Muscat: As the COVID-19 wreaks havoc around the world, people are tapping art, entertainment and digital group events in social media to beat stress and stay positive.
Artists, who were not getting much time to shape their creativity, now claim they have much to explore staying at home.
“Loneliness makes creative people more productive. During normal days we don’t have much time for painting but the lockdown has given me much to do,” says Salim Khamis Zahir al Salmi, Oman’s budding artist. He said he could do a couple of paintings relating to ‘stay at home’ to create awareness among the general public.
“Not only that the painting helps people to be aware about the environment, but also will remind us of the situation that we were stuck in. Art is the best medium to express your ideas or feelings,” Salim said.
Said al Ruwaidhi, another artist who also works in the health sector, said unlike the normal days, he is getting more time and space to tap new ideas.
“During the lockdown the passion within me is coming out to the extent that I explore my art as much as I can,” he said, adding, “I am enjoying the lockdown boredom making best out of the worst”.
With distancing no longer an obstacle thanks to technology, communication with family members, friends, professional contacts or colleagues can be done with the tip of a finger.
“As the pandemic continues and so does the lockdown, we must shift and embrace new mindset,” advises Dr Hassan Mirza, Psychiatrist at Sultan Qaboos University Hospital.
The mindset, according to him, “is that of a simpler life, which gives us an opportunity to do the things we always wished we could do, but couldn’t due to the busy schedules and long times spent outside home.”
Similarly, being hopeful that this pandemic will end, and it will end just like the others in the past, such optimism is always associated with better mental health and even physical health by boosting our immunity.
“People should remain productive during lockdown, set a routine, exercise, eat healthy, sleep well, stay connected, and do something pleasurable every day”, Dr Mirza says.
Social media is abuzz with activities during lockdown. Whatsapp groups are engaging their members in entertainment and knowledge events. ‘Vayanakootam’, a group of literature lovers, hosts singing and quiz for members to reduce the stress.
“It allows all of us to be together in these crazy times even though we cannot see each other,” said Shoukat Ali, the admin of the group.
With all the tragic things that are happening in the world as a result of the coronavirus, it might seem like an unusual time to talk about being positive. Yet staying positive is a core ingredient in the recipe of successful coping in a crisis.
“If we organize our time and set a certain schedule with activities, we can take full advantage of this time like the way we do,” says Shoukat who is also the Managing Director of Al Bhaj Books.