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How moonlighting can affect your mental health and what you need to do to regain your own balance

9 Nov 2022

Do not go overboard with your moonlighting effort to the extent that it affects your physical health, pushes your psychological threshold and makes excessive demands on your performance on all fronts that can bring you to the brink of collapse. Therefore, recreation is very important, says holistic health and corporate life coach Dr Mickey Mehta.

Published in Indian Express

Written by Dr. Mickey Mehta

Moonlighting, for some, is fancy; but for most, it is the need of the hour. Life keeps beckoning. Needs keep growing. Social pressures and the materialism around always have high pressure demands on your life. This is especially true if you are the bread-earner of the family. There is a particular lifestyle we make ourselves used to with a lot of abundance around us. We seek it because we see it. We seek it because it constantly beckons us through advertisements in newspapers, magazines, radio, television and social media. Our society is filled with desires and aspirations and so wanting to do as well, if not better, than others is but natural. Right from the education of your children to holidays, owning cars and a swanky lifestyle, everything is a draw and a drain. Which is why most opt for moonlighting. And when moonlighting is done under absolute demands and pressures, it obviously will have its toll on your health.

It will also take a toll on your mind and emotions because these will be seldom free to fulfil themselves, recreate themselves and be contented. The mad chase of fitting everything into your clock will itself put a lot of physiological and biological pressures on your being. And when there is zero time for self-gain, self-development, self-recreation, happiness, joy, “Ananda”, bliss and when there is too much to perform and too much to fulfil in terms of deserving the salary you think you are worthy of, there will be a lot of mental and emotional stress. Not giving enough time to your family and friends will create further disappointment and stress around you. You not getting enough attention from family and friends will become a force multiplier of stress and disappointment within you.

Working for extra hours ultimately results in reduced productivity. It can cause detrimental health effects. Due to high levels of stress, there is an increase in negative hormones like cortisol, adrenaline and norepinephrine and these make you more prone to severe health issues such as neck, back, or chest discomfort, stroke, coronary heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and anxiety.

When all this pulling, pushing, chasing, living in a circle takes place, the whole idea is to move from the circle to the centre (your inner being). There lies the pause, reset, reorient, reorganise and re-orchestrate button. This core helps us regulate our behavioural patterns, take leadership of our lives and respond and act responsibly towards challenging situations.

When the brain functions begin to align, the racing mind slows down and our stress is released. Complexities give way to clarity. Confusion gives way to vision. Anxieties give way to confidence. Here are some effortless and quick ways to relax:

• Splash your face in running water for a while till everything cools down and your eyes are relaxed. Pat dry and then breathe.

• Eat fresh fruits as they heal you.

• Step out of the four walls, take a walk, a slow walk or even just a simple walk up and down the stairs. A good walk can do wonders for your mental well-being. It improves self-perception, self-esteem, mood and sleep quality. It reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue.

• Go somewhere out in the sun and be in the light, sit or stand and feel the breeze that is touching you (we call it wind bath), be aware.

• Lie down in Shavasana (corpse pose) also known as the posture of relief, for dissolving into gravity. Start inhaling and exhaling thereafter, start from your toes all the way up and imagine breathing out tensions. In five to seven minutes, you will feel as light as a feather. The breath relaxes as more and more physical and psychological tension is released. It helps cool the mind and reduce disharmony which could also result in relieving headaches, dissipating fatigue and warding off anxieties and finding better solutions.

• Lastly, go and seek the company of good people.

Do you think problems get solved with this? Certainly not. But the propensity to see the problem in a different light, from a different perspective and the potential to deal and cope with them increases, which results in self-confidence, self-conviction, self-reliance and a positive approach to life and skills.

Have aspirations and dreams. But be contented (SWIKRITI) and at peace (SHANTI) by being in the present. Meditate and cut the lust. Then one’s mind becomes so refined that at that point of refinement, you come to the point of SANKALP. So there begins the journey. SAMARPAN (Dedication) – SANTULAN (Balance) – SAMARTH (ability) – SAKSHAM (consistent) – SANKALP (pledge) – SHRISTI (universe) – SIDDHI (powers) – SAMRIDDHI (Prosperity). Happiness and serenity promote growth and self-improvement. Accepting your circumstances by being optimistic can keep you calm and joyful.

However, do not go overboard with your moonlighting efforts to the extent that it affects your physical health, pushes your psychological threshold and makes excessive demands on your performance on all fronts that can bring you to the brink of collapse. Therefore, recreation is very important in terms of singing, dancing, listening to music, laughter, jamming with friends and family and enjoying joyful foods like honey, litchi, mangoes, dates and figs. Have gratitude for everything you do have rather than focussing on what you lack most of the time.

Published in Indian Express

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