“Hey. Dr. Bhatia here. I hope wherever you are watching this, you’re safe and keeping healthy. We’ve been posting a lot of information on our Instagram and our website regarding tips and strategies to manage your mental health during this COVID pandemic. As we try to isolate and stay home to flatten the curve, one of the things that I want to talk about today was during this process of isolation I know it’s easy to feel down and struggle. That’s what we’ve been talking about, ways to elevate our mood, but I think part of that process of being in isolation and being, for lack of better term, alone right now is an opportunity, a silver lining, which is to say, “can I find time to reflect?”
This process of isolation, for example, with myself, has given me a lot of time to reflect about how I’ve been living my life to this point. A lot of us are longing and grieving the loss of a life we used to have and are waiting impatiently and hoping that we can go back to a normal life again, but I think it begs the question for us to think about how I’ve been living to this point and how I want to live when I come out of this. What I’ve noticed is we get so caught up in doing, this idea of achievement and success. We get caught up in the rat race, so to speak. A lot of it is based on necessity. A lot of is based on pressures, financially or otherwise, but we kind of live this life without really reflecting, being caught up in autopilot.
I think what this process is teaching me, and it’s something we talk about a lot in therapy, is the idea of slowing down. I think this is forcing us to slow down. During that process of slowing down, I’m learning about: what are my motivations for wanting to do certain things? Why am I acting the way I do? Why do I choose to be in this kind of relationship? Why do I work in this environment that I worked in? What’s the motivation? What’s the desire? A lot of times it’s based on anxieties, and pressures, and shoulds, and coulds, and woulds versus coming from a place of being authentic and genuine, that this relationship, this job, this pursuit, this action gives me meaning. It gives me purpose. It enhances me.
I think this process of being in isolation has taught me, and when I’m talking to patients, that a lot of that is just noise. The competitiveness, the comparison, this kind of need to be perfect, all the self-critical narratives really, in this moment, don’t matter. They don’t have that power over us. I
I think that as we go through this process, I want to point out that it’s important to take this chance to reflect. I’m encouraging everybody out there to really turn inwards with courage, with compassion, and with curiosity. How do I find meaning and purpose during this process so that when I come out of it, I can put those into further action and make that part of my daily life?