The pandemic has worsened mental health for many people globally.
According to the South African Depression & Anxiety Group (Sadag), the impact of Covid-19 and its lockdown restrictions has led to an increase in the number of calls the organisation has been receiving from people showing signs of depression. This makes such conversations important in fighting stigma around mental health.
According to Sadag, one in three South Africans will, or do, suffer from a mental illness at some point in their lifetime. The harsh reality is that fewer than one in 10 people with a mental illness in South Africa have access to mental health care. When it comes to men, the main reason depression and mental illness in general goes unrecognised is because of the stigma attached to it. Depression is seen as a weakness by many and as a result, men are reluctant to come forward for help.
When Clere For Men launched Legend, the brand took the meaning of ‘legend’ – as someone who defines greatness – and unpacked it into the five qualities they believe are the mark of a legendary man. These are: strength, stamina (mental and physical), love, perseverance and admiration. It makes sense that we talk about mental stamina now, says Clere For Men brand manager Themba Ndlovu, during a time when we’re experiencing heightened feelings of stress, anxiety and uncertainty. Ndlovu adds that mental health, especially among men, needs to be prioritised.
Statistics released in May 2019 by the World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed that globally, an estimated 264 million people suffer from depression, which is one of the leading causes of disability.
Taking care of one’s mental health is a priority. Here are tips from Clere to help you build mental resilience in this season.
Make a list – Create a list of things to do to keep yourself busy and active. Stick the list up on your fridge or in your bedroom, make it public so the whole family can add ideas (such as reading books you haven’t been able to get to for months, watching movies, listening to your favourite music, trying a new exercise at home, sorting out the man drawer you have been avoiding doing for months, etc.). Do small things every day that you enjoy and help lift your mood.
Ask yourself what you can control – your attitude, your thinking, your home, caring for your body and mind. Focus on these things, especially self-care. Putting yourself last is a disservice that will only work against you. Self-care makes your use of time more sustainable. Eat healthily, drink enough water, rest and look after your body, inside and out. While many men may be against a ‘pamper’ session as such, in the throes of winter looking after your skin is as important as maintaining a balanced diet. Taking good care of yourself first means you’ll have more to give others.
Take an online course – Take this time to learn a new skill that may help enhance your career. Are you looking into digital marketing? Want to hone your Excel skills? Or perhaps you’d like to try your hand at coding? There are plenty of online courses, certificates and even degrees you’ll be able to complete from home. Investing time in refining your skills will give you a deep sense of accomplishment which will boost your confidence enormously.
Physical fitness – The endorphins that come from physical activity can instantly boost your mood. Walk, run or cycle around your neighbourhood or your nearest park, or why not work out at home? There are plenty of exercise videos online that will show you how you can use your space at home and items around the house in lieu of weights and other gym equipment.
Reach out to friends and family – Having a sense of connection and a feeling of community is essential to ease your feelings of anxiety. If you are really struggling to cope with the situation, don’t be afraid to speak up. Call Sadag, create a WhatsApp or Facebook support group and stay connected with people via technology – do more video calls and phone friends and family to catch up.