Beat your Lockdown Blues: All your mental health queries answered by Dr Anjali Chhabria

I live with my mother and, since the lockdown rules have changed, we both are having arguments whether to allow maids at home or not. I'm very scared to let them in as the cases are still peaking. We are tired and want extra help, but I also don't want to be paranoid. Can you guide us how we can handle this?

It seems like you and your mother ideally want to call the maid over however, your fear is stopping you to take the step. Your worry is normal. What can help in this situation is to have a general dialogue with your maid to learn about the level of precaution she has been taking. This will give you an idea whether she is dealing with the situation responsibly or not. It may also be a good idea to start calling them once or twice a week to begin with, so that you gradually get used to it and can also monitor their safety measures in the meanwhile. It is also important to focus on the basic and the overall precautions and not getting into the minute details of the same.

Hi I'm 24 years old. I live with my father and younger brother. Over the past few weeks I have noticed that my brother has become irritable and argues unreasonably. He insists on sanitising packages and washes his hands excessively. It does not seem normal to me. I'm getting worried about him, but wanted your advice before speaking to dad about it.

Considering the circumstances, cleaning and washing objects more than usual is normal. However, if there are signs such as superstitions, overthinking, tense facial expressions, irrational ideas and compulsive behaviour without sufficient basis, then it's possible that your brother may be going through anxiety and requires professional help. Also see if you notice any changes in his sleep and appetite. Please consult a psychiatrist for the same. The way you can help him is to keep assuring him that things are well sanitised so he can relax about them. Also, try and be more empathetic towards him and refrain from scolding him on his actions, as it may not be in his control at present.

Hi. I'm 48 years old and work in a government office. It has become compulsory for us to attend office thrice a week, but I've been very nervous about resuming. I went last week once and saw that as a firm we are not taking full precautions. So I decided to take my two-month pending leave, which got approved. But, now I keep thinking whether I'm just being weak. And I feel guilty when I see others going to work. What should I do?

It is necessary to safeguard your health and prioritise your own safety first. Whenever you begin to doubt your decision, remind yourself of the reasons that led you to take the decision. A choice that was well-thought, where in you weighed the pros and cons rationally and didn’t take an impulsive decision. However, you can visit your firm in some days again and re-evaluate your choice. It is also important to differentiate between being weak and taking necessary precautions. Similarly, guilt feelings are appropriate only when you do something wrong. However, in this situation, like mentioned earlier it was a well-thought out plan. It is also important to to focus on maximum precautions being taken by individual or organisation instead of perfect precautions.

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