Macmillan had organised an online session with Dr Parikh, an eminent Psychiatrist and the Director of Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Fortis Healthcare. He spoke to the staff of St. Columbas’ on Friday, 17th April 2020 on how to battle stress and anxiety in times when the world is hit with the pandemic COVID-19. Let us hope we become better at understanding and dealing with mental health after the Pandemic is over.
Accepting anxiety and channelling it properly is the key to survive in these times. Anxiety should be about how to help ourselves in finding a solution, rather than making anxiety a problem for us.
To Manage anxiety -
1. Accept it. Accept the unexpected, unprecedented and unavoidable. Remember that everyone is affected. One should accept that anxiety a natural reaction.
2. To make your anxiety result into something positive, educate yourself and others about hygiene, sanitizing, following government guidelines. Try and inculcate these models in students and family. Now, this anxiety (loss of control, helplessness) becomes empowerment, with the help of knowledge.
How do we work from Home?
Our start of day should be a fixed time. During these times, sleep is lesser due to less fatigue. An early wake up time will help you remain active. Delay in wake-up time makes you feel slow. Plus, you get more work done when you wake-up early.
Decide the time to wake up for the team, depending on every situation
A Hard stop to the end of work day needs to be maintained. Everyone needs to comply.
Workstation should be fixed – a specific corner, neat and uncluttered helps in productivity.
One must work in multiple spurts, take breaks, do something else, come back.
To simulate your environment, you should work in work clothes. It helps your mind zone it.
At the start of the day, one should try and do video meetings to motivate each other that we are all in this together. Plan things accordingly and at the closure of the day also, do such kind of meetings.
When you are teaching, it is better to avoid having too long or too many sessions. 4 sessions of 40-45 mins with breaks work better. With online classes, efficiency is bound to go down, so don’t beat yourself over it. Take 10 mins in your classes to talk to students and see how they’re doing.
Covid-19 will not last forever, so stay fit physically and emotionally. You’d rather have screen time than outside time, so adjust to it and accept it.
Let there be more physical work for younger children. For teenagers, give them more space and let them talk to their friends. It’s their support system. Bring in board games to have mutual times.
Senior citizens can share stories and life lessons and can have video calls with relatives and friends. It is important to relieve each other’s stresses in such times.
Do physical activities like meditation or invest in your hobbies. Do things to refresh your mind and stay positive.
Families need to play very cohesive. Everyone needs to pitch in.
Organisations/schools need to give importance to mental health outcomes. A pandemic after-effect should not be followed by a mental outbreak. Pandemic is not individualism, it’s about collective healing and overcoming.
8376804102 is a 24- hour helpline for mental health and positivity. If anyone needs help, they can call up on this number.
It was an extremely helpful session that ended with a round of questions and answers. We thank Macmillan for organising it.
Reported by –
Mrs Arunika Esther Payal (PGT – English)