It’s month five of social isolation for us in India, and last night we hit two million COVID-19 cases. While things have begun to open up across the country, it’s going to be a long time before we can go back to regular programming.
The initial few months, despite the anxiety and uncertainty, did come with its own fun moments. When we couldn’t go out to meet our friends, we decided to have virtual happy hours. When we wanted to see our families, we would stay six feet apart. The times have been tough, but we learnt how to adapt.
Nearly six months later, things might not seem as rosy as they initially were. A lot of us have had to deal with our loved ones falling ill, losing our jobs and a general sense of heightened anxiety. And many of you might have come to the realisation that every person who showed up for your virtual ‘happy hours’ might not have been there for you during a low phase in the pandemic.
And that’s okay. If there’s anything that this pandemic has taught us, it’s that we waste way too much time on maintaining superficial relationships. And if you’re feeling guilty about cutting out toxic people from your life, don’t be. Take notes from the Swedish wellness philosophy of ‘Ensam är stark’.
Well, this isn’t the first time a Scandinavian concept is going viral for all the right reasons. Last year, the world was obsessed with ‘Hygge’, the Danish art of cosiness. Now, it’s time to embrace the Swedish concept of ‘Ensam är stark’. It is a Swedish expression that translates to ‘alone is strong’, and it celebrates the Nordic people’s preference for solitude and quieter settings.
But don’t confuse this with social isolation! This philosophy urges people to be mindful about who they choose to spend their time with and the quality of interactions. And isn’t it the best time to practice it? Since we’re already being super careful about who we’re meeting, choose to spend your time (virtual or physical) with people who enrich your life.
This means you should no longer join that group hang out in which people make you feel uncomfortable. Or attend that after-work virtual happy hour sesh. If they don’t make you happy, thank them for their invitation and respectfully decline it.
‘Ensam är stark’ is about embracing solitude and quieter settings and acknowledging as well as dealing with interactions that make us anxious. Just look at it a simple way–if the people you spend time with make you feel uncomfortable or anxious, you should not be wasting your precious time on them owing to ‘obligations’.
Learn how to say no. And instead, focus your energy on things or people that bring you joy.
Featured Image: Unspalsh