[5-Bullet Tuesday] Make Time For Your Mental Wellbeing!

Hi All,

Wish you all a very happy and healthy Mental Health Week. And here’s your weekly dose of “5-Bullet Tuesday”, list of things I’m enjoying or pondering.

Templates I loved using –

If you have to do something more than once, have a template for it.

Meetings, that’s something we all have to do every day. And yet, we usually don’t have a template for it. Most of us stress and struggle preparing for meetings and secretly hope godly interference to save us. Right? Well, if your situation is something similar, these two templates will surely come in handy to you.

These templates (courtesy: Michael Hyatt) are super effective in planning for meeting and getting the recommendation across to the manager for approval. Use these and see how much more in control you will feel.
Recommendation Briefing Form
Effective Meeting Blueprint

What am I excited about—

A few weeks back, I had mentioned a silver lining for everyone including myself who is delaying starting their Podcast (Podcrastination). Well, while I am still getting there, but my son, Tanav has taken the plunge already. Yes, he started his own Podcast! And it’s really nice (okay, I may be biased but check it out and find out for yourself) – It’s called Reality versus Expectations and he interviews people from varying job profiles and finds out if the general perception of a job meets the reality. Check it out: Reality versus Expectations.

What I learnt about Mental Health–
it was refreshing to attend the Jay Shetty talk organized by Macquarie office to mark the World Mental Health Day (10th October). Quite an insightful session and more than that, the way he speaks is magnetic. I heard his entire keynote of 30 minutes and another 30 minutes of the Q&A session that followed. He is on the top running On Purpose podcast

  • The growth equation: Pain + Reflection = Progress
  • Remember to make TIME for these things every single day (TIME is the acronym for : Thankfulness, Inspiration, Meditation, Exercise and a bonus S for timely and adequate Sleep.
  • Gratitude must be expressed, specific and personalized!
  • Be curious not creepy. 
  • In this time of pandemic and lockdown, make your own commute.

Questions I loved–
Jay Shetty also suggests building deep connections by asking good questions. Here are some of them which he says he often asks his guests in his On Purpose podcast:

  • What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
  • If you had to make a rule that everyone had to follow for 30 days, what would it be?
  • What’s something you used to value but don’t value any more?

These he says are far better than the usual, How was your weekend, or what are you plans for coming weekend, questions.

Poetry I loved –
Attending the 100th milestone meeting of Bright Beginning Toastmasters Club was a feast. They had invited professional Hindi poets. Well, I could gather only some part of it given it’s depth and my limited understanding of pure Hindi. But, what I understood has left a strong desire to know more (isn’t that what a masterpiece often does?). Particularly noted re-listening to Karvan Guzar Gaya – an inspiring poem by Gopaldas ‘Neeraj’ about missed opportunities.  

Coincidently, I also documented my own little Hindi homage poem this week, which was a tribute to Ashok Mamu, whom we lost in May amidst the second wave of the pandemic. It was his birthday this Friday and the family marked the occasion as Celebration of Life.


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Here’s What You Do!

P

apa, if all our family members get COVID, then what would happen?”, asks my seven year old daughter, Sohana.

She’s such clear with her questions and so expressive that I miss a beat when a question like that comes.

However, Dinky and I have made one rule, and that is that we have to stay calm no matter what. Calm is infectious (..more than the virus!) and that’s all we need at the moment.

Otherwise, we’ll lose it all even without giving it a fight.

The delay in my response has already given the little mind enough ideas, and I can see the BIG tears rolling down her face turned smaller than usual because of the anxieties.

So, I tell her very matter of factly, “Nohana, we have to keep our immune system intact.”

Now, she’s listening. She wants to know more, the sudden stopping of her tears tell me.”

It’s strange I can tell that, even while she’s mostly covered in her face with the mask, which too appears too big for her small face.

“Doctor Mamu was telling me earlier today that even if a virus attacks our body, our body soon starts fighting with it. If our immune system is good, not only would it kill the germs, but it would also make our body stronger next time. That’s how nature works.”

“Nohana, what can you do to keep your immunity high?”, I asked.

“By thinking good thoughts, eating good food and staying hydrated”, she said confirming she knows it all.

She smiled. After all. She adjusts her mask, which is flimsy dealing with the cold, the tears, the cough.. too much for it to handle, apparently.

The date today was 27th Sept, and today was the first day, since 7th Sept, when I actually went out to the balcony with her. Of course, still fully geared with my mask, and a bottle of sanitiser which has suddenly become such a constant in my life.

That’s all we can do, guys. Sohana know it and so do we all. We may not be able to protect us from the virus, despite our best efforts. I thought I was cautious, my family was cautious ,,but it did happen. 

The good news still is that we still have a lot in our control – and it starts with what our intake is: mental intake as well as physical. That’s what would keep us strong to fight it, in case it comes. Here’s my daily checklist for your reference. This is, of course, in addition to the medicines which you may be prescribed:

  1. Vitamins:
    1. Vitamins C
    2. Multivitamin
    3. Zencovit (Zinc)
  2. Food:
    1. > 1.5 L Water
    2.  Fruits including banana, apple, anaar, 
    3. Nutritious Food
    4. Coconut Water
    5. Hot ginger water
  3. Reading and Listening list:
    1. John Maxwell’s “Make Today Count”
    2. Easy Translation of Bhagwat Geeta
    3. Humour they say creates positive hormones. I was reading a book called FML (Viewer discretion advised: 18+ 🙂 ) which I find quite funny actually.
    4. The survive and thrive podcast by John Meese. (Yeah, I want to thrive not just survive..) 

