Lockdown began on 23rd March 2020 as a response to the pandemic and most of the country has been locked up in their homes, only to venture out for essentials. This might be helping to curb the virus to a certain extent, but the lifestyle changes it brings along can be harsh on one’s mental health.
Lockdown majorly affects two areas: socio-personal life and work life. It further affects women, support staff, and the ones who live away. When it comes to women, this is a gender that already faces many hurdles in their day to day lives because ultimately, we still live in a man’s world. Though we see progressive steps being made towards the emancipation of the gender, yet the shift won’t be so quick. The workload on the homemakers has increased significantly since all plates are on the table now. Children who worked or studied away from home are back, plus the domestic help is not around anymore to lend a hand. More disadvantage is for those women who are working and taking care of the household work. In addition to this, they have an added responsibility of keeping everyone’s schedule in mind. If there are two or more working professionals under the same roof it gets tougher cause everyone is bound by the certain time limits through their office.
What about the domestic help and office support staff? They are a majorly affected community especially the daily wage ones. Most of these workers are away from home, and being away from family, out of work and low on money only makes things worse for them and adds on to their already stressed minds. Out of work and money, all they can think now is of going back to their families
The bachelors or students – the ones who depend on domestic help for meals – are quite heavily affected. They either resort to an unhealthy diet or online delivery of food. This increases their risk of being infected. Irrespective of the distance, not having family around exposes you to a lot of mental stress. The empty walls of your house anyway tend to eat you up and then comes the added frustration from work. Having at least one family member around gives you a gateway to distraction. The underlying challenge is when these people decide to go back to their villages only adding up to the risk of being infected and carrying the infection back to their family members and even others who come in contact.
According to surveys, most of the offices are functioning majorly with work from home (WFH) staff and they wish to operate similarly even after the lockdown ends completely. Obvious reasons are, with pay cuts being the new norm, WFH saves time and money and helps the employers save up on the real estate costs.
An ideal win-win situation? Not exactly. WFH effectively and significantly blurs the thin line between professional and personal life. Also, WFH requires the usage of new apps and a lot of technology that probably is foreign to many even now. Coping with the technological backlash and working a little extra to make a mark for yourself increases the work pressure. Not to ignore the risk of downsizing because of the initial loss that occurred to the companies is something one will rejoice about.
The major changes that have happened in our social and personal lives affect our mental peace quite a lot. The messed-up lifestyle and the frustration of being stuck in permanence make us low on patience. The pent-up frustration comes announced and quite a lot of times leaves more than stinging words.
Keeping in mind the stressed life that is so common to find India could have to gear up for mental health crisis wave in near future. The Indian Psychiatric Society (IPS) reports no difference. In one of their surveys, during lockdown 1.0 itself, the mental health concerns had increased by 20%. Mostly this rise was concerned with issues related to family, depression, panic disorders, and anxiety. Not undermining how alarmingly the sexual and domestic cases have hiked up, looks like stress is the new black.
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