Are you feeling lonely during the pandemic?

Is something bothering you at home, at the workplace, that you are not able to talk about?

Is your relationship causing you stress?

Do you feel helpless and indecisive all the time?

Remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical well being.

In a first of its kind initiative to help and benefit Rediff readers, mind/life coach, NLP trainer and Mental Health Guru ANU KRISHNA wants you to talk about your problems.

Every week, Anu will answer your queries, address your concerns and offer expert advice on how you can take control of your life.

Last week, Anu spoke about the issues concerning mental health of teens and youth in India and the rest of the world and offered help on how to identify the warning signs and prevent teen suicides.

Dear readers, if you have a question for Anu, please e-mail them to [email protected] (Subject: Ask ANU) for her advice.

Meanwhile, here’s the unedited excerpts from the latest session.

P: I lost my father when I was 17 and was raised by my mother all these years.

Last year, I lost my father to COVID. I am the only child and don’t have any siblings.

I am 36 and not married. I don’t have a boyfriend, neither am I in a serious relationship.

After my father’s death, am being pressured into marriage by my relatives but I am not ready.

I am in touch with a few cousins and friends but I don’t feel any better talking to them. I may be wrong but I feel that they’re either too sympathetic or trying too hard to be positive and cheerful.

It’s hard to explain to anyone how I am feeling right now.

There are days when I feel completely alone, lonely and wish I had a sibling or someone who would understand me without having to explain anything. My colleagues are supportive but I am not able to focus at work either.

I tried taking a few days off but there is a void and sense of loneliness that I am unable to overcome. I don’t know how to make sense of this situation. Can you help?

ANU: Dear P, how exactly do you want to feel? What exactly do you want currently? It is imperative for you to know that we all go through phases in life; some are happy ones and some are not-so-happy ones.

But do know that, these phases are not permanent and that they do have an expiry date on them.

The key to this is with you. How long do you want to lock in that feeling of loneliness or helplessness?

Does it help you to think whether your relatives are sympathising with you? What if they really are caring for you?

Sibling or no sibling, our life is ours and a journey that we must take. And marriage is a decision that is yours to make; you don’t need to yield into any pressure or get yourself to believe that it will drive away your loneliness.

What did you do earlier to move away from loneliness?

How did you keep yourself occupied? Was it a new hobby or could it have been learning a new skill?

Sometimes, doing something absolutely NEW can help de-focus from what we are dealing with currently.

On a long-term thinking, do know that every phase gives rise to a new one.

Join support groups online or any valid meet up group that can bring in some fresh new perspectives.

Connect with old friends. Choose how you want to feel now and move in that direction.

Surround yourself only with happy people and happy thoughts all the time. It does help.

Office colleagues can double up as a good support group, if you are fine sharing your inner feelings with someone that you are close to.

If that isn’t an option, then old friends can do the job really well. But it is important to talk to someone and release what’s holding you back and keeping you away from what you want to feel and what you want to do. All the best.

J: Hi Anu, I read your article about suicide among young people in these trying times. It is really very stressful.

Well I am a 53 year old person from Delhi. I don’t have a job. My savings have dried up.

I am mentally and emotionally broken. My wife and daughter left me last year. I am not being able to cope up with the situation and the humiliation I was subjected to and am still going through.

It’s like facing a wall with no way out. I feel like committing suicide as I am all alone and don’t have any support system.

I don’t know what to do. The urge to end my life is too strong as I was betrayed and cheated by my loved ones.

I spoke to some suicide helplines regarding this but they were of no help.

I hope maybe you can help.

ANU: Dear J, suicide is never an option, so DO NOT try to access something that does not exist.

The pandemic hasn’t been easy on most people across the globe and each person is going through their own challenges.

How each one responds to that is what defines what’s happening next.

This might sound to you like a good preachy note, but do remember, you and only you alone are responsible for your moods and your state of mind.

Times are trying and each of us are going through the Pandemic in different ways. Some of us have lost jobs, some of us have lost our loved ones, some of us have lost our piece of mind…the list is endless.

Why should you choose to go through humiliation when that event is over now?

By replaying it over and over again, does it help change what had happened? What if you choose to move to a thought that empowers you?

If you think this is impossible, NO, it isn’t. It requires you to WANT to move from where you are to where you want to be.

Choosing to be in the same place and thinking the same things repeatedly gives you the same result. A different result, then MOVE please, NOW.

This movement brings in fresh perspectives and fresh ideas that you can infuse in finding an alternative job or career and also into your personal life.

Humiliation is something that you went through and that can’t be changed. But to relive it, is a choice of yours…now, you know what to do. All the best!

S: Hello Anu, I am 41 and working with a MNC in Mumbai.

Since last few months, I am facing some mental health issues like mild depression especially during early morning hours.

On professional front, i am doing good but yes, it’s hectic because of continuous meetings etc. Not able to figure out actually why I am feeling depressed.

Can you please comment/advice?

ANU: Mild depression? Have you been clinically diagnosed or is it self-diagnosis?

Virtual working and/or remote working can bring with it a number of challenges; one being fatigue.

This can cause poor quality of sleep that can result in a low state of mind. This is perhaps what might be happening.

Also, being at home long hours and also due to the uncertainties that we are all facing can pull down the general mood of anyone.

This isn’t depression (unless and until clinically evaluated), but simply a contextual response from the body.

Create rituals to beat this. Since this happens during the early morning hours, make sure that you switch off all electronic gadgets at least a couple of hours before you sleep.

Eat at least 3 hours before you sleep and eat a lighter meal.

Exercise every day for at least 40 minutes and laugh a lot.

Connect with people who empower you. And most importantly, do express gratitude every day.

Feel thankful for what you have and what you are. Also, do what you love; maybe a hobby for a little time every day.

These empowering rituals can get your mood back on track and you will wake up feeling thankful for the day up ahead and also ensure that you can impact your circle of influence at home and at office as well.

Choose your state of mind, let it not choose you. All the best!

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