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Mumbaikars on coping with 'family burnout'

Updated on: 02 August,2021 09:44 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Anindita Paul | theguide@mid-day.com

The extended time that the pandemic has given us with our loved ones can prove to be stifling. Here’s how you can cope with ‘family burnout’

Mumbaikars on coping with 'family burnout'

Ritu Gorai

The early days of the lockdown last year were welcomed as a refreshing change by many, who viewed this as a much-needed opportunity to spend quality time at home with their loved ones. However, as time has worn on, that enthusiasm has given way to frustration and feelings of suffocation. “Several households are beginning to experience a family burnout or togetherness fatigue, which can strain relationships. This condition is typified by the three Es of Emotional and physical exhaustion, Executive dysfunction (or an inability to fulfil basic tasks) and Easy annoyance,” explains counselling psychologist Namrata Jain. She adds that parents, especially, have struggled to cope with the added strain of online schooling and around-the-clock childcare. Single working parents have also been deprived of time for self-care. “Months of quarantining have proved stressful even for romantic relationships. Many of my clients are either taking or planning solo vacations or staycations within the city. Meditation seminars are also popular among those seeking solace in solitude,” she adds.


Namrata Jain, Dr Sagar Mundada
Namrata Jain, Dr Sagar Mundada


Less we, more me


The human mind does not respond well to monotony, says Dr Sagar Mundada, a psychiatrist at Health Spring. “No matter how important the work you are doing is, too much of the same thing can negatively affect your mental wellbeing. Spending time by yourself, especially in locations that are close to nature, can spark creativity, leave you energised, and help you to relax. I’ve found that those who took off for a sabbatical have reported an increase in their productivity and an improvement in the quality of their relationship with their families,” he adds. Even if you can’t take off on a vacation, he emphasises the importance of setting aside some physical space and time in the day to focus solely on yourself. “Build this into your daily routine for at least a week as a non-negotiable and you will find that your family too becomes more respectful and comfortable with the concept,” he says.  

Mid-day readers who took the step to focus on themselves share their experience. 

I’ve rediscovered my resilience
Ritu Gorai, 38, entrepreneur

As a single parent, the lockdown was especially difficult for me. Having never travelled alone, the thought didn’t even occur to me until an unlikely sequence of events saw me alone at home, with my daughter Sara at my parents’ place. Knowing that I would never have this time to myself, I made a 10-day trip to Hampi, Karnataka, by myself. It was transformational. Dealing with the unknown and learning to adapt every step of the way forced me to tap into my inner reserves of resourcefulness and resilience. I came back much stronger, calmer and reinvigorated.

We all need a change of scene 
Gargi Guha, 45, PR professional