If you’ve been struggling off late, you’re not alone. These are difficult times, and it’s only normal for us to go through the motions as we learn how to cope with yet another month of staying in. Juggling responsibilities such as working from home, ensuring our loved ones are safe and taken care of, and being exposed to negative news reels is bound to take a toll on our mental wellbeing.
Ishita Pateria, Counselling Psychologist and Founder of State of Mind - The Emotional Wellness Centre
Which is why Le Mill has reached out to Ishita Pateria, a mental health expert, to help us better navigate our lives in such a time. Pateria is the founder of State of Mind, an emotional care centre, and has helped clients deal with depression, anxiety, phobia, stress management, self esteem issues, eating disorders, grief and bereavement, and more for over a decade in her career.
“I think this year for many is a harder year to cope with than the last. Last year people had the will to work hard, do what it takes to cope. However this year, there is a looming sense of hopelessness,” says the counselling psychologist about the current scenario that we find ourselves in. While the easing of restrictions from December to March did provide some relief, the second wave has made many realise this is not the year that perhaps they thought it would be.
“Many people today are feeling guilt when they are looking after themselves, given what’s happening in the country. They feel guilty when they work, and then when they don’t,” shares Pateria. It can be tough to keep your mind from wandering, but she suggests creating things that one looks forward to as it helps us cope with everything that’s going on. We ask her questions in order to understand how we can deal with the pandemic’s pandemonium better, in the hope that it can help anyone, anywhere reading this. To all the readers out there, take a moment, breathe, and reach out when you need the help. Excerpts from the interview below:
What are some common things you’re finding people struggling with in the continuing Covid crisis in our country?
Lack of motivation, confusion, and a general low mood and even financial pressures. The inability to meet loved ones is making some feel lonely. There is fear, anger, grief, guilt and overall increased anxiety and concerns regarding that. Many are feeling stuck since there are no new experiences.
How do you advise clients to navigate uncertainty? Any hacks or mantras to deal with covid-induced anxieties?
The idea of uncertainty is hard to deal with, therefore it is important to give yourself and your life as much control as you can. Think covid sanitisation, our routine, our goals, our personal wellbeing. Mindfulness techniques are extremely helpful as it helps us see the current as something that may be in our control, rather than the future which isn’t.
For the parents out there… do you have any counselling or guidance on how they can navigate Zoom-school, their jobs and family expectations? How can one manage these distinct areas of one’s life without crumbling?
The first thing to keep in mind is that it is alright to feel overwhelmed, or to feel that you are crumbling, because it is a lot and it’s been going on for a long time. Create a practical routine which accommodates various responsibilities and take out time whenever you can for yourself. We need to recognise our boundaries and limitations on how much we can do and cannot. Lastly, ask for help accordingly.
As an individual what are some practices that can help us feel grounded or in sync with ourselves while we feel the pressure to provide for and worry about our loved ones?
In order to be able to help others, you need to take care of yourself first. Doing a mindfulness check exercise every morning to see how your family is doing is a great way to check in. It is super important to take out a certain amount of time in which each person reflects on how they are doing, and understand what is affecting them the most, so that they can get help or work on that.
How do you recommend we deal with the constant barrage of negative news surrounding us right now?
We need to create boundaries and find our balance accordingly. It cannot be either or. There is an overload of information, so one definitely must not continue exposing themselves to information all the time. Close tabs, unfollow. However, keeping your limitations in mind, see what way you can help out. It is extremely important not to compete with others and see what others are doing, but focus more on what you can do.
About Ishita Pateria:
Ishita Pateria founded State of Mind – The Emotional Centre in December 2016. She is a member of the British Psychological Society, Bombay Psychological Association and Counsellors Association of India. She has over ten years of clinical experience in the field of mental health including depression, anxiety, phobia, stress management, self esteem issues, eating disorders, couple and marriage counselling, grief/bereavement management, and more.
Ishita is an alumni of Regents College, London followed by a Master of Science in Mental Health & Psychotherapy from St. Bart’s Hospital, Queen Mary University, London, as well as a second Master of Science in Counselling Psychology from City University, London. She has also worked with the NHS in London and Jaslok Hospital in Mumbai, and is currently running her private clinic called state of mind - the Emotional Wellness Center at Chowpatty, Mumbai.
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