands and your environment clean. Do not have physical contact with others and follow your governments guide lines. Do not put your health at risk and others. It will not last forever, so be patient.
Habits and routines have changed, not just for me but worldwide and we are all waking up to new ways of thinking and doing things. This could be a positive but it’s still new or haven’t been done for a while and needs getting used to. Be brave and adjust, if you can’t don’t worry, hang in there and ask for help.
The things that really got on my nerves and I found difficult was home schooling. I can not wait till school open… My kids just do not listen to be and because they are not in their classroom they think homeschooling is just a fun way to make mum go mad and its an extension of a holiday.
I miss human interaction and touch … I miss hugging my friends and family. That has been testing.
I am coping with the confinement by getting myself into my own routine of calmness, which includes prayer, yoga and mediation. I do them after breakfast and make sure to do it as this helps me to destress and centre myself. I find I am able to think better and have a positive day once I do my morning routine. I try to get the kids involved too but they switch off after 2 minutes, yoga is not too slow for them.
The kids and I are occupying our time with making lots of these; Tiktok videos, painting, baking, trying new recipes, lots of Lego building and video calling our friends and family and of course Netflix. Social media and technology has really keep us together to some degree. Some form of physical activity has helped, with our one hour allowance I jog with a friend or have a long walk. I found this so liberating and something I have taken for granted especially in this beautiful spring weather. Just to even be separated from my boys was something I missed. What is so eerie is seeing the heart of pars so deserted. When I jog it feels I have the entire city to myself. To watch this busy ‘city of lights’ that has millions of tourist to being empty is very spooky. After a while you get used to it and I think mother nature is finally having her break and healing as i watch grass grow and air is less polluted.
Isolation has been difficult and unhuman like, feeling like you are locked in a cage and uncertain of what tomorrow will bring and what to do next is really mentally damaging. Those who are unable to stay home, the vulnerable, disabled, disadvantaged, marginalised and those with special needs are having far more difficult time than me, and I think of them and pray for them. If you know of anyone who is in that category please contact them with out risking your own health. I found that compassion and sense of coming together has really helped us as individuals and communities to cope and survive this pandemic.
Needless to say true heroes out of this are the key workers and medical staff, that we applies every night from our windows and balcony at 8 pm. All those who are working tirelessly and selflessly to help others are the superheroes of our times. Our bin collectors, postal workers, cashiers, transport drivers, food truck drivers, manufactures and more who are unseen are now key part of society.
Makes you think …reshift your mind set of how the world was built, shaped and taught to you to be has now been questioned.. you start to ponder on what is really important, who is important and how do you want to you relive your life once the pandemic is over. Have you learnt something through this that you can take forward with you? You don’t have to have had an epiphany or an ‘Ah Ha’ moment. I think what is most important is that you came out of this strong, even if your coping mechanism was to stay in bed and much snacks. You survived something huge and overwhelming. Bravo.
Paris will slowly start to lift the lockdown on 11 May and gradually week by week life will go back to ‘normal’ schools and offices will open, restaurants and cafes will serve again, international boarders open and the government will start the backlog of paper work and financial aid it promised. Many will start to rebuild their lives SLOWLY, some have lost many things and loved ones and it will be tough work but doable I hope.
So in these uncertain times of fear, anxiety and even boredom I pray that you are safe and well. That you smile and tell yourselves how proud you are of yourself … you are proud of how you coped and survived, helped and prayed and learnt or unlearnt things.
The first thing I will do once the lockdown is over; I will see my inlaws and hug them and feast with them and rush to my friends and hug them tight and kiss them. I can’t wait to go and get a coffee with my mate…
I will find out when the first Eurostar train leave to London and book myself a ticket and rush to my parents and sisters…. I will replenish myself with all that I have missed and ached for and I will smile and be so thankful …
Wafa Jawad Abbas.