St Agnes College (Autonomous), Mangaluru and Mangala Alumni Association (MAA)®, Mangalagangotri organized a webinar for college faculty members entitled “Navigating through Stress and Anxiety during the Pandemic” on 28 May 2020. The purpose of this webinar was to give the teaching fraternity a sense of direction to navigate through these hard times owing to the pandemic Covid-19.
The webinar was digitally inaugurated by the Hon’ble Vice Chancellor of Mangalore University Prof. P.S. Yadapadithaya. Dr Rameela Shekhar, Mental Health Professional, Manashanthi Counselling, Research and training centre was the resource person of the webinar.
In the inaugural address Professor Yadapadithaya stated that the unprecedented covid-19 pandemic crisis is going to be there with us for a quite long time, and cannot be avoided. He said, instead of panicking and getting anxious, it is better to navigate through this situation with a positive bent of mind. He stated that planned decisions with focussed actions will bring desirable results. Changing ourselves is nothing but adapting to changes with agility. Though digital learning cannot replace the classroom teaching, teachers can make their vocation impressive by collaborating e-learning, c-learning (classroom learning) and e-learning (experiential learning) in an equal proportion. He advised the participants to make use of the free time to learn the technology of virtual teaching and evaluation methods.
He suggested that teachers utilise their leisure time to accomplish the unfulfilled childhood desires, write research papers, adopt a regular routine of keeping oneself physically and mentally fit.
Dr.Rameela Shekhar started her session sharing the research findings of the online survey conducted by her prior to the webinar. She narrated examples of various types of stress and anxiety experienced by the teachers during the lockdown period. She said that, people all over the globe are undergoing mental health issues along with covid-19 pandemic. Stress is a physiological and psychological response to a situation when the pressure of work is more than the resources available (S= P>R). The causes of stress are lot of negative thinking, high expectations, ‘should’ and ‘must be done’ approach, perfectionist and workaholic attitude of people etc. During lockdown period most of the teachers started to feel an emotional vacuum and turmoil. Maintaining the social image of a teacher along with job security and adapting themselves to the challenges of teaching through digital mode are worrisome issues. Especially, most of the women employees are finding ‘work from home’ more strenuous and miserable. Many teachers are finding it difficult to cope with these physical, psychological and economic challenges and feel that navigating through these changes is going beyond their coping capacity. Psycho-social changes are affecting the quality of work both domestic and professional.
Dr Rameela suggested that navigation with a right schedule of work makes an individual to cope with the situation and improves the quality of productive life. Setting aside time for personal and professional commitments, maintaining boundaries between work and family, reinventing oneself with a new hobby, replacing fear with faith, practicing positive thinking, being mindful of thoughts and feelings of self and others, developing a spiritual self, virtual socialising, spending quality time with family members, good rapport with neighbours, venting out gut feelings, exchanging ideas, eating healthy food, good sleep, regular exercise, etc would help to defeat stress and anxiety during the pandemic. Above all, keeping space for ‘ME time’ in the daily routine is very essential to find inner solace. She pointed out that seeking help from a mental health professional during stress and anxiety is not a weakness but a strength to overcome the problem. Dr Rameela answered the queries raised by the participants before concluding her session.
About 680 participants have registered for the webinar from various colleges and universities from India and abroad. The webinar was conducted through Google meet platform. Video live streaming was enabled on St Agnes YouTube Channel due to overwhelming response from participants. E Certificates of participation were issued to those who answered MCQ’s in the feedback form successfully.
Sr Dr Venissa A.C. Principal of the College welcomed the invitees and participants. Sri Dinesh Kumar Alva, President of Mangala Alumni Association conveyed his best wishes. Dr Devi Prabha Alva, Associate Professor of Commerce and the Convenor of the Webinar compered the program.
Mrs. Sabina DSouza, HOD of BBA and Organising Secretary of the webinar proposed vote of thanks.
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