We are living in extremely uncertain times, with each one of us dealing with quarantine in our own ways. Although we aren't able to connect at our coworking space, we make sure to stay in touch with our members via Zoom, virtual sessions and our members Whats App group. Today, we chat with Ishita Pateria, MSc, MBPsS, Counselling Psychologist and Psychotherapist and Founder, State of Mind – The Emotional Wellness Centre, about her thoughts on mental health during the current scenario.
What is your view on the general state of mental health awareness in India?
I think talking about mental health in India is still stigmatized and limited. People are still uncomfortable reaching out for help and not sure what they will gain by seeking help.
Do you think this has changed since quarantine?
Yes, I have seen more importance being given to mental health since quarantine. Individuals have become aware that during times like this they have to take care of themselves and be mentally as well physically fit to handle the situation.
What is your advice to working professionals who are seeing a decrease in their work? This may lead to demotivation and negativity so how does one avoid this?
It is extremely normal to feel demotivated during this time. One way to tackle this is to write down what you’re currently working on and what your upcoming goals are. These don’t all have to be professional but could also include longer term goals like building your website, brushing up your pitch deck or working on that hobby you’ve been thinking about. During this time, it’s important to understand that we can’t be defined by our ‘work’ and that we are still being productive in other ways, even if it isn’t for a job.
We are all going through a financial downturn, what are the ways one might be able to deal with this?
It is important to firstly accept the financial downturn. Once we accept this then we can start organizing our lives in that manner. It's important to ask ourselves what are things we need and what are the things we want so that we can cut down on unnecessary or not immediate expenses. It is also important to readapt in our work to the current work environment as much as possible. The financial downturn in something we cannot avoid but we have to be prepared and do the best that we can!
"Thanks to technology we can still do a lot more from home. It is important for us to focus on the things that we can do rather than the things that we cannot do."
For someone who is used to networking, travelling and multi-tasking, this period can be very difficult to deal with. What are your suggestions for this?
Thanks to technology we can still do a lot more from home. It is important for us to focus on the things that we can do rather than the things that we cannot do. We all know that travelling is not possible but we can still do some amount of networking and multi-tasking through this time. Change the way you look at the world around you and find opportunity where before, you might have seen a roadblock. This can be challenging but is a great way to train your mind to be more resilient and adaptable.
What are resources you can recommend to someone who might be going through a difficult time apart from speaking to a therapist?
There are various hotlines like the initiative by the Manav Foundation which is providing free counselling. In addition to professional help it is extremely important to reach out to friends and family so that you can share whatever you are going through. The internet is full of amazing resources, you just have to find the right one for you. You can reach out to Ishita for any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org