Could a well-known psychiatrist have the time to learn a new language every year while working for more than 10 hours a day? For someone with a packed schedule like Dr Harish Shetty who examines more than 40 patients a day, making time for oneself could be a problem, but he still manages to learns a new language every year, along with reading and writing blogs, giving lectures, traveling, exercising daily and most importantly, spending time with his family.
Every year, since the past nine years, Dr Harish Shetty has been learning one new Indian language. “Tamil, Gujarati, Kannada, Hindi, English, Marathi, Konkani and Tulu are the languages I know so far. I will start learning Bengali, Marwari and Malayalam very soon,” he added, “the idea is to be able to connect to as much number of people I can. I and my mother have been huge linguists. Literature is very interesting.”
This energetic doctor starts his day by walking at Juhu beach or gyming, “I walk for 7kms at the Juhu beach or exercise at the gym. Exercises nourish your body and mind. I think this is what keeps me mentally fit,” said Dr Shetty. His exercise is followed by breakfast and then he heads to work. Work that begins at 9:00am in the morning which generally extends up to 1:00 pm.
Taking a nap for half an hour and an hour of reading books are included in his daily routine. “I love reading and writing. In fact, at times, I also recommend different books to my patients to cope with their problems. Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach is my favourite novel. I also love to read the Bhagavadgita.”
After this break, he gets back to examining patients till 9:00pm. Dr Shetty said, “I make it a point that after I reach home, it is family time for me. None of us at home discuss work.”
Being a Psychiatrist can often get mentally bogging, and that is why he makes it a point to take a stroll after every five patients, “It very important to be able to take such breaks. In these breaks, I take a stroll, talk to maximum number of people. Breaking the monotony of sitting in the same place is important,” he says.
The group of friends you have, often defines the kind of person you are and that stands true for Dr Shetty. “All my school friends meet up as much as we can but we don’t party, we just hang out. I have my gang of psychiatrist friends too, who sit along and talk about various different patients and cases; this relieves us from the kind of stress about our patients.”
Dr Shetty also delivers talks to kids on mental health to various schools on each Saturday, “I keep in touch with kids every week. It makes me feel lighter!”
Apart from that, he believes that meeting different people can help a person grow mentally, “I went to Latur after the deadly disaster there in 1993, this happened after I finished my educational practice from KEM Hospital. It made me learn so much more, that even today; I travel to remote places to get that learning. I travel anywhere and everywhere. Last year, I visited Vietnam, Australia and Cambodia.”
“I have an immense passion towards my work. I love talking to people and I believe that’s what keeps me going,” he says. When you ask him how he manages so many patients without being mentally affected, he laughs and says, “The minute a patient walks out of my cabin, I disassociate with them. This can be attained only through practice.”
Dr Harish Shetty daily schedule
6.30am to 7.30- Exercise/ walk
7.30am to 8.30am – Breakfast and getting ready forwork
9.00am to 1pm- Work (in case of work at his own clinic, he starts at 10am)
1pm to 3pm- reading and taking a nap
3pm to 9pm- OPDs
9pm to 10.30pm- meet friends/ family
10.30pm – Bedtime