Managing work from home stress: How to not make lentil soup in 10 minutes or less!

Just when I’m about to stir turmeric in the lentil soup, out pops another Teams’ notification – meet in 10 mins.

Anxiety hits me. What did I miss? The consequences? I pour more than the required amount of turmeric. My soup looks vibrant. But the near future looks bleak.

6 mins to call, I lament the lack of cumin in seasoning. Stirring the soup occasionally, I contemplate missing inputs in my work. I feel the tingling, my nerves ratcheting. I frantically look for the salt canister. Only a teaspoon left. I realize that my inventory management needs upgrading. I raid the rack. I am relieved to see that I have enough salt to get us through this pseudo-apocalypse.

3 mins to call, my biological mother calls.

“I am making lentil soup, maa.”

“Did you follow the steps I sent last evening?”

“I missed adding salt in the beginning.”

My mom reiterates that it’s better to add a little salt at the start to help flavor the pulses and then adjust the seasoning at the end, or I may end up with something unpalatably saline.

It is near impossible to emulate your mother’s cooking method and the delicate result it brings, isn’t it? 

I hang up to attend to business affairs.

2 mins to call, OCD hits me. There is a smudge of crushed chilies on the burner. What should I do? Attend to my emotional vulnerabilities or comply with my ‘Yes Boss’ response to nonroutine calls? Cleaning comes first.

I lower the burner mode as I wait for unctuous silkiness in my soup.

The new normal seems busier. Managing work and home is stressful. Add to that a barrage of meetings, deadline-sensitive tasks, updates on WIPs, and rigid reviews. Our minds will take some time to adapt. Our mental health is certainly not immune to clinical anxieties.

Into the call, “Can we connect at 3:30 pm to review the doc?” It was a zoom call announcing a review call. Perfect.

I start with the final step — “Indian Tadka.” I mix spices, fry in oil until sizzling and aromatic, and then fold through the creamy pulses just before serving.

P.S.

1. Do companies acknowledge the mental health issues of their employees?

2. I know it’s an obscure way of putting forth a lentil soup recipe.