Dr Rajesh Kumar
There is no denying of the fact that this lockdown period and pandemic not just reflect apprehensions in physical health but financial crises, relationship issues and disruption in jobs with stress falling somewhere in between all such important aspects of life.
The feelings of negativity have suffused every corner of life, be it personal, family, professional or social. Gradually, happiness has also gone for quarantine. With all family members staying home 24×7 has brought happiness in some families as they have started enjoying togetherness for which they had craved for a long time, this togetherness has become suffocating gradually for a few families and few family members as there is not much of “me” time for them now. The happiness or sorrow in the family depends on the condition of emotional and mental harmony. Recently, there has been a surge in domestic violence cases across the world. Not only has it affected the higher or the middle socio-economic class but the lower strata too.
For women, the behaviour of children, husband and in-laws creates emotional turmoil. The fear of job or financial loss of self or spouse, sitting idle at home, apprehension of health and other uncertainties make the husband or head of the family anxious and irritable. This results in housewives becoming easy targets of this frustration. Often it leads to emotional and on occasions, physical violence. Increased food demand from family members at regular intervals, lack of subsidiary help, lack of domestic help from other family members, lack of interaction with friends, unavailability of alcohol for husband in some cases and increased work related to children are among factors that affect the mental condition of housewives. In short, there is lack of peace of mind. Hence, the chances of increase of conflicts in thoughts and opinions or rotten relationships. All such factors affect the mental condition of the homemaker. Then there is lack of rest, sleep disturbances, high stress, which results in frustration, anxiety and depression.
Lack of energy, low mood, increased irritation, frequent fight, lack of interest, decreased pleasurable activities, sleep cycle disturbance, lack of appetite are a few common depressive symptoms. Increased palpitation, shortness of breath, tremors of body and apprehension are anxiety symptoms.
What are the solutions to these troubles for a homemaker? Here are a few tips:
a) First of all, the simplest and the toughest part is the acknowledgement of the problem – a healthy discussion among your partner can diminish your further conflict with him and other family members. Keep your points subtly and with clarity in front of everyone. Be polite and respectful with demands and necessities. Mitigate the previous conflict if any; this will help you reduce the anxiety related to the job or financial problems, or if nothing works take help from therapist or online counselling.
- b) Establish a proper communication channel for all family members.
- c) Allocate household work among family members to reduce the workload on oneself. This seems very small objective but has a crucial impact on the stress level.
- d) Develop a healthy lifestyle plan for yourself and your family. This lockdown period has disturbed the sleep cycle of most people due to which no diet plans are being followed and hence, health issues arise, followed by stress and mood swings. It is important to adopt a healthy and timely meal cycle, proper sleep, exercise and indulge in meditation to help increase the metabolism as well as emotional and mental health.
- e) Exercise – Eat – Work- Sleep- Repeat: A properly balanced cycle has to be developed around all the four activities of the day.
- f) Talk to your friends and family who support you: There is no doubt that family comes first but friends are equally important. Take out some time and call your friends and talk about your good days and ask them about their wellbeing.
Lastly, if any of these don’t help, seek psychological help without hesitation.
The author is a consultant psychiatrist and psychotherapist and the founder-director of mental healthcare and rehabilitation centre, Udgam