Here's how hobbies could help manage your mental health
In recent times, the topic of mental health and mental well-being has taken the centre stage in India. Activists, NGOs and doctors have begun urging people to break the silence and seek help if required. Yet many a times, mental health issues go unattended.
Especially, considering the situation post lockdown, there has been a rise in complaints about various issues such as anxiety, overthinking and more.
But today, it is not as much about the taboo as it is about affordability. Mental health is increasingly becoming unaffordable and, hence people are unable to seek help.
The World Health Organisation predicted that by the year 2020, roughly 20 per cent of the population will suffer from mental illnesses -- i.e. more than 200 million Indians suffer from various mental illnesses. Hence, despite being one of the most common issues faced people across various social strata, only a few can afford help.
Talking to The Bridge Chronicle Diksha Joshi* a working professional from Mumbai said, "I was charged Rs 1,500 per session. I had to visit the doctor at least three times a week for my condition. But soon, I realised I could not afford to be mentally upset and that I had to learn to come out of it on my own."
When it comes to physical health, a plethora of traditional medicines, doctors and techniques are available. But despite awareness, mental health is a complex subject to deal with and needs proper guidance. Hence apart from therapy, people need to develop a healthy coping mechanism to deal with these issues.
The most important part of dealing with issues is to be able to take time off and engage in other activities. This not only helps in clearing the mind but also gives us the time to look at issues through a fresh perspective.
Having said this, it is essential to remember that in case you feel unable to cope with the situation, it is alright to seek help from friends, family or mental health professionals.
Dr Rahul Khemani Psychiatrist, with Wockhardt Hospital, says, "With mental health disorders unless the person sufferer plays a part in getting better, they are not going to get better. It is very important to put effort to come out of it."
Explaining the process further, he says, "Understand treatment or therapy is like filling petrol in a car, the tank can be full, but ultimately you remain the driver. Until and unless you drive the car, it will not move."
"The job of a hobby is similar to driving. It helps you realise that you have a life of your own and that the parallel life apart from your work needs you to be able to maintain a balance," he added.
Dealing with issues
On a regular basis, many of us experience emotions and thoughts that ofter trigger reactions that we may not always be able to deal with. In such cases, it crucial to seek professional guidance. But, it is also important to switch off from the world and indulge in activities that help us reconnect with ourselves.
Finding your 'me time' activity
The hobby needs to be something that helps you disconnect from work and reconnect to the real world. Hobbies should be something that helps you go out of your stressful zone and go into a comfort zone.
"How much ever passionate you are about your work, there is a possibility of a burnout. Hence a hobby is something that separates you from your work," says the doctor.
Dealing with specific stressors
When it comes to easing anxiety, the process of figuring out what works best for you as an individual can be incredibly intimate. What might be a fit for some -- may not always be the best for you. But while dealing with anxiety, it is critical to understand what calms your anxieties instead of triggering them.
Colouring or painting have proved as an effective method to deal with anxiety over the years. Solving puzzles or putting together a puzzle is also a way to deal with anxiety.
Overthinking is addictive, and everyone falls prey to it at some point or the other. It is extremely difficult to put an end to it. Overthinking is like a train but without a destination. It takes you from one stop to the other while not getting anywhere in reality.
Though introspection is necessary to understand what is happening around you, you should know where to draw a line for yourself. And so, learn to give your thoughts some rest.
Aerobics, Zumba or jogging are effective ways to keep thoughts at bay. If the outdoor is not your style, then meditation, listening to podcasts or solving puzzles could also be a helpful way to deal with overthinking.
Apart from being a sour experience for people around you, irritability is not a delight for the person experiencing it either. Irritability often stems from underlying issues which, when we fail to address.
While dealing with irritability, pinpoint what ticks you off. Apart from that, understand what is effective in helping it or solving the problem.
Meditating or writing down all the thoughts could be an effective way of dealing with irritability. Exercising or practising yoga or a craft could also help in easing irritation
Lack of concentration
The lockdown has taught us to multitask. But it has also okayed the habit of Instagramming at work and watching Netflix in the background. This has caused a lack of concentration in many.
But as we resume office, learn to bring back the routine. Painting and colouring have been the age-old methods of improving concentration as kids. But as we grow up, we often stop doing this. As we resume into the new normal, it would be a good idea to bring back the old paintbrushes and colours.
Despite all this, hobbies are very subjective and change from person to person. It is not something that can make you feel better in a day, but a long-lasting hobby can be an added help in dealing with outside stressors.
*name changed on request