Student Mental Health during the Pandemic – PITSTOP 8: Interview With Pushpendra

Please meet Pushpendra – A psychologist, Life Coach and NLP Practitioner.

1. Please brief a little about yourself.

I have worn many hats and being a psychologist is quite frankly one of my favorites; yes I do have my share of stories just like anyone with a mind would have, more or less. 

I have worked with a Mental Health centre here in Mumbai and have spoken to thousands of people from across the world; have had quite a rollercoaster journey understanding and knowing that life is full of surprises. 

After 3 and a half years of working at a mental health centre; I have resigned from the centre. Now I am practicing independently as a psychologist, Life coach, and NLP Practitioner. 

New to these 3 skillsets; additionally learning more on CBT, Mindfulness and Somatic therapy. I am constantly learning and applying what I have been taught and what I have experienced. 

Previously I have contributed as a copywriter, feature writer, social media strategist, and have founded India’s first crowdsourced library in October 2013 which had a massive media coverage and Limca book of India just to name a few. To help people who feel lonely and stressed by offering free books. Delivering personally.

Currently practicing independently and helping others in their endeavors including sports companies such as SportsSeed and Festival of hope foundation.

I can be reached on +917400408070 on call and WhatsApp +919819181219.

2. How do you think the pandemic has affected the students?

What I have come to realize after speaking to some students is that they are either happy for not being in the schools and colleges because studying is kind of a challenging atmosphere hence avoidance makes them feel happy and not as stressed.

On the contrary; a set of students are anxious about missing college and schools because no class means no education, friends, or movies. Although online studying is at its peak; students are often stressed out by the number of hours that are being spent online studying. 

Younger students studying in 5th grades have reached out to teachers and have asked if they can reduce the number of online studies’ hours because of the the attention span of students and eyes getting affected while reading and writing online at an extended time. 

Homeschooling is really welcomed change by students as they’re learning how to explore a gamut of interests such as DIY, cooking, designing apps, and skills that are not often explored in the syllabus.

3. What do you think are the coping techniques that children can face during the lockdown?

An area of interest will determine whether a particular coping mechanism is likely to be effective. Coping techniques are subjective. Frankly, because let us say; if Crocin works for me; it may not work for someone else who is conditioned by its usual effects.

E.g. Reading: there’s a massive emphasis on knowledge and understanding however this done moderately is likely to be effective. 

E.g. Art and Craft: creating boosts confidence in multiple ways. Children who have not got sufficient chances to explore art and craft; will have a way to channelize their creativity and applying their skills; which again is likely to release stress under the lockdown. 

E.g. Music, public speaking and stage fright: having family as an audience is one of the most exciting ways how children can build their confidence and make themselves aware of their skills and personality. This is one of the most common activities that children are opting on a Zoom or just within their own homes. 

4. What do you think are the advantages of lockdown?

I’ll give you top ones:

  1. Family bonding 
  2. Enhanced self-discipline 
  3. Workout for lazy ones due to fear of putting on extra pounds 
  4. Focus on mental wellbeing by doing meditation and listening to calming music 
  5. Learning new skills online because there hundreds of free course and subsidized programs that are usually extremely expensive 
  6. Helping to know neighbors to whom, many usually previously either didn’t have time or will to know better.
  7. Lockdown means staying safe from COVID 19, in other words being alive itself is a huge advantage I think. 
  8. Self-discovery: Lots of us are rediscovering not just ourselves but the world around us with a fresh or rather a compassionate approach.
  9. Board games and other indoor engaging activities which usually were often overshadowed by either busy lives or internet users.
  10. Reading favourite books, podcasts, and watching your favorite streaming shows and movies.

5. What do you think are the disadvantages of lockdown?

  1. Boredom led stress
  2. Decreased human touch
  3. Monotonous lifestyle 
  4. Fear of losing a dear one
  5. Fear of being affected by virus
  6. Crisis of essential items
  7. Bad physical health 
  8. Limitations of grooming 
  9. Overdose of virtual realityOverwhelms in relationships

6. How do you think children should approach the post-lockdown world?

  1. Invest in human relationships 
  2. Quality over temporary stimulus 
  3. Practicing mindfulness 
  4. Work on self-growth
  5. Accept indifference 
  6. Acknowledge people who are different from you
  7. No problem is bigger than what it seems. Believe that you have the ability to manage challenges. Life only gives you what you are capable of handling.
  8. Physical greeting is likely to be replaced by a smile, waves of ‘hello’ and claps for high fives.

7. What is the new normal? How should places of education deal with the all-round development of the student? 

Normal is what one defines as normal. Ones normal might be an absolute highest level of abnormalities. Having said that; being in a classroom bench with your classmates may not be possible for a foreseeable future.  Public transport experiences will seem eerie and fearful. Hugging your dear ones will be missed and a health check-up will spike due to constant worries. Cinema experience might be a thing of the past for a while.

8. How education ambience is likely to become different while coping with post-pandemic times?

  1. Social distance: student per bench
  2. Sanitizing classes frequently 
  3. No assembly 
  4. Virtual announcements
  5. Alternative classes, a mix of 3 days of virtual school, and 2 days in-person scheduling will help. 
  6. School bus discipline 
  7. Mandatory homemade food 
  8. Sanitiser in all classes 
  9. Avoid contact sports such a football, Cricket and Badminton 
  10. No gatherings of any kind
  11. Mandatory minimum counselling to ensure children, teachers, parents and support staffs 

That brings me to the end of my journey of interviews and encounters with various individuals and it was indeed a rewarding experience. Lockdown is something we can deal with, after all. Keep going and continue to be amazing. – Priyadarshini Sivakumar

1 thought on “Student Mental Health during the Pandemic – PITSTOP 8: Interview With Pushpendra”

  1. Vaishali Vashodia

    There are many reasons to show appreciation to you Pushpendra Sir. These are your kind hearted words for all. You are inspiring and delightful, I am so proud of you for presenting the best interview. You have no idea how happy I am! I am so blessed to have you. Thank you. God bless you.

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