By RITA AGGARWAL (Consulting Psychologist) :
Q: You would say that everything appears to be fine with me -- a good job, apparent good health, a decent house, a fairly happy marriage, a little nice kid, and a career that often brings good news of pay hike or promotion, even in these COVID-19 times. I go to work -- from home. I spend whatever time with family. Yet, I have lost interest in things. I have lost appetite, and get disturbed when my wife pushes me to eat. My nights are spent staring in the darkness as I cannot enjoy sound sleep. I feel constantly unsettled, unhappy. I have done a lot of good work, which my colleagues appreciate. But I seem to be forever craving for more praise. And also, I must tell you that the routine, too, is making me sick with myself. Is there a way out?
A.: Yes, outwardly, everything appears fine with you. Actually speaking, you are suffering from what I may call a mild depression, which you have indirectly analysed yourself when you say that you are craving for more appreciation. I may not describe this as a mid-career crisis. Yours is a case of mild depression that calls for proper and professional handling so that you develop a right approach to life. But in the meanwhile, as daily routine is making you sick, it appears to be a time for you to seek innovative methods to spring back interest in life -- such developing extra-curricular interests like reading, photography, listening to music or even playing an instrument or singing to one’s heart’s content. COVID-19 situation will not allow you or your family to move out. But even within the confines of home, all of you can build an interesting eco-system. Your little one can be another point of focus, which you seem to have handed over only to your wife. And mind you, craving for more appreciation is okay to some extent, beyond which it becomes a point of sickness. So, tell yourself that you are not working only for people’s appreciation -- you are working to build a good life for yourself, a life of fulfillment of your excellence. You don’t have to look to others for it. Your happiness is with you, within you. Professional counselling may be of help to you.
Q.: I am a working mother. My job is good enough for me to make a mix of working from home and occasional trips to office. My husband, who is an IT professional, works from home. With our two school-going kids and my inlaws, we make a happy family, so to say. But in these pandemic times, we have developed a problem, which we hear is with many other families as well. Our kids are becoming problematic. They do attend school online for 2-3 hours every day, and then crave for some activity. We cannot offer them anything beyond some indoor games, and very occasional trip to market when they are not allowed to foray out of the car. But both of them are a bored lot. They cry and fight every day, and we do not know what to do. This is a universal problem, by the way.
A: Yes, lakhs of families face this problem. The answer could be both, simple as well as complex. But let us try the simpler one first -- let us try to give your children thoughtful hobbies such as craft, such as reading books, such as making clay-models, such as in-house gardening with pots that they will nurse. They may be allowed to see television for limited time all right, since overdoing it would spoil their moods all the more. But let us also follow one more practice -- of actually playing with kids even in the confines of the house. And there is one more way -- of telling them stories at dinner time and bedtime. This is one family practice that needs revival, and now is the time to do that. I am sure, this will help reduce your kids’ boredom. That will reduce your drudgery, too
Note: Readers are requested to write short queries in approx 150 to 200 words. Furthermore, do not use abbreviations in career queries to avoid confusion. The columnist can be reached at [email protected]