Covid and Stress: A three-angle view

Article by: Athira Premarajan, Research and Content Development Associate

Having a positive mentality helps. And that is what makes us enjoy the quarantine trolls and lock down day – xy cooking. It also helps us stay away from all the fear and worry the Pandemic had unleashed. Among the umpteen chapters that Covid has opened, the dangerously active one is stress. It was all a merry phase until the boredom leapt into loneliness and anxiety. And that leads to what can be called a pandemic syndrome.

One thing we all need to understand is that quarantine doesn’t mean something just for ‘you’. The entire globe has been put on hold for achieving a complete recovery. However, it is an understandable fact when someone loses their conscience when the situation goes topsy-turvy. And when you watch the events happening around, the tension tightens, making you vulnerable and unable to access a calm mind, even though you are familiar with the fact that you are not in it alone, but together with all the people around the world. This helplessness, fortunately, can be cured with some ‘social medications’.

The boss’ say:

There is never a better chance to unveil that withheld caring approach from the masquerading tough tone. Or sometimes you may be their ‘boss buddy’ already. And so, this is the perfect time to let your employees know that you are the leader who shows the way. The condition the pandemic has exposed has a predominant effect on the work one does. This overlapped by loneliness will affect their stability, in turn making them lose their mind. More screen time with less physical interaction makes them equivalent to machines. And to add on, the economic transformation that they think is going to affect them mostly. So, they think it is work their comfort bubble, which voluntarily makes them feel the need to work longer hours to hit the boredom. This not in long-term effect, but a very short span effect that can affect them adversely.

As a boss, your commitment during these testing times should be to extend your hand to relieve your employees from the social isolation paranoia. The only thing you may need to do is listen. You are dealing with an anxious person who is anticipating a doubtful career and future. Be the compassionate guide who assures only positivity. Ask them to not overwork and suggest spending time on their hobbies or likes. If they hear this from their boss’s side, there needs no other assurance for them to lean on to normalcy. On the other hand, it is also important to watch out for yourself. Engage with your counter-partners to gauge the different approaches or measures you could take. And, if you think there is a lot on your plate, it is advised to get professional help. Only prevention helps, not avoidance.

To the double-duty warriors:

You are doing a wonderful job. With schools closed and child-care facilities locked down, one can imagine the tiring weekdays of yours. Kudos! To each and every one of you.

Studies confirming psychological challenges to rise-up for working parents post Covid, it is imperative that you take certain measures to curb it before it intensifies. As the pressure on working parents is certainly huge when compared to other professionals, the first measure should be to compare your work with your own strength. It is easier to commit to extra hours when you see your counterpart doing it who has fewer responsibilities. But, take a look around before you commit to any new assignments. It is also a blessing that most of the organizations and managements understand and cope up with the pandemic struggles specially for the working parents – especially for working mothers. So, communicate your challenges, get the achievable target in hand, and commit yourself to complete that with all your potential.

Another challenging part of your routine is to handle kids. You cannot complain as they are also restless as us, as not being able to run around outside and meet their friends is an option now. So, deal with them politely and ensure to involve in game nights and movie nights at least twice a week. Activities and getting involved like how they like it will make you the star and make them happy as well.

The pro-view:

Studies have already confirmed the aftereffects of the pandemic on the mental stability of professionals. So, it becomes crucial to note the essential measures to avoid any adverse conditions that may come up – especially for working parents.

Some useful hacks:

Self-analyse your potential: Quarantine days have unleashed a ‘workaholic wave’, which was a voluntary action of many professionals to prove their potential to their managers. What one needs to know is to ensure the tasks in hand is manageable. Know that you are working the same amount, in fact, more than what you used to do while in office.

Family face-time – A must-do: Social distancing is to keep you away from the virus. A five-minute call with your family can help release a lot of stress that has been accumulated in. In the case of working parents, your children will build the special bond with their grandparents, given their limited access to interact with their class buddies and other routine games which they used to play with neighbours.

Consume healthily:  A major threat to any disease is nutritional food. If you are not aware, know that your body has a self-healing power. And the best treatment for both your physical and mental stress is to eat good homemade food.

