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No doubt this time is challenging for everyone not just physically but in many other aspects. Stress is all-pervasive these days when media, social media and society all are flooded with news and caveats about coronavirus. Though there are good things happening too but they get subdued under the threat of virus and distress due to lockdown. People already suffering from OCD and depression must be encountering a different set of problems. 

Chat on the Mat with renowned experts, psychiatrist and founder of Healing Mind, Dr. Supriya Agarwal, MD, MRC Psych (U.K.) & renowned technical yoga expert, Founder of ACT Yoga, Dr. N Ganesh Rao will guide you to come out of this phase calm and empowered:


hellomyyoga: How this phase can trigger mental issues like OCD, depression, and anxiety?

Dr. Supriya: Anxiety disorders like OCD, Panic, Phobias have their origin in environmental stressors. It is too early to say the direct effect on the brain of this new strain of COVID virus. However, undoubtedly, there will be an explosion of mental health disorders. The fear itself, worry, rumination, social isolation, change in the daily structure, difficulty in reaching out to the mental health experts, lack of availability of medications are few of the factors which will take a toll on mental health. 

Dr. Ganesh: Mental Afflictions due to the Pandemic

  • Fighting an invisible enemy → dreadful
  • Fear about health and life (for ourselves and our near and dear ones) → Doubt / Suspicion → Undercurrent of Anxiety (Abhinivesha in yoga is a Klesha meaning clinging to life or fear of death).
  • Uncertainties about future → Anxiety
  • Don’t know how to spend time → Ennui or boredom → Meaninglessness → loss of interest in life
  • Old paradigms not valid – re-orientation to change and new situation → stressful
  • Spending time indoors → Claustrophobic (lack of personal space; getting on each other’s nerves)
  • Money taking a back seat is not bearable for the materialistic man.

hellomyyoga: How can one stay balanced during this stressful phase?
Dr. Supriya: Mind and body are not two separate things, though they seem to be different. One can make a few lifestyle interventions to remain free from stress

  1. Do gather the right information from the right sources about this pandemic. For eg WHO has now started a WhatsApp group to share correct information and the right support.
  2. Don’t get trapped into repeated checking and confirmation of the information from self- proclaimed medics, WhatsApp member, or forwards which are simply rumors.
  3. Do take the right steps as suggested by the governments and medical organizations about washing hands, hygiene, social isolation, and quarantine.
  4. Do take breaks from continuous ongoing discussions on this topic.
  5. Do practice breathing exercises, meditation, follow or initiate exercise schedule, read a book, play games in 90’s styles when there was no social media or virtual world.
  6. Don’t get tangled into continuous negative outpouring towards people, neighbors, governments, etc. Remember negativity brews negativity.
  7. Don’t overcompensate fear and pretend you are indestructible by breaking the norms laid down by authorities.
  8. Don’t behave as if you are on a holiday, inviting friends, or meeting friends at their places, or travel or line up in departmental stores.
  9. Don’t panic into buying unnecessary items.
  10. Do reshuffle a new routine suited for current circumstances and take out time for self-isolation and refection. You never know what you may discover about yourself which you hadn’t for long time because you had no time.
Dr. Ganesh:
  • Get involved in some activity → Increase your Sadhana and Swadhyaya
  • Take all care and precautions but have faith (Shraddha) above it.
  • Be positive and optimistic (this too shall pass!)
  • Help others who are in need (Seva and Dana) → be in touch over phone with others

hellomyyoga: What precautions are suggested for people with depression and anxiety?

Dr. Supriya: 

  1. Gather information from reliable and authentic sources
  2. Don’t get trapped into repeated checking and confirmation of the information from self- proclaimed medics, WhatsApp member, or forwards which are simply rumors.
  3. Do take the right steps as suggested by the governments and medical organizations about washing hands, hygiene, social isolation, and quarantine.
  4. Do take breaks from continuous ongoing discussions on this topic.
  5. Don’t get sucked into social media and its imaginary panicky world. Last, but not the least, think, maybe this forced isolation is an opportunity to revisit yourself, to connect with family, to spend more time with children, or to do things which you would not have time to do otherwise.
  6. Continue to liaise with experts, remain compliant on medications.
Dr. Ganesh: 
  • Do not stay or spend time alone
  • Do not keep the mind un-engaged for longer periods of time
  • Do not do relaxation or meditative practices
  • Do physical practices (Suryanamaskar) / do Mantra chanting.
  • Sweat out

hellomyyoga: How family plays an important role in this time?

Dr. Supriya: As a mental health expert I would suggest families look for positive activities to do together, playing board games, cooking together. ‘We’ time will be important to beat the loneliness but at the same time, ‘I’ time will remain equally important. For families which are not in sync, it will be a challenge. However, with the right balance, many altercations might be averted. Spending time with senior members of the family might prove effective. 

Dr. Ganesh: 

  • Environment of Love and affection takes away / reduces the fear 
  • Satsang; group activity; purposeful quality time
  • Synergy

hellomyyoga: What suggestions you have for people all alone in lockdown?

Dr. Supriya:

  1. Do make lists of things you want to buy, things that you want to do or want to achieve in this self-isolating time.
  2. Do practice breathing exercises, meditation, follow or initiate exercise schedule, read a book, play games in 90’s styles when there was no social media or virtual world.
  3. Do reshuffle a new routine suited for current circumstances. You never know what you may discover about yourself which you hadn’t for a long time because you had no time.
Dr. Ganesh: 
  • Blessing in disguise if aloneness can be seen as an opportunity for Solitude (Ekant) & Meditation (Dhyana)
  • Increase your Sadhana
  • Read / Study / Contemplate / Write down your thoughts (Svadhya)
  • Make best possible use of time
  • Realize the value of human beings → Maturity