LESSONS FROM WILDERNESS!

Fight Covid 19 lockdown with lessons from wilderness

By SUTIRTHA SANYAL

You are only what you make yourself to be! The choice and the power lies in you alone! Make the best of the situation and be a better version of yourself when you emerge from the lockdown.

The sudden and unexpected global outbreak of the novel coronavirus has brought about a situation that none of us, including governments across the world, had anticipated even in their worst nightmare.

There has been a complete lockdown at many places, and people have been confined to their homes. It’s something similar to a house arrest. Though you are not under arrest, but you cannot move outside of your homes either, except for a genuine reason, such as for buying the essentials – vegetables and food. 

Only a week has passed since the lockdown was enforced in India, and by the end of the third week, people will show signs of frustration, anger and helplessness. They will also want to leave home and go outside the moment the lockdown is over. 

But what if the lockdown gets extended by a week, a fortnight or even more? We don’t know how the situation will be closer to the end of the lockdown period – it might have improved or gotten worse. 

But what we do know is that we are helpless and are not in control of the situation. Our best recourse of survival – both mentally and physically from the onslaught of the ‘trauma’ of confinement – is to accept the reality and modify our lifestyle in relation to that. 

Wilderness Survival Situations – Survival and Confinement 

A confinement much worse and precarious than the sort of we are experiencing now is something one often experiences in the wilderness or during a mountaineering expedition; of course, it doesn’t go as long as this, but it is more depressing and tougher on the body and mind. 

Here in the city, you have the comfort of your home, family, friends, food, and access to sources of information and entertainment. 

Out in the wilderness, you are all alone, possibly with just a shelter and your basic gear. You don’t have a choice of food, comfort, and in all probability, you would be out of network coverage. Your family won’t know your whereabouts, whether you have fallen ill, or you are on the verge of death! 

So what do mountaineers, outdoorsmen and explorers do when they get stranded or confined in the wilderness for prolonged periods of time? The fact that they are possibly all alone would only make them more prone to depression and feeling low! 

They accept the situation as it is and don’t fall into depression. They make the best of the available resources and time! 

So, what should we do to make the best of the situation in the lockdown? 

To begin with, let’s look at the bright side of things! 

1. You have a house, food; you are with your family; you have access to information, communication, and healthcare. There are others who don’t have these. So, be grateful for what you have and accept the fact that you are in a much better situation than many others. 

2. You are not ill. Be thankful of that. If you are in good health, you can overcome any kind of hardships – mental, physical and even financial. So, cheer up! 

3. You have ample time on your hands to learn new skills or pursue a hobby. Take up whatever you like – writing, sketching, gardening or cooking. It will keep your mind off from all sorts of negative thoughts. 

4. This is an excellent time to organise things and follow a rationing policy so that you don’t end up wasting your resources – food, water and money. This is one skill that could make the difference between life and death in the wilderness. 

5. You won’t get this chance again to bond with your friends and families! Make the most of it! 

Now, let’s look at how you can mentally prepare yourself for the confinement. 

1) You cannot change the situation. You are not in control of it and cannot fight it either. The sooner you accept the truth, the better and easier it becomes to reconcile to the realities. 

2) Try to work out a contingency plan for the future. Today, it is a medical emergency. Tomorrow, it could be a natural disaster, such as a flood! Are you prepared enough? Learn from the shortcomings. This is an excellent time to work on an emergency plan for yourself and your family to tide over a crisis situation in the future. 

3) Study the patterns and the responses, including yours and that of the state or the official machinery. When did the information first trickle in? What were the responses? Were they adequate? Could they have been better? What would you have done in such a situation? How would you have handled it? Make a note of all the hypothetical situations and solutions. Read them, revise them. It will improve your decision making capabilities as well as give you a sense of achievement for having ‘tackled’ a ‘problem’. You will be better equipped to handle a similar situation later and offer genuine advice in times of distress. 

4) “What doesn’t kill you, only makes you stronger”, so goes the saying. We will all come out of this. The only question is in what state – stronger and confident, or, depressed? Think of the future when you will say with pride, “yes, we faced this tough time, and came out of it.” That should be a strong enough reason for you to keep your spirts up. 

5) Talking of sprits! Don’t drown yourself in spirits and nicotine. Under normal circumstances, you would be working at your office if not for the lockdown. Don’t treat this as a free holiday to indulge in bad habits which will only make you depressed, edgy and prone to outbursts. You will only exacerbate the situation for yourself and your family. 

Remember! You are only what you make yourself to be! The choice and the power lies in you alone! Make the best of the situation and be a better version of yourself when you emerge from the lockdown. Consider this to be nature’s or god’s gift of a pupal stage for you to metamorphose to your better self!

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