So, that’s all folks – essential but simple hacks that could help you during this uncertain time. You are the essential part of your life and so ensure you take care of yourself. Stay healthy, stay safe.


Two Stories: Ambition and Choice

Article by: Athira Premarajan, Research and Content Development Associate

Women. A word that carries umpteen meanings and incredible potential. A self-made piece of art that refracts colourful strands in various forms as strength, knowledge, beauty, courage, and whatnot. Framing the capabilities of a woman together itself is a gargantuan task for the tremendousness of it. Rather than opting for a descriptive format, here are stories of two different women, whose lives took a U-turn towards the side of accomplishment.

An ideal figure is the one whom we look forward to. There is an ideal daughter, the ideal teacher, an ideal character, etc. Most of us are taught to learn from someone who has been successful or accomplished something in their lives. Most Indian parents usually asks to look at how a neighbour’s child performs: “Look how Rashi is studying. She always comes first in class and never goes out with those crazy friends of yours every evening. Why can’t you be like her?!” Just a typical parental response. It must not be new to anyone. Have any of these parents wondered what their daughter or son has that Rashi doesn’t? No. There is no proven data as such but mothers are often seen on the judgement bench and measuring her child in comparison with the neighbour’s child. Neha, who was a victim of this torment once lashed back at her mother. For nothing else but to establish her interest in Arts and not Science. Anyone who has gone through the trouble can predict the aftereffects of this. Yes, it was like the end of the world…!

It was a busy morning, and Rashi was never more exhausted. Her kid had lost his pencil box and husband his belt. After the tireless effort – searching and finding, Rashi finally made it to the kitchen for wrapping up the tiffin boxes for both her kid and husband…

One might wonder how sadistic the author is. One story idealizes Rashi and the next thing she is tirelessly working towards the happiness of her new family. We knew from the previous story Rashi’s potential and how the neighbours envied her talent in studying. Hard or not, this is sometimes the reality. Rashi was a brilliant student at school. She never gave a chance to upset her parents with any of the struggles concerning her studies. She battled through to become a software engineer. Soon after into the job, she was married to a banker and had to give up her hard-earned career which her parents wanted for her. Not long was her journey from a corporate building to her in-law’s. Strangely uncomforting, she sailed through anyway.

…Soon, they were out of the house for confronting their daily actions. Rashi, having done with all house chores, sat in front of her laptop eager to check her inbox. A former software engineer turned food vlogger; she was a hit online. She is finally happy with her choice of career and is looking forward to expanding her brand. Her loving husband kindled the path to this, and now she is content with her life and choices.

An ally is what some people miss. If you find yours, call yourself lucky, like Rashi. Or sometimes like in the case of Neha, you need to put your foot down on establishing and going forward with your ambitions. Here, Rashi’s ally was her partner.

…! Neha was grounded for the rest of the week. She was not allowed to go out and play with her friends and all her watercolours, oil pastels were confiscated. Her table, which used to be an artist’s palette turned out to look more like an apothecary table, only with books. But she was a tough little bird, which her mother realized late. She protested, sat hungry, fell sick until she got back her things.

A few years down the lane, she is now a professor at one of the renowned art institutions in the world.

Intention and perseverance work hand-in-hand. If you lack either one of it, you may not reach where you actually want to. Neha was intentional. She knew what she wanted from the beginning and pursued it later in her life. And in the case of Rashi, though a little later, she also landed in a position which she realized at a later point in life.

It is up to us to decide whether these stories are fictional. What we mostly wonder or get mesmerized is for something which we do not have in us. Fortunate or unfortunate, sometimes there are people who are ambitious for us more than ourselves. Without giving a second thought to any of our likes or dislikes, they decide for us what is best. Take the cases of Rashi and Neha. They tried hard to cope up with their parents’ will. Rashi succeeded and made them proud, and Neha rebelled.  As an individual, what we need to understand is that we are brought up in different circumstances, narrowed choices and unknown ambitions. But, when you realize that something is missing and you really want it, pursue it. And if you are a parent who could relate your actions with the instances in the stories, it’s high-time you sat down for a talk with your kids. Sometimes there will not be someone like Rashi’s husband to show one the path. So, who better than a parent or an immediate family member to support and acknowledge the strength of their dear ones and lead them to the path of success? And who better to stand for one’s dream than oneself? A well of potential is hiding beneath all of us – to be an ally, to achieve heights of success. A diamond was also just a stone once. Unveil your worth.


