Many South Africans are starting to verbalise how overwhelmed they feel in their day-to-day lives so we have come up a few ways to help you face the world.
South Africa (01 August 2020) – Hands up if you are tired, scared and a little sick of the world at the moment? At this moment, we don’t want to tell you it will all be okay because we honestly don’t know where the world will be in the next few months.
There are many things happening in South Africa and around the world that are worrying but we shouldn’t be spending whole days worrying about them. What we decided to do, was to work through various options on how to help you cope when it feels like too much.
The key is to take care of yourself, to shield your heart and step away from the noise from time to time. This is essential in order to play your part in South Africa. We cannot help others if we too are in need of assistance.
“If you want to support others you have to stay upright yourself” – Peter Heg
Another analogy is the aircraft rule; if the oxygen masks fall down, place yours on first and then help those around you. These are some of the ways you can cope through the new world chaos.
Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Mindfulness doesn’t require you to sit and meditate as you see in movies, it can be done anywhere at any time.
You can be mindful in many situations. The best place to start is in the morning when you wake up. Instead of automatically reaching for your phone, lay there for a moment and stretch your mind, check your emotions and prepare yourself for your day.
Many of us are waking up already dreading the day before our feet have even touched the ground. By pausing before it all floods in, you are able to arm yourself a little more for the day.
You can then be mindful throughout the day. While you shower, every loo break, just before you retaliate to something someone has said, while you are cooking dinner or washing dishes, there are moments in each day where we can quietly reflect. The most important times though are when we are feeling negative about a situation or experiencing a strong emotion. In understanding these moments and what brought us there, we are better able to control ourselves the next time the same emotion is triggered.
Treating yourself to a nap, a warm bath or a curled up afternoon in the sunshine reading your book is a form of self-care. Anything that brings you peace, leaves you feeling fulfilled and re-energised or helps you unwind can be classed as self-care.
It is essential to take moments here and there or set aside a full day, to care for yourself. According to Harvard Health Publishing, it is important to acknowledge the disruptions in your life caused by the pandemic. The emotions linked to all the changes we are facing need to be processed. You are encouraged to mourn your losses; these include the loss of your working environment, your relationships at work and the fact that so much has changed so quickly.
Here are a few simple ways you can improve your self-care:
- Get a good nights sleep, the more regular, the better
- Take a proper lunch break; even if you don’t eat – spend an hour a day away from your desk.
- Go for walks, take the dog with if you have one.
- Sit in the sun for 10 minutes a day to boost your Vitamin D.
- Write out your feelings, share them if you wish, store them in a book or burn them once you have read them. Just be sure to get them out of your head.
- Eat healthy meals, these will boost your overall health as well.
- Be active, whether that includes your walks or adding workouts to the mix, keep your body moving to release the good endorphins.
- Listen to your favourite music, dance and sing along.
- Lay in the garden, close your eyes and just listen to all the life being lived around you.
- Cook your favourite meal.
It is ok not to have an opinion
Everyone wants to know your opinion on the matters of the day but it is ok to not have one. It is okay to not want to engage in debates about every topic under the sun. It is okay to not be politically affiliated in a public space, it is your right to choose and you can choose not to engage.
These days, if you have a different opinion or mindset from someone else, they see it as a freedom to attack your opinion or to try and educate you on theirs. If you don’t want this form of engagement, you can decline to continue a conversation.
The beauty of respect is being lost in between fear, anger and frustration. The world as a whole is angry and many people are vocalising their anger, directing it at people whom they don’t know.
Limit your daily intake
These days the media shares everything happening from the crime and infection rates to corruption scandals and the rise of unemployment. It is no different than the news from before the pandemic but our ability to cope with it all has become less.
It is important to designate a time of day where you put your phone down, switch the TV off and talk about things that don’t feature on the news cycle. Where we restrict screen time for children, we should do the same thing for ourselves.
We need news, it helps guide us but we don’t need it all day, every day. So be sure to switch off. Spend time with family, read more, potter around in the garden or do anything that helps you unwind and forget about the world for a little while. It will help balance you.
Ask for help
We all need a helping hand sometimes, whether that be help in keeping the house tidy, help with the children or help to keep your mental health in check. Do not be too proud or scared to ask for help.
Often, we will take the weight of what is happening around us and internalise it. We will avoid being honest about our feelings and instead say everything is good or fine just so we do not burden others. If you are worried a friend or family member might be burdened by your own problems, ask them if they have the capacity to talk a few things through.
If you find you are unable to ask for help, seeking professional assistance is a good place to start. It can be daunting to open up to a stranger, but also completely freeing. You don’t need to be on a medical aid or pay a fortune, there are public health options and life coaches who have affordable rates.
If you need to access public mental health services, you can find a full breakdown here.
Play Your Part is a nationwide movement created to inspire, empower and celebrate active citizenship in South Africa. Its objective is to lift the spirit of our nation by inspiring all South Africans to contribute to positive change, become involved and start doing – because a nation of people who care deeply for one another and the environment in which they live is good for everyone. The campaign is driven by Brand South Africa.
Play Your Part is aimed at all South Africans – from corporates to individuals, NGOs to government, churches to schools, young to not so young. It aims to encourage South Africans to use some of their time, money, skills or goods to contribute to a better future for all.
There are numerous opportunities, big and small, for each and every South African to make a positive difference in the communities in which they live and operate. Play Your Part encourages them to act on these opportunities.
For more information on how you can play your part click here #GetInvolved #PlayYourPart