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BY DODUL MONDAL
So, we have entered the third phase of nationwide lockdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. The initial turbulence has now settled down to a great extent in terms of peoples’ acceptance and willingness to follow this lockdown. Apart from a few stray incidences of rule violations, India has been doing much better than many other countries in the world, better than many first world countries.
The rate of increase in active cases is also not very high and we have been hopeful to see a flattening of the curve in the near future. There is a steady increase in the total number of positive cases and death albeit at a slow pace. The time for doubling of cases is 11 days, and it is expected to increase further. Some places are having active spread of the infection and containment zones have been created based on the number of positive cases in that area.
The lockdown has been extended for another two weeks, and it is likely that it may last till May end. The new guidelines have relaxed the activities allowed in three zones — red, orange and green. Let us discuss from a different perspective and share my views. What should be the “priority” in this lockdown 3.0!
1. Resuming Non-COVID healthcare for acute illness: Although every health facility is trying their level best to provide adequate emergency care, it may not be equal to pre-lockdown state. I am concerned about thousands of patients with stroke, heart attack, acute surgical conditions, acute metabolic illness and many other emergency health problems! It is a growing perception among the medical fraternity that non-Covid healthcare is not getting adequate priority at this moment.
2. Resuming Non-COVID healthcare for chronic disease: As a cancer specialist, I can see the difference of care being received by cancer patients across the country compared to pre-lockdown time. Cancer patients require different types of treatments including surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, immunotherapy etc. Also, the treatment should start and finish in a timely manner to provide adequate benefit of treatment. I fear to see many premature deaths in cancer patients in the coming days whose cancer will progress to advanced stage or end stage in the absence of a timely treatment.
The same is true for other life threatening chronic illnesses like renal failure where patients survive depending on regular dialysis! People with hypertension or diabetes also need proper care to avoid untimely death due to sudden heart attack or stroke or renal failure or metabolic complications in the absence of regular supervised treatment.
Worldwide, 5.5 million kids under five years of age die because of malnutrition. This number can increase to a great extent after this pandemic is over. They also need priority to have access to food not only after lifting the lockdown, but also during this phase.
These patients also have the right to survive and this is just the tip of the iceberg!
3. Resuming treatment and prevention of communicable disease: In 2018, more than 1,40,000 people died of measles; in 2017, 13 lakh people died from tuberculosis (data source WHO website). Measles is a preventable disease with vaccination. Among tuberculosis patients, many are MDR or XDR who require intense monitored treatment. Many other deadly infectious diseases are preventable by vaccination only. Routine immunization, including that of pulse polio, is heavily hit due to lockdown. It is now important to safeguard millions of newborn kids and other people by resuming vaccination, providing treatments (like DOTS in tuberculosis patients or anti-retroviral treatment in HIV/AIDS patients) at the right time in the right manner. Otherwise, there is always a fear of seeing thousands of deaths from such conditions (many will eventually go unnoticed as not all of these are so rigorously screened or monitored for as in COVID-19).
4. Resuming blood donation services: There is a crisis of blood and blood components. Enough number of blood donations is not possible during this lockdown due to fear of spread of infection. It will be important to resume such activities with priority. The demand for the same will be high after lifting the lockdown.
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5. Resuming industry connected with emergency care: Not only for money, industry and business need to run to serve people in many ways including manufacturing essential items, food, necessary machines for different sectors involved in emergency care and routine livelihood etc. There is already a staggered plan by the government. With time many more sectors will need to function. It is important to lay down the structure of such functions to avoid infection among these groups.
6. Restricted lifting of lockdown: Wuhan in China followed a restricted lifting of lockdown model to prevent further rise of cases. Public transports including rail, airlines should frame and implement physical distancing norms even after this lockdown is over. Meeting at public places, gatherings should be banned for even a longer time till the virus is under control. Necessary public awareness and preparedness campaigns should start beforehand to sensitize people.
7. Encouraging work from home: This lockdown has proven that at least in few cases, work from home is a reasonably valid option. That will not only reduce the risk of infection but also reduce the load of cars and transport on road and subsequent pollution. Studies show that pollution worsens coronavirus outbreak. Let the world breath.
The world will not look the same after this lockdown is over. It will look good in a few aspects; it will look terrible in others. Priorities should be based on the need of a particular geographic area, their people, their lifestyle etc. However, few things remain basic as always. They have access to food, a roof over their head, clothes for modesty and medical services to save life. And we have to keep our compassion intact. Rest can wait. (IANS)
When it comes to our day-to-day life, there are several things which help us enhance our day with every step. One such thing is music. It enhances, motivates and boosts certain aspects of our personality in ways that may not come into notice. There have been several researches on how music affects human brain. Studies show it helps us in recovery and healing, and also, encouraging us to be better if exposed to the right kind and fit.
From kids to elderly, music as a commodity, can be consumed by all. It is the universal language that is spoken by each and every being, from animals to humans to plants, each respond to it in their own ways. Suffice to say, we are united by music and the effect it has over us. Plants, for example, grow better when exposed to good music. Many songs are being composed specifically to enhance and boost their growth. Same is the case for humans. For humans, the right kind of music can boost good health, physically as well as mentally. You might have noticed how in gyms, upbeat music is played. That is to channel energy into everyone present. It adds to the workout. Several researches around the world have shown better physical output when exposed to appropriate music. Fast paced songs with upbeat nature channeled speed and the slower ones slowed downs the listeners, without them noticing. The sub-conscious effects of music are continuously being studied.
