By Dr Vandita Gupta
People’s sense of mental and emotional wellbeing has been in the shadows for a long time now, and the pandemic has only exacerbated the situation, bringing the issue to the fore. The new-age worker must deal with the new normal, with a heightened consciousness of work-life balance. It is no more the regular working conditions that people had to cope with, but the need to create a working space (physical as well as mental) right within their individual homes, with blurred boundaries.
Moreover, with socialisation reduced to bare minimum and in-person interactions threatened in the short to medium term, the fears and feelings of isolation and loneliness are now a daily reality that impacts mental well-being. Deeply understanding this situation,
Vandita Gupta, Mental Health Diplomat India Lead and Director, Ethicon, Wound Closure, Bio Surgery, Johnson & Johnson India shares simple tips one can follow to keep in check their mental and emotional health.
It’s Ok, Not To Be Ok
One important aspect of well-being is to acknowledge and accept the wide range of our emotions and feelings. Let’s understand that it’s normal to not feel okay on some days. A few ways to identify this are when you notice that you’re unable to pay attention, your energy is drained out, or you feel unmotivated. When you feel this way, remember that it does not mean that you are ‘broken’ or ‘poorly wired’ but on the contrary, it means your body is doing what it’s been wired to do to survive and is giving you signals. During such a time, do take a break and focus on self-care and unapologetically set boundaries for your personal well-being.
Create And Maintain Your Safe Space
With many of us still working from home, donning multiple hats at the same time – kids are still home-schooling, care of the elderly at home, and other house chores; it is important that we create and maintain our safe space. And oftentimes boundaries are necessary to do that. When we constantly feel this stress, most of us end up developing our own coping mechanism, consciously or subconsciously. These mechanisms help us re-charge and provide us with a sense of comfort. For example, my coping mechanism is switching off from social media for a few days.
Prioritise Self-Care. Find What Works For You
Just as important as it is to be aware of our emotions, it is equally crucial to ensure we indulge in activities that help our bodies and minds relax. Enough studies and on-ground experience tell us that physical exercise, yoga, meditation, etc. directly help reduce stress and anxiety. And different things could work for each of us. Once you start to make a conscious effort to take time out to do what works out best for your self-care – a regular walk, music to soothe your soul – you will notice how recharged you feel.
You Are Not Alone, Reach Out To Others
Please do not let the fear of stigma prevent you from reaching out for help. It is important that you reach out to a friend or family member when struggling. The pandemic-induced lockdowns have demonstrated the practical importance of human interactions for our wellbeing – one does need a community that will hear, engage and also help address your deep-rooted concerns. Plugging into one such community will help one feel less isolated and process emotions better. Importantly, please know that you are loved, you matter – and keep your head high!
Get Professional Help If You Need It
Many organisations have recognised that prioritising mental well-being is important for overall organisation health, and are taking multiple initiatives to build a safe place at work for employees, sensitising employees to recognise signs of mental distress, offering access to mental well-being apps, helplines, psychologists and counsellors. So please make use of these when needed. It is common for people to put off dealing with their mental health until a crisis occurs, delaying getting professional help due to embarrassment, fear of being judged, stigma, lack of time, or even believing their symptoms will go away. The point at which you FIRST think, ‘I wonder if I should get some help’ is the best time to reach out.
The author is Mental Health Diplomat India Lead and Director, Ethicon, Wound Closure, Bio Surgery, Johnson & Johnson India.