Beat your Lockdown Blues: All your mental health queries answered by Dr Anjali Chhabria
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Hello. I am soon entering the seventh month of pregnancy. I have been home-bound since the lockdown began, only stepping out for regular check-ups and scans. The current scenario is somewhere affecting my overall experience as a first-time mom. I was very excited during the first trimester, but when the lockdown started stress of how things will turn out started creeping in. I don’t want to let this stress affect my baby. What can I do?

Ans: This being your first one, initial few months of pregnancy would have been full of excitement and future plans. Due to given situation, those plans and your excitement have suffered. The dual stress of keeping yourself as well as the baby healthy might also be overwhelming. Focusing on what is in your control at this point can help in reducing stress. Take help of your husband to find alternatives for your plans to make this pregnancy a happy experience. You can also speak to a counsellor about your anxieties and apprehensions on regular basis till you feel more settled emotionally.

I have to travel to Delhi as one of my close friend’s mother is hospitalised and there is a high possibility she might not make it. My friend has been there for me through thick and thin and I feel it is important for me to be there for him. But in times like these travelling is a huge concern for me. I fear what will happen in the flight and once I reach there. How do I help myself be calm during the flight?

Ans: Travelling is a big concern as we are just learning how to practice safe distance as well as precautionary measures. From your end make sure you take necessary precautions while travelling. Find out what are the quarantine rules for someone travelling to Delhi so that you are mentally prepared of what’s to come. During the flight focus on things that you would normally focus on while travelling in pre-COVID days. There are few apps that you can make use of which provide muscle relaxation techniques. This could help combat anxiety as well. Lastly, try and engage yourself into some activity like reading or watching something so as to refrain from over-thinking.

I am a psychologist and have been encountering new cases with increased anxiety about COVID-19. I have worked all throughout the lockdown period, but now I am getting affected by all that is happening around us to a larger degree. I guess it is due to an increase in anxiety amongst my clients as well. I broke down yesterday when I heard one of my clients lost her father to coronavirus. I want to be objective and at the same time take care of myself in this process. What can I do?

Ans: Being a mental health professional in times of crisis like these can be quite challenging as a lot of people end up narrating similar experiences. The repeated exposure to such overwhelming information can get to you. You mentioned that you have worked all throughout this period and somewhere you have exhausted your bandwidth. It is time you take into consideration the fact that you are also living and experiencing this pandemic like all your clients. You can also get emotionally affected by this. If you feel you need to be objective then take things slow with your clients so that you can recharge yourself. Pause and restart.

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