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September 14, 2020

MENTAL HEALTH

MANAGING THE ‘NEW NORMAL’

BY Andrea Melisa

Sukanya Wignaraja
Solution Focused Counsellor and Coach
Website: www.sukanyaw.com


The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically transformed the way the world functions: from how we communicate to the way business is conducted. And amidst this chaos, mental health has also come under a more probing spotlight. Here’s what Sukanya Wignaraja has to say about this.

Q: What are the psychological effects of ‘working from home’ (WFH) on individuals?
A: A workplace isn’t only about jobs; it’s also about daily human contact and interpersonal relations that add value to our lives.
When those aspects are taken out of the equation, people can be left feeling isolated and unsupported, which adds to what is already a stressful situation.
In fact, many people have been streaming The Sound of Colleagues playlist on Spotify to recreate a workplace ambience in their homes.

Q: So how can one address the issues you mention?
A: Being in regular contact with others is essential. Those managing teams need to keep an eye on how people are coping because WFH can lead to numerous stresses including juggling time to supervise children who are schooling online.
These are new challenges in the workplace that need to be considered.

Q: What’s your advice to anyone experiencing feelings of loneliness due to social isolation?
A: It’s important to stay connected with friends and family. For those who are really struggling, speaking to a professional counsellor can make a huge difference.

Q: And how has the lockdown impacted relationships?
A: It’s important to recognise and acknowledge that this is a new experience for everyone. In many instances, people – i.e. couples, parents and children and so on – have reconnected.
We have learned to be tolerant of one another, and some have found that the time spent with their significant other has been valuable and necessary.
However, the 24/7 proximity has also posed challenges to those who have ongoing issues in their relationships due to longstanding pre-existing problems that have come to the forefront under these unusual circumstances.
While some have found ways of navigating these difficulties on their own, others have reached out for help to professionals.

Q: Any other words of advice?
A: We are living in a world that has changed irrevocably; and the pandemic has made us rethink the way we live. And we’ve learnt to weather the storm in ways that we never believed possible.
As the world around us continues to change and new challenges are thrown in our path, it’s important for us to continue paying attention to our emotional and mental wellbeing as this will help us function well in every aspect of our lives.


THE CHECKLIST

  • Maintain a daily routine and schedule your tasks accordingly
  • Exercise in whatever way possible
  • Take time out for yourself – do something that pleases you every day
  • Stay connected with family and friends
  • Take regular breaks if you are WFH (because ‘Zoom fatigue’ is very real)
  • Seek mental health support if you are struggling

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