Now, is there any of the above that is not “still” in your control? With a little support from your family or caretaker you can manage it all easily. Do it for your kids too. 

[bctt tweet=”Focus on what you can control.” username=”mohitsawhney”]

Post this emotional furore, Sohaan and I did some more usual talk, the more 7 year old types. “Papa, how many days before I can hug you?” .. “OK.., and Mama?”..

It was such a comfort to have her speak out cheerfully like that. 

I can’t explain what it means to me now to have a “normal talk”, “a dinner together”, “standing beside each other”… after having lon..ged for it for so long.  

We had our one:to:one time may be after a month. I don’t know how much comforting was it for her, but I certainly felt blessed. 

Tanav, my 11 year old son, chose to stay inside. In his room. I later figured that he was talking to his mom while I was with Soha. He needed the one:to:one time too. He has his own emotions and so much more to deal with.

It seems like they’ve grown up much faster in the last 3 weeks than they have in years. They’re on their own, and even taking care of each other. They’ve, once again, surprised us with what they can do and achieve.  

Of course, children, like we all, have their emotions, all we need to do is to support each other so we open up to our emotions and find good ways to deal with them. 

[bctt tweet=”Bottled up emotions are harmful. Help your children find ways to deal with them instead.” username=”mohitsawhney”]

How would you answer Sohana or your child if they asked, “Papa, if all our family members get COVID, then what would happen?” 

 

 

I Know Who Can Help You!


That Evening:


Deepti, my wife, rushed to get Sameer, our friendly neighborhood doctor. I had told her a while back something that sounded like,I am dying!

I haven’t died before but I assumed it couldn’t be worse than this.

Sameer walked upstairs and asked me how I was feeling.


How was I feeling?


It was very hard to describe.  I tried rambling something:

  • a pain in the stomach and ankle ..and everywhere else!
  • not enough oxygen is going into my system!
  • I’m sleepy all the time ..except at night!

What I should have told him that I didn’t:

  • I was scared – of everything and everyone
    • ..of doing things I loved to do!
    • ..of being successful (funny, coz’ I am nowhere close to that!)
    • ..of looking people in the eye
    • ..of my own self
  • I was living in a trance state
    • ..can’t clearly differentiate between reality and imaginations
    • ..have no interest in anything, not food, not life
  • I was running away
    • worried about home at work and about work at home
    • hate to say this but from my faith and God!
  • I didn’t trust anyone
    • not myself and not even my loved ones
    • no one else in this bad bad world
    • not the ground below my feet which shakes

Why Not Share the Truth?


I kept insisting that I had physical conditions – breathlessness, drowsiness, body pain… but hid the morbid feelings, the fear of dying and yet feeling a need for it. That I had a constant longing to hear the sound of  breathing of my loved ones.

It seems funny now but I didn’t see myself in the mirror at a store’s changing room. I pinched myself to check if I was alive. I was! It was just that the mirror was inclined at such an angle.

I didn’t believe it could happen to me. Perhaps, I feared I would speak myself into believing that I was depressed. Besides, what will they think?

“I am not going mad, okay! and what about the heavy breathing and this pain, is that in my head too?”


The Journey:


I saw many specialists and generalists. Several tests.

Anti-anxiety pills, Yoga, forced exercises followed.

One doctor even suggested that I install cameras at home. That’s what he was doing to be at peace,“Look, here’s my iPhone that shows real-time images of my house’s front and back gates and porch.”

One pointed out of his window and asked, “What do you see?

Then said, “You will see what you want to see. Either see the beauty or the dirt.

I came back and cursed him for the fee he charged for giving me that Stupid Gyan!

I can understand why I was skirting the issue. What I can’t understand is why the doctors were shying away. After all, they can talk about anything with little hesitation. If you’ve ever been to a urologist or gynecologist, then you know what I mean!


Thank God It’s Over!


I felt tired of it all. But Deepti didn’t ever give up.

She pushed me into seeing the nth doctor. This guy was different though. He said it on my face, “This is called Depression“.

A few tears rolled down Deepti’s cheeks.

I felt lighter.

Doctor added, “If there is one person who can help you out, then that is You. Medicines will help but only if you help yourself!.

When he said this, something changed in me. I guess I had accepted for the first time that it can happen to me. That I needed to own this for myself. It’s easy to get used to becoming dependent on others.

[bctt tweet=”Nobody can bring you peace but yourself!”]

I also got treated for Vertigo. I am still not sure if I was suffering from it or not.

It took a lot of time to become completely normal. 2014. Thank God you’re over!

I imagine my wife during this time. It should have felt like living with the dead or even worse: living with someone who’s hallucinating and perhaps has suicidal or murderous tendencies!

She didn’t feel any of this. She was concerned but completely normal. More patient that she has ever been. More confident of me than I was about myself. There was one question which she asked daily, “How are you feeling? On a scale of 1 to 10?”

My scores gradually moved up.


If This Sounds Familiar:


You are not alone. Face it. Own it.

Hang in there.

Have faith.

There is one person who can surely bring you back to life: You!

..just remember: This too shall pass!