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Our heart starts beating according to the music we are listening to.Unsplash
Listening to upbeat or happy music also reduces stress and pressure from our minds. Many people become relaxed while listening to calming music. This is why calming sounds are used during a yoga session. Classical music seems to have the same calming and soothing effect. Furthermore, classical music has much more advantages over metal or techno music, it has proven to enhance learning and improve sleep in its listeners. A study was conducted in which participants were divided in groups where one group was exposed to classical music, another to metal and last one was supervised without any music. The group exposed to classical music showed healthier sleeping pattern than the rest.
Also Read: Undiscovered Music Trends For Indian Music
Several brands and outlets encash on different characteristics of music. Calm and soothing music is used in spas to help customer relax. It is a known fact that our heart starts beating according to the music we are listening to. So, music with faster beats will have our heart beating faster and the slow one will have calmer effect. This is why slow music channels calm. And the same fact has led to faster and upbeat music being played in food outlets. A study conducted in a farm, where people were invited to have food, where one half was exposed to slower music and for other fast-paced music was played. Not only did the group exposed to fast-music ate faster but also ate more than the group who ate in slower one. Next time you are in a food outlet or a restaurant observe the kind of music they are playing and the eating pattern.
Music can even be a facilitator of communication. We can sometimes convey our thoughts through the medium of a song. Sometimes someone’s words justify our inner feelings better than us. Or sometimes a song brings back certain memory or a place, and takes us to that certain moment. To say music is a time-machine would not be wrong. It is a dynamic blessing that can be used throughout our lives.
Key Words: Music, Calm, Soothing, Effects of Music
As more and more people are acknowledging the importance of their mental well-being, the wave of awareness the acknowledgment has brought is unprecedented. It may not have paved a clear path towards complete healing but it certainly has shown the way. The awareness is the key to heal. Healing begins only after the problem is identified. Similar to physical illness, the identification of the problem area is the first step. Even in case of a minor wound, when we go to the hospital the nurse first locates the wound. They, then, ask how we got hurt and identify the nature of the wound. Only then, they clean, put ointment and wrap it up if it needs wrapping and protection from air and dust. Sometimes, that protection is not needed. The wound heals out in the open. Same goes when it comes to healing of a mental trauma or illness. Sometimes, we confine in professionals or our loved ones, in order to let it out and process it openly. Sometimes, the trauma reduces with time. In any way, being aware and vigilant is the way to go.
Being knowledgeable about life in general, opens many channels for you. Being knowledgeable about yourself, opens gates inside you that lead to spiritual and general awareness about the concept of self. And the inner awareness is not necessarily internal, it can be seen from the outside as well. When we have positive energy from within it radiates physically as well. Have you encountered someone who’s spiritually awakened and aware? Do they stand out in the crowd? There are prominent examples of people who have made their mark in history, there is Swami Vivekanada, his awakening has revolutionised generations, one live example we can witness is The Dalai Lama.
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Healing is part of the spiritual journey.Unsplash
Also Read: Follow These Tips For a Better Mental Health
Awareness is the first step towards the staircase of spirituality. Healing is part of that journey. In our world, we go by our lives without paying much attention to causes of our actions. Every little thing we do, we do it for a reason. We might be suffering without being aware of it. There might be certain actions which are screaming those are trauma-response and not really us. But we go by our days, without paying heed to the fact that it really is the small actions that carry weightage in our lives. When we become attentive and thoughtful with what we do, we introspect, and then act. Thoughtless actions do not bear much fruit anyway. Thoughtfulness not only benefits us personally, but makes world a better place to live in. It really is the need of the hour to introspect every little doing and if it does not fit with the idea of self, then, it is time to find the root cause of what has us where we are.
Being self-aware is crucial as a human quality as well. When we face our problems, we gain experience, that experience leads us to understand and empathise with others’ sufferings too. It is a wholesome development.
Key Words: Self-awareness, Spirituality, Thoughtfulness, Mental Health
Honestly, who hasn’t watched one of the epic series of HBO– Game of Thrones?
There’s no question that when the first episode of Game of Thrones was released on April 11, 2011, the youth population of the world became exuberant. The main reasons behind this reaction was, first, the theme of the show, and second, the hidden lessons which it put forward.
Some of the valuable lessons which the Game of Thrones taught us are:
1. The pack always survives. This aptly meant that whether your pack consists of your family or your friends, you are the strongest when you are surrounded by a support system. This is what Ned Stark taught his children, to be together when “the winter comes”.
2. Never forget who you truly are. One of the most important lessons was given by Tyrion Lannister. He taught us that we should never forget who we really are. This means that we must not forget our bad habits and where we lack. So, once we know who we are, no one could ever use our lagging points against us.
3. Reading is necessary. Tyrion Lannister said, “A mind needs books like a sword needs a whetstone.” There is absolutely no denying that reading is not a habit now-a-days, but a necessity. If you want to be sharp and smart, then you must devote sometime to books, for they would teach you a lot!
4. Always pay your debts. Well, one of the most philosophical and learned houses if Game of Thrones is House Lannister. And so, one of the sayings of their house is, “A Lannister always pays his debts.” From here we get another life lesson that we must always pay off what we owe from people.
5. Always believe, “You know nothing.” Ygritte said this to Jon Snow in a teasing manner. But, this is actually for all those who believe that they know each and everything. Well, never believe that you know everything. Always learn from new experiences and never hesitate to take advice from others.
So, these were five most significant lessons which the series Game of Thrones offered us. In reality, we all are aware of these lessons, but we never really work upon them. But now, let’s try to understand each lesson and become the heir someday!
Keywords: Entertainment, Game of Thrones, HBO, Series, Youth, Lessons.