Everyone should realize, spending time with friends is the best medicine to stress and anxiety
With every passing day, we are getting more connected via virtual social networks, in our hearts we have very few people to actually connect to. Is digitalization the only culprit? I don’t think so. In every generation, people get lonelier as they grow up. We all make great friends in our schools and colleges. But as we enter into professional spaces and afterwards when we start our own families, we usually are not as expressive, open as earlier. So? we get lonelier ! We hide things from our friends thinking we are grown ups now or he/she might not be interested to listen to my personal affairs. Sometimes, we do make friends at our workplaces but in most of the cases, these friendships do not last long. As we change the place of work, they slowly vanish from our lives. Though at this age of facebook , instagram, Whatsapp we occasionally get to see some activities of these friends, remember few great things that we did together but then we scroll down or swipe next. I am not saying this is the story of every individual but I am very sure, many of the millennials will be able to relate to it.
I too have faced this. Right after my college, as I got too much worried about my job, personal life, finances etc. , I started loosing that emotional connect with those greatest assets I created in my life; my beautiful friends. Occasionally I shred my achievements with them like a new job or my MBA admission but I could hardly share my problems, frustrations. I was not happy. Though I was doing good professionally, an emptiness was also growing inside me. I felt stressed at times. It was not like I didn’t have anyone to share things with but somehow I was not able to find that perfect solution to all my problems.
Life was going on like this. And then COVID hit us !! Suddenly, there are less things to do and even lesser to worry about. My daily routine shrank into eating, sleeping, working from home and occasionally worrying about collecting food (I mean buying them of course).
But this unforeseen situation paved way for those old friends to return into my life. As there were less things to do, we started group video calling. almost every night, after the day’s struggle, we chatted in video calls. Friends that were long gone from my life came back and we discussed our lives again. We all opened up about everything that was happening in our lives and somehow everything started getting better again. I felt less stressed and anxious than before. We also planned to do something together: a start up or may be an YouTube channel. Though nothing materialised as I write this, things like these made us more connected.
Eventually, we planned two trips: One during Durga Puja in 2020 and another in March 2021. Yes these bold plans were little irresponsible on our part but when we planned these trips, things were quite normalised in terms of covid restrictions. Tourism industry was restarting after the hiatus. Hotels were open for tourists again but with multiple covid protocols.
TRIP 01 : Jhargram, West Bengal
We were 4 friends on two motorcycles. We rode close to 600 kilometers in three days. We preferred motorcycles over public transports to be able to maintain social distancing.
The journey to Jhargram from Diamond Harbour was so adventurous that by itself it can be a full blog, let alone the stay and return.
During our stay in Jhargram, we took bath in natural water streams coming down from the hills, experienced sacrificing of cattle at Kanak Durga temple on Mahanavami. For those who don’t know much about Jhargram, for a brief idea, it is a place in West Bengal surrounded by dense forests and hills. It is the end of Chota Nagpur Plateau. Human civilization started flourishing here around 10000 years ago. For us also, it marked a beginning. Our false career struggles, unimportant personal affairs kept us apart for years but this trip and the picturesque places provided us that much needed chemistry to rekindle our bonds.
TRIP 02 : Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh — Haridwar, Uttarakhand
Part 01: In our 2nd trip in March 2021, we went to Varanasi, one of the oldest cities on earth. We stayed in a hostel, roamed around the city, got high on bhang, sang our favorite songs together. We strolled alongside the Ganges enjoying the grand old and historically invaluable architectural masterpieces, The Ghats. It was during the festival of Holi, so everything was colorful. We took dips in the river. We Spent 4 days like there was no beginning and no end .
Part 02: Then we went to Haridwar. It was time for the Mahakumbh which comes once in 12 years but we were so tired from our previous stay at Varanasi that we preferred staying in our hotel room than roam around the holy city.
After Haridwar, we had plans for a trek in Uttarakhand. I could not do it because of health issues(I caught a pretty bad cold) but my friends completed it. I headed back to Gurgaon from wan village in Uttarakhand from where the trek was planned.
On their way back to West Bengal, my friends stayed with me in Gurgaon for 3 days. We cooked our favorite dishes, drank scotch, watched el-classico (the most renowned and most watched football match between real Madrid and Barcelona) together after a really long time, visited Jama masjid on a Friday afternoon, had a sumptuous meal at Kareem’s. I felt like those beautiful carefree college days are back in my life.
These two vacations brought a lot of energy, positivity and enthusiasm back into my life. And I realized how drastic impact can these small things leave on chaps like us. We all try to find happiness throughout our lives but mostly we look at the wrong places. We all know what exactly provides us that source of joy and happiness, but we generally don’t take that road as we think its time for much bigger things in life. And in doing so, we make way for a lot of shit into our lives.
These two emotionally refreshing reunions made me realize that I derive a lot of happiness and can totally forget about all the reasons of anxiety and depression when I am spending time with these idiots. I will continue doing so for the rest of my life. And I will suggest all of you who are battling depression and anxiety to try this once. Get a bunch of friends and just elope. But ,
do not forget to let me know,
how did it go.