This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Kanika Saxena. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

The Pandemic Started Affecting My Mental Health, Here’s How I Turned Things Around

More from Kanika Saxena

The pandemic has caused a pandemonium across the globe, taking lives, destroying economies, and taking a toll on the mental health of a lot of people. It would not be out of place to say that the pandemic has affected the mental health of a vast majority globally.

What started as anxiety and fear of the unknown disease, then evolved to become a cause for mental agony in many cases.

Image for representational purposes only.

Initially, none of us had an idea of what the virus was all about, but we knew it was something terrible, and we needed to take a lot of precautions. We were scared and took all the precautions, sanitizing, social distancing, and wearing masks. We were diligently following everything, including following the norms of the lockdowns imposed.

But while adhering to all these, there was a hope that it was only for a few days, and normalcy would return soon! Unfortunately, as time passed, we realized that the coronavirus was not going anywhere. It became impossible to see any light at the end of a never-ending tunnel! The global economic collapse affected many of us on a personal level as well with people losing jobs, businesses facing losses, etc. etc.

Yes! It is not a pleasant world to live in!

It is also difficult to stay positive and hopeful for a better tomorrow. As much as we might try to perk up our spirits, we may tend to feel “is it going to make any difference to the reality around us?”

These were my feelings about the pandemic too! Initially, I was badly affected mentally because of the information being shared on news channels about the pandemic. The staggering figures of the number of infected people and the number of deaths in countries with the best of healthcare facilities were scary, to say the least!

I began to think that if developed countries could not manage the pandemic, what would we do in India, with such a vast population, and below-average healthcare infrastructure?

I felt that most of us would die! And I was worried sick thinking that I did not want to see any of my loved ones die before me. I almost started praying that I die before anyone I love suffers. I was anxious, upset, and even started losing sleep! I was in a low state, somehow managing my daily chores.

It was during this time that I happened to watch some of the talks of spiritual gurus on YouTube. It was interesting to listen to them. It was these talks, coupled with the positive figures of mortality rate and the recovery rate in India that helped me come out of my mental distress.

When I heard that fear was one of the most negative emotions that could make us more vulnerable to the virus and that one needed to face the pandemic with positivity to boost immunity, it changed my entire perspective. I made a conscious effort to change my attitude. I started by minimizing watching/reading news on the COVID-19 infection. This took off a lot of stress.

I work as a freelance content writer. The volume of work was affected badly because some of my international clients were not in a position to give me work. Initially, I did not mind it because I was not in the mental state to work. Besides, I was finding it difficult to cope with the household chores, which I had to do because the maid was not coming.

Anyway, after some time, when I was able to manage my work and time, I wanted to write, but there was no work! This was depressing! Then one day, as I was sitting and thinking of what I could do to increase my clientele, I remembered my dream of becoming an author—the dream that had got buried somewhere!

I thought, why not do it now? So I started working on my first book “A Lockdown Story”, which was a narration of my lockdown experience in India. Writing the book was a fulfilling experience.  Soon, all my fears and worries about the coronavirus took a backseat as I expressed myself freely in my book.

While writing the book, I realized that the lockdown was not all negative, but had brought forth so many positive aspects to my life also. I felt happy. It was while writing the book that I realized that life is too short to be wasted on worrying and getting scared. I decided to take control of my emotions and look at the brighter side of things.

I not only wrote my book but also edited and published it. It was a great learning experience. Writing the book was just the beginning! My thought process soon transformed, and I realized that true joy was internal and did not depend on external things.

It was during the lockdown that my eyes opened to a lot of truths about life and myself. I began the most exciting journey of my life: the journey of inner transformation!

No doubt the pandemic is a terrible situation outside, but it is how we cope with it that makes all the difference!

You must be to comment.

More from Kanika Saxena

Similar Posts

By Soumya Sinha

By Sumit

By Ali Qalandar

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.

We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below