A balancing act

Mental Health Day

A balancing act

Their careers and pay packets may see an upward trend, but the quality of life of many youngsters surely seems to be hitting a low. Stress, anxiety and depression have become an indispensable part of their lives, what with their long shifts at work, hectic schedules and hours spent battling the traffic. Family life subsequently goes for a toss and physical fitness too suffers on this count.

   On the occasion of ‘World Mental Health Day’ today, doctors and psychologists in the City point out that the concept of work-life balance seems to be missing in most people’s lives leading to increased cases of depression and stress-related disorders among the young.

People are not only clocking in long hours at their workplaces but also tend to carry work home, observes Dr Roshan Jain, senior consultant, psychiatry, Apollo Hospitals. He says employers take advantage of technology and ensure that their employees always stay connected and respond to workplace exigencies. “People are working at odd hours, even
at home, when they should be dedicating time to their family and to themselves,” states
Dr Roshan.

Doctors also say people don’t seem to understand that there’s a deep connection between mental and physical well-being. Many people are discovering ways to deal with stress. Short trips, brisk walks, routine exercise, eating a balanced diet and spending quality time with friends and family, say most individuals, is the best way to ensure good mental health. Forty-seven-year-old Karen Jeremiah, a regional talent manager, heads a team . “A 15 to 30 minute brisk walk helps me relax. I also take appropriate breaks — including looking away from the computer screen — just to have a cup of coffee or chat with a colleague or even better do a round of crossword,” says Karen. She says that her other de-stressing measures include baking, practising dance with her daughter and hitting the spa over the weekends.

Tristha, who is an educationist, spends a better part of her time travelling and strategising for her company. But she makes sure she never misses her gym routines and yoga. “I regularly do a round of strength training and top it with yoga. Also, spending time with family and close friends, whenever possible, can help relieve stress,” she states.

Effective time management, seems to be the issue with a lot of people, thinks Dr Chittaranjan Andrade, specialist in psychiatry with NIMHANS. He confirms that the number of young people who come to him to be treated for depression has been rising because of increasing work pressure. “There are targets and deadlines, unreasonable work hours and long commutes to and from work — all of which increases stress levels. Add to this, time wasted in unnecessary online social networking and other gadget-related activities, and you have a recipe for adverse mental health consequences,” he points out.  But he says that the solution is not impossible to achieve. Dr Chittaranjan adds, “Those stressed could work to improve their time management skills, strengthen relationships within the family and friends’ circle, schedule time-outs for leisure activities, exercise regularly, get enough sleep and eat healthy,” he adds.

Many families ensure that they follow a disciplined routine and have a clear demarcation between work and leisure to avoid anxiety. Ashok Kumar S and his wife Resmi, both IT professionals, never carry work home and cycle to work. “We never open our laptop for work, unless it is unavoidable. We also make sure we spend enough time with our children and go on frequent short trips just to stay refreshed and never let any kind of pressure get to us,” shares Ashok.

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