Stress: A tired mind’s misery

Article by: Archana Sathish, Marketing & Communication, Avtar

After a long tiring day at work, what is the usual thing that we all do? Some of us would like to watch TV, some would just crash on bed, and many of us won’t even feel like doing anything at all.

Have we ever thought why do we do all these things? Personal space and me time are enjoyed by everyone whenever they have time. Again, why? Well it’s all on our minds, isn’t it? We have so many thoughts running through our mind per second. We exert our emotions and frustration in various ways due to stress, work tension. Believe it or not, stress plays with our health and changes us by playing with the mind. This isn’t a good sign. We all crib and cry. “I’m stressed”, “I hate this job”, “Life is so tiring!”. But how many of us actually sit back and think about the solutions for the stress? How many of us have accepted the changes at work, and tried to adapt ourselves in such circumstances? Just close your eyes and go back for a second. What happened today? What made you feel so stressed? Was there any other way than being stressed to deal with the problem?

The biggest problem with human beings is that we can never be wholly satisfied. We always find some fault somewhere. Maybe at work your manager would have given you a hard day and you would have frowned upon the very same. You might blame it on your manager’s behavior or meeting deadlines. And in the end, you end up declaring that you are stressed. And this is why, we need to first understand what is the problem with us before we say “stress”.

Well, that’s not very hard. All we need to do is to stay calm and take a deep breath. Observe what is going on around you.

  • Think twice before you speak to anyone. If something bad is happening around you, think as to what you did first before you land up getting stressed!
  •  As acceptance plays a huge role for all human beings in every scenario, we have to learn to accept situations, adapt ourselves towards changes, learn the new changes with smiles on our faces.
  • Also, we can try out some home remedies to reduce the pressure. Try the magic spell of yoga and meditation or other relaxation techniques.
  • Spend time with your family and friends.
  • Stop procrastination.
  • Plan your day properly and have a good sleep as it’s very important for all of us to give the brain a good rest.
  • Have your food on time.
  • Avoid taking medicines (if not necessary).
  • If things are difficult at work at least make an effort to give it a chance. Try discussing the issues that are bothering you with your manager. May be a small talk over a coffee break will help in breaking the ice.

It’s common for stress to lurk into your workplace and personal life but with a positive attitude you can bring down the pressure and improve you overall work-life balance.


Keeping up with an extended family

Article by: Murugeswari Natarajan, Associate Manager-Diversity Hiring

Like every woman, my marital life had started with pleasant expectations and beautiful dreams. From day one, the relationship with my in-laws was working out well. Being a retired working woman herself, my MIL who I endearingly call, Amma understood my hardships as a professional. Having said that in the later years, I have encountered many conflicts with my mother-in-law, like everyone else. Over time, I have learned to endure. In due course, I realized that this is nothing but my insecurity. It’s part of all our lives. It is surprising that we easily understand the insecurities that others suffer from, but it takes time for us to understand our insecurity.

If we try to identify the insecurities and overcome those, many problems can be solved in advance.

1.      Creating a healthy network

2.      Working out more on your passion

I have learned to do both of these.

As I had mentioned earlier, I perceived the notion that my mother in law was insecure. In the following days, a series of bitter incidents caused me to lose my patience. I sunk into a grave of darkness. And the darkness gradually increased post my delivery. I believe it was ‘Postpartum Depression’. Immediately, a few people around me rose the question of us living as a nuclear family. Yet, I was determined to live with an extended family. Because, in the days that followed, my baby needed support.

During this turbulent phase, my husband offered me a piece of curt but practical advice. He said, “You need to know who you are as a person. Prioritize your aspirations. Building a relationship takes time and effort so don’t hold unnecessary grudges”. His advice pushed me into a new direction of life. I realized that my insecurities and conflicts have affected my overall intention. I decided to work on myself thoroughly. This was one of the main reasons for my early return to work post-maternity.

