Life after COVID-19
As featured on Sloto Magazine
Governments and media around the world are speaking of a ‘New Normal’, a term referring to how life will look after the COVID-19 pandemic. The language employed by politicians and media outlets may seem harmless enough, but redefining our new reality as a newer version of ‘normal’ – whatever that is – is dangerously ignoring the fact that ‘normal’ has not been working for a majority of society.
The global economic megastructure wants us to keep going just like before: spending our income by consuming products, so they can continue to produce profits. The idea of a ‘new normal’ is being framed as the inability to continue life as we knew it in terms of social gatherings (social distancing is still in force in many countries around the world), compulsion to isolate when we feel sick, constantly sanitize our bodies, and the acceptance of emergency measures taken by governments to mend and stimulate the economy; all the while, we are expected to continue consuming so the economic machine does not collapse.
Before we jump into any new order of normality we must first deal with the psychological stresses that COVID-19 has engendered. The extended period of isolation has impacted many sectors of society, especially vulnerable groups such as the elderly, patients with mental illness, and sections of society with low to extremely low income. This is the time to address these issues and try to improve sectors of society that have desperately been calling for help even before the pandemic began. It is estimated that COVID-19 could push over half a billion people into poverty.
It is thus important that we first of all regain our mental stability. Psychologist advise the importance to honor our grief, losses and existential challenges through meditation, communication, creative expression (e.g. art or dance), or keeping a journal. Talk to friends, family or a therapist of the impact of COVID-19 in your life. Try to find the peace of mind to gently ease back into your daily routine. Once we are back to feeling strong, we must voice our concerns about the need to restructure our society so minorities and vulnerable sectors are supported and helped to thrive. If we will accept the term ‘New Normal’, let it be about a world where equality, sustainability and justice are part and parcel of normality!