Listen to Divya dialogue with Dr Tejasvini Sinha, Neuropsychologist on how to balance your loss and grief during COVID-19. Dr Tejasvini is also the founder of Healing Conversations, a centre which conducts therapy sessions for people who are bound by mental stress and anxiety.
“No one has to come out as M.F Husain or Sanjeev Kapoor; this is not a competition for productivity. Your productive day could also mean watching the sunrise and seeing the sunset.”
Loss is a big part during COVID-19, how do you grapple with loss and make sense of it?
“I have always encouraged people to take a microscopic view of their life because an aerial view sometimes can be distressing.”
When we look at the current global pandemic, and we see that everybody is suffering and is distressed at some level; we should take a microscopic look of our lives, and tap into our emotions, and check how you are doing with yourself. Being selfish is okay!
Spend some time mentally coping with how to deal with the situation in the current scenario. No one has anticipated the pandemic at all, but the veterans have estimated how it’ll look in the next few weeks and months. Don’t try to control everything, and it’s okay to be a little selfish.
How do stakeholders like business/ restaurant owners create a balance between their jobs and the grief they may be facing during COVID-19?
This time demands us to utilise our mental capacity to its maximum potential. We’ve stayed at home in lockdown, with immense pressure. Now that the lockdown has nearly lifted, there is pressure on us to get things back to a better state.
DR Pro Tip: Anticipate your struggles and have a solutions focussed approach, rather than being distressed about the current situation.
It’s also essential to feel what you’re feeling, but not impulsively act on them, says Doctor Tejasvini, instead it’s necessary to make a practical and an informed decision.
When speaking to someone who is struggling, where does one even start?
First, recognise if you’re mentally equipped to help someone. Even though you might feel like an enabler, know your shortcomings and accept that the individual you’re helping may need professional support.
Second, be open to listening to someone without passing any judgement, and create a positive dialogue with them. Listen to not respond but to absorb it. Listening is a big part of helping. Understand that grief is a solitary journey and acknowledge that only the person who’s suffering knows how deep their hurt is.
Third, empathise and walk in their shoes. It will naturally fill you with words and statements that you can use to understand their grief, and you’ll be able to build a positive conversation with them.
How does one initiate the dialogue of mental health and loss during COVID-19, especially with corporates?
Corporates and profit-making organisations sometimes underestimate feelings, emotions, and mental health. Doctor Tejasvini suggests, that, as individuals, we have to stand up for our mental health and make corporations speak up about mental health and take it seriously.
Corporates should realise that it’s easier to work in our own time and even sometimes, can be more productive.
DR Pro Tip: Get fully ready for the day and pretend you’re actually going to work. Otherwise, you might find yourself back in bed.
The more prominent and international corporations have set the trend for enabling a more positive workplace. For example, Google and American Express have in-house therapists that employees can reach out. India Inc. needs to follow on these footsteps.
Why does such a strong stigma exist when discussing mental health in India?
The doctor says stigma exists because we tend to attach a label on people who need even the slightest help with their anxiety or dealing with their emotions. This inherently makes people weary to seek professional advice.
New studies suggest that mental health is a parallel pandemic with the coronavirus pandemic. The importance of mental health is increasing and has come under the spotlight due to COVID-19. People also need to realise that going to a therapist is a natural course of life. Moreover, it should be seen as a strength as you have the sense to realise you need support and assistance.
Any last thoughts for everyone listening to this podcast?
Stay positive. Remember, “there is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.”
FYI with DR: This iconic line comes from the Lord of Rings Trilogy, written by J.R.R Tolkien. It is considered to be one of the biggest and most ambitious film projects ever undertaken, with an overall budget of $280 Million the entire project took eight years, with the filming for all three films done simultaneously and entirely in New Zealand.
Did you like this podcast? Listen to Divya dialogue with Priyamvada Aggarwal, a counselling psychologist on how to practice self-care during COVID-19 here.
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