#MentalHealth: Feeling lonely amid the pandemic? Dr Anjali Chhabria offers easy solution to overcome it

I work at a school in the admin department. My job is to handle the admission procedure and forward the shortlisted candidates list to the selection committee. One of my relative’s friends knows about my job profile, and has been hounding me to get his son’s admission done at the school. I am an ethical worker and do not wish to succumb to these requests. The problem is I am close to my relative and they have supported me in the past. I feel quite torn here. What can I do?

Doing favours for people who ask them for mere personal benefit could put you in a spot. I would suggest you tell your relative that some professional boundaries can’t be crossed. Being supported by your relatives is independent of you helping someone they know. Feeling torn here may be stemming from the fact that you feel in debt of their support. However, there could be a more amiable way to reciprocate their generosity, one that doesn’t make you feel awkward.

I am a lead singer in a band, which was formed five years ago. We have performed at various platforms across the country. I have also been trying to record my own album. Life seems good on surface, but on certain days I feel too lonely. My bandmates have families living in the city or they live with them, while mine is in Orissa. I can’t go back due to work and pandemic. I want to feel better. What should I do?

The feeling of loneliness could be quite a daunting one especially in COVID times. Being in touch with family, even virtually, as much as possible is important. I understand due to pandemic people are being cautious, and meeting someone even within the vicinity could be a problem as well. Make regular calls with family and friends, and figure out a plan to visit home at the earliest. As things have opened up and travel is possible, be cautious and follow all the safety protocols so that you are in a good space, mentally, when you visit your family. In case you are unable to go, call someone from your family to stay with you for the time being.

We are a group of five friends from school, and we recently met after a long time. One of the group members got married, which gave us an opportunity to catch up. During the meet-up I realised they have turned out to be so different then what they were in school. One of them is a renowned doctor, another one is a lawyer, married and has two kids, one is a chef at a five-star restaurant, and the one who got married co-owns a company with her husband. I feel like a black sheep as I am nowhere close to settling down, and even work-wise I am not as accomplished as them. Is it normal to feel like a misfit?

Meeting and interacting with people from your younger days can definitely result into thinking as well as reflecting on our own lives. You and your friends are all involved in varied professions and commitments. The comparison being drawn here could be because of feeling less relatable to each other. Make sure to discuss this with your friends, and you might even realise that grass may not be greener on the other side. They might also throw some light on realities of their lives, which you may have missed out. Often talking these things out helps to find a space and feel like a fit.

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