The solutions I devised for myself were to cleanse my network and spot the supportive relationship to be sustained for the long term. And, the second one was to work out more on my passion. So as planned, I started to keep a check on my network regularly. I have a belief that if we have positively strong supporters in our network, we will be cheerful and will automatically move forward. If you feel uneasy in your relationships or alarmed by people who possess a toxic mentality, get rid of them immediately.

In the personal front too, I adopted a few goals. The first step that I took was to split the duties among everyone in the house. As soon as I figured out what our priorities are, I sat down, set goals, and made plans to maintain the course. I had chalked out individual goals as well as couple goals in terms of our Health, Career, and Finance. So, we have 5 members in my home including my kid. We have 5 personal goals for each and a family goal. The goals we fixed for ourselves gave us success in subsequent years. I always design a family goal that depends on everyone’s responsibilities, it can be achieved only by every member’s co-operation. So we have made the plans intertwined and transparent. At present, the couple’s goal has changed into a family goal. For example, if a family faces a financial crisis, the entire family needs to be attentive in cooperating. In other words, we as a group have transformed our lifestyle slowly instead of trying to work hard to change everyone’s attitudes individually. This transformation has provided us with a lot of time to converse with my family, allows us to listen to each other, and above all, my little one is nurtured in love with her grandparents. Being a working mother I make all the decisions with confidence along with their experienced inputs. We are flattered when our kith & kin appreciate that we drive a family perfectly with ethics.

You can’t get what you want unless you envision it. Give yourself the space to dream what you want. Today’s women prefer to raise their children with grandparents rather than leaving them in kindergarten/day school (until and unless the situation suggests otherwise). This is a good sign. If you learn to accept the challenges, I assure you that your growth will be tremendous in the extended family. Let’s go back to the extended family culture to make our homes a haven.


Personal Branding- A brief outlook

What do big names like Zara, Starbucks, Adidas, McDonald’s, and the likes have in common?

These are iconic and global brand names tantalizing the minds and hearts of young and old for a very long time now. How did they do it? The answer is by building a unique brand identity.

Earlier the term “branding” was used only for business and products. But now with the advent of social media and the influencer concept, a brand can also mean an individual. Thus, the term Personal Branding came into light.

In simple words, Personal Branding is the process of creating a valued professional identity of yourself. It is a culmination of an individual’s skills, competencies, communication abilities, and all the other interesting elements of uniqueness that will help a person stand out.

Personal Branding is especially important for women in a world where glass ceilings are being shattered every day. Indra Nooyi, Oprah Winfrey, Ariana Huffington, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw are the names of a few leaders and influencers with admirable Personal Brands. And they are all women.

Why is Personal Branding important for women?

In a professional world of gender stereotypes and leadership gaps, the need to work on a woman’s branding is a topical issue.

Personal Branding has the power to push a woman from a sea of competition to a land of numerous possibilities. Having a Personal Brand will help a woman distinguish herself from her competitors and reflect a stand out personality of both her resume and personal self. Let’s take a look at the importance and tangible benefits of Personal Branding for women:

  • Creating job and business opportunities
  • Accelerating her career growth
  • Marketing to industry leaders, clients, and influencers
  • Establishing a favorable public image
  • Identifying her as a subject matter expert (SME)
  • Building a network of connections

Developing a Personal Brand is a road map of taking your in-built skills and talents from relative obscurity to visible level of expertise. A few tips to just get you started on how to build a powerful Personal Brand:

  • Be your authentic self
  • Build your natural talent and strengths
  • Use social media networks such as LinkedIn, Twitter

This was just a bird’s eye view on the concept of Personal Branding. Our much sought-after experts at Avtar are conducting a webinar on Personal Branding, it’s importance, strategies to develop, and much more detailed guidance on this topic. Women willing to develop a robust personal brand can look forward to some life-changing takeaways from this session.

Register now: https://lnkd.in/gRwKpy9