Dr Krishnan Swaminathan, consultant endocrinologist, says their jobs are quite demanding. He adds, “Even at the peak of the pandemic, we were at work and there was a huge risk of exposing our families to COVID-19. The outcome of our patients’ health also affected us personally. If someone lost the battle to the virus, it would take a toll on us.” But he is quick to note that as frontline warriors, they learnt to handle the pressure and often seek refuge in a hobby to unwind. From singing and practising silambam to doing digital art and going on a trek, doctors have their own methods to snap out of the pandemic stress. On National Doctors’ Day, they tell us their coping mechanisms and how their creative pursuits help them…
Music and art for mental health
Pulmonologist Dr Roshan Santosham is also a musician, who made sure he jammed with his band even during the pandemic. “Due to my erratic work hours, I’m usually the last one to be at the practice sessions, but my friends are very understanding,” he says, “I first tried meditation and playing the piano, but that didn’t do the trick for me. So, I went back to singing. I also made a conscious effort to distract myself from thoughts about work by listening to music and
sometimes, to my own renditions, while driving to work.”
Dr Muruganandham K, HOD and Senior Consultant, Urology, took to storytelling and reading Tamil literature. “Tamil classical literature has always piqued my interest. I wake up at 4.30am and read for about 1.5-2 hours. This helps me calm down. I even indulge in conversations with patients about books I read. In fact, for partial anaesthesia surgeries, I narrate some of the stories I read and that that helps patients relax,” he says.
For Dr Vandana Narayanan, prosthodontist and implantologist, trekking is a go-to tool for relaxation! “Every year, I take off to the hills, either alone or with friends. That acts as a great stress-buster and I look forward to it every year,” she says.
Senior consultant and GI surgeon, Dr Magnus Jayaraj Mansard’s interest in digital art grew after he started doing medical drawings. “It is a meditative process,” he smiles, adding, “I took up online classes with my son and both of us are into digital art now. In fact, I picked this up during the pandemic. After a long day, I sit in a corner to create art.” Rashmi, too, is into art. “I love pencil sketching. I draw portraits of gods and goddesses. As art requires attention, I do it at late nights or early mornings.”
Squeezing in time for fitness
Dr Muruganandham K practices silambam to keep himself fit. “I took up silambam two-and-a-half-years ago. I do three classes every week and it’s perfect to relax my mind and body. Since my son is also learning silambam, it works as a bonding tool for me as a parent.” And for Roshan, it is football. “I usually catch up with my friends over a game of football to blow off some steam. But during the lockdown, I couldn’t do that either; so I did some walking around my house,” he laughs.
Walking his dogs every day keeps Krishnan active. “I take my three dogs out on a walk every morning and evening. No matter how late I reach home, they expect me to do that. In general, my day begins at 3.30am and I get most of my important work done during the first few hours,” he says.