Read your way out of lockdown blues, advice experts

by Umar Khurshid

SRINAGAR: Whether you’re social distancing, isolating, or in quarantine due to the current Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, there are lots of things you can do from home. To share ideas and experiences, humans are encouraged to interact with others from an early age. But suddenly being forced to stay home and avoid contact with friends and relatives can leave us feeling bored, isolated, and unsettled. To cope up with all the difficulties, if one gets introduced to the right book at the right time, it can calm fears and lead to set new circumstances. That is exactly what the World Health Organization has suggested to the people especially children and young ones to do in this lockdown.

On April 9, 2020, the Inter-Agency Standing Committee- an inter-agency forum of UN and non-UN humanitarian partners to strengthen humanitarian assistance has recommended the people especially youngsters to spend their time with book reading. According to the organization by reading content full of fantasy characters, children, and young ones can manage their difficult emotions. In its release of books, aimed primarily at children aged 6-11 years old, is a project of the Inter-Agency Standing Committee Reference Group on Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergency Settings, a unique collaboration of United Nations agencies, national and international nongovernmental organizations, and international agencies providing mental health and psychosocial support in emergency settings.

During the early stages of the project, more than 1700 children, parents, caregivers, and teachers from around the world shared how to the organization how they were coping with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The statement said that the input was invaluable to scriptwriter and illustrator Helen Patuck and the project team in making sure that the story and its messages resonated with children from different backgrounds and continents. In order to reach as many children as possible, the books were later translated, with six language versions released on April 9, 2020, and more than 30 others in the pipeline. It is being released as both an online product and an audiobook.

Keeping in view the current distressing circumstances, Publishing house HarperCollins has also suggested people that reading can be a good way to adapt to living under lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.

Reading new books during the lockdown is the perfect prescription to lift even the deepest blue indigo cloud. In a press statement literary publisher, Udayan Mitra of HarperCollins India said that people are living through times as we’ve never known before.

Many things that people take for granted have changed in the recent past. But reading, and writing can never stop. The pleasure of reading a new book is like no other. The newest books issued by the publishing house, their stories, ideas, and emotions, will continue to reach you: for as a reader, you are never isolated from the human community.

Likewise, other parts of the world youngsters in Kashmir are also affected by the lockdown, thus landing themselves in anxiety issues. A tenth class student of Anantnag Insha Mushtaq, 16, said that she was scheduled to meet board examinations this year but lockdown interrupted her studies. Due to the pressure she had of studies as she couldn’t attend the classes, Insha said; she was stressed leading her to give away her studies for quite a long time.

But ever since she began reading books, besides her studies, it helped her to release half of the stress.

“Book reading takes me to another world. As long as it helps me in gaining positivity, I would continue to do it,” Insha said.  Similarly is Yasir Ahmed, a science student, who believes that book reading eliminates stress and give peace. “It works better and faster than other relaxation methods like listening to music or exercising,” Yasir said.

He believes that book reading helped him to remain focused on his goal, he will keep doing the same as long as he is being profited by it.

In this regard, a clinical psychologist Dr Mudasira, operating from police lines Anantnag said reading books keeps a reader focused on one particular target. In the pandemic, reading books have emerged as the best remedy to remain hopeful.

“Reading books adds to one’s hope and hope is a cure,” she said. A senior consultant psychiatrist, operating from GMC Baramulla, Dr Aakash Yousuf Khan said that due to the pandemic a lot of people witnessed stressful events. But when a person remains in isolation, the best thing that helps his thought process is reading. Reading, in particular, helps doctors as well to cure patients by using Cognitive Behavioral Therapy on them.

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