June 6, 2023

Joy Christin Johnson says it’s important to pay attention to emotional first aid kit, this Pandemic

Joy Christin Johnson is a child psychologist, mental health professional and has been taking to social media through the pandemic with her suggestions and quotes. She also conducts workshops and sessions for parents  and kids, spreads positivity and awareness on invisible illnesses hoping to break the stigma around mental health, We at Mums and Stories reached out to her and she shares how parents and kids can sail through the pandemic in a better approach.

Talking about her childhood memories, Joy shares with Mums and Stories, “I spent most of my childhood in Coimbatore and my favourite childhood memory is visiting to bookstores and second hand bookstores and collecting Tinkle and Archie’s. I have a huge collection of these and I still do read and collect them whenever I come across and this is also now passed on to my son but something that I cherish the most and I make sure I practice till today is family time .

My family had the habit each day to sit together, talk about the day and end it with family prayer. I never had birthday parties or fancy presents but I always had my family presence and whenever celebration time it was the whole family was involved and busy with sweet preparations, handmade decors and my sisters and myself getting to wear matching dresses stitched by mom. I have many favourite incidents but in a nutshell if I need to talk about my childhood memories most of my childhood memories are not just in my mind that keep flashing on and off but it’s in those books, photos , certain food,  smell, game , behaviour and place.

I always loved the subject psychology when I was in high school and I knew this is the line I need to pursue and I just bought one application form and believed I will get admission and I also did.  It was those initial years I also learnt about me and my perception towards life changed. I was blessed with wonderful set of doctors to guide me and when the time came which line I need to pursue my guide my teacher Dr Ellagovan told me listen to your heart you know better about you and that’s when I decided I do child psychology and till  today I keep myself updated in my field.

Joy Santhosh

Psychology is dealing with the mind and organ brain and this needs professionalism. I’m in this profession close to 11 years and I handle clients of different age groups along with their parents. Each case is new case and  there is a takeaway and lesson for me too.”

Talking about mental health and what parents need to keep in mind, Joy shares, “The mental health of parents and children is connected in multiple ways. So, the 3 key points during lockdown parents need to look into:

1. Take care of your mental health- have regular mental health check-in. Prioritize self-care. Focus on the positives and things you can control and if you feel overwhelmed break tasks into small and always keep in mind it’s okay to slow down.

2. Be kind. Be patient and give yourself lots of grace.

3. Build support network and seek help when needed.

She further elaborates on tips  for kids-

– It’s okay to ask/seek for help

–  Break tasks and set small manageable goals

–  Communicate with your parents and let your  parents know if you’re feeling anxious or stressed

– Be present by being mindful and involve in active participation

– Prioritize your mental health and take frequent breaks

– Focus what you can control

– Get 10 hours of good sleep and nourish your body with loads of water and balanced diet.

Talking about the Covid fear, perception and how people are dealing with it, Joy shares, “There’s a relationship between mental, physical and emotional and when one goes to toss everything goes off balance, you need to understand that this virus in in form of fear has impacted one’s mental health and increased physical ailments and impacting one’s heart, lungs, and other organs due to stress, fear and anxiety.

Here are a few ideas to add in the emotional aid kit and feel free to add anything that positively contributes to your child’s mental health. These could be Positive self-affirmation cards, Coloring books and tools, Meditation and music or instrumental CD’s, Bubbles to blow, Play dough, Albums with favourite people, memories and places, Soft plush toys, scented candles, crossword puzzles,  phone number of friends who listen to you to name a few.

In addition few tips to cope stress during this period:

1. Engage in physical activity

2. Practice mindfulness, deep breathing

3. Take a hobby

4. Cuddle pet

Most of us have in our homes a first aid kit – a kit containing, medicines, plasters, badges, antiseptic so on. But how many of us have thought about creating an emotional first aid kit?

Emotions can be very overwhelming and it is important to find what works personally and Putting ideas all together in a “first aid kit” helps us to see that we have options and that we have a choice with how we can manage our emotions.”

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