Good Morning World: It’s just a change of venue

I woke up this morning to the realisation that I do not have the skills required to survive work-from-home. I just don’t. How do I know? Well for starters, everybody is an expert on it and I am not. That’s how I know. And everybody is worried about me. As a result, I am getting emails, WhatsApp messages, posters, Memes, detailed articles and cute posts on social media – hour on the hour – telling me how to work from home. People know everything. Everything. How to exercise and stay fit while wfh, how to relax and be calm while wfh, how to collaborate while at wfh, how to post pictures of all the birds that are now freely flying about in the sky in hordes now that I am wfh… and so on.

And so I have been trying to follow all the good advise so that I improve my chances of making it through to the rainbow at the end of this coronavirus storm. But I am falling behind on my learning since there’s just so much how-to-prepare-for-wfh curriculum from everywhere!

Naturally this leads to stress and that’s why we now also have domain experts on stress management emerging … as of last week. In fact, since coronavirus started, I have realised that hundreds of thousands of UX designers, instructional designers, programmers, management people, project managers, sales people (among others) have picked up – overnight – new degrees and certifications in mental health management and wellness. And all the information they are pouring out on LinkedIn, FB, Twitter etc is so good. So good. Pure Gold actually.

Take this conversation I had the other day, for instance. One of my ultra desi friends decided I could do with some Yoga.

“No thank you. There is nothing wrong with me.”

“But we live in times of extreme stress these days. You have to have some help to ease your tensions.”

“I don’t have any tensions,” I replied.

“You don’t even know you have tensions! This is more serious than I had thought. Maybe you should first start with a thorough check-up of your aura to tell you what’s wrong with you.”

“There is nothing wrong with me,” I repeated.

“Then you can go in for a course of yoga meditation and follow it up with the Science of Artificially Augmented Natural Living course. That will cleanse you completely. And finally you should learn Reiki to heal yourself and others.”

“I feel bitter already,” I said.

Feeling bitter is apparently the beginning to feeling better. And I speak from data – check any media (social or otherwise) and if you do a statistical analysis, you’ll probably find that 40% of the content can be classified as fear/bitterness/anger/anxiety related, another 40% is positivity/wellness/woohoo kind of stuff, 10% is news and the remaining 10% covers everything else including the 2% on actual work. (Just so you know: I made that up).

Of course, in my case I have a long way to getting better. First I have to get confused about life and living. Then, I have to unlearn the conditioned survival ability to focus only on work and focus more on talking about and planning work (what we used to call procrastination). Then, I have to start feeling bad that the world is ending and nothing’s getting done and worry about all the problems that are going to come very very soon. By that time I would have naturally progressed to worse since all the work I should have done but didn’t do would have led to loss of my – and others’ – employment and I would be in really deep and really real shit – and so I would be able to do all these wellness courses and get better.

The thing about wellness is that wellness is good. But just because there’s free wellness bullshit out there, does not mean I have to try it out. A lot of ‘ailments’ today might actually be concern, anxiety, fear of the known (or the unknown) than anything else. Whatever happened to words like ‘apprehension’, ‘difficulty’s, and ‘turmoil’? Whatever happened to phrases like ‘butterflies in your stomach’? Why does ‘mental health’ and ‘depression’ fashionably pop up so often in daily conversations, media, and social media?

I think it is important to do things which make us feel good every once in a while. Things which we do just because they make us feel good. Like smile. Like watch a movie just because it is entertaining. Like work because we want to and not because we have to.

Good Morning World. WFH is just a change of venue: focus on what you need to do everyday.

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