Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, cases of depression, anxiety, grief, and trauma have been increasing daily in South Africa, and understandably so. While we’ve slowly become accustomed to lockdown life, the anxiety is still very much real.
When Clere For Men launched Legend, the brand took the meaning of ‘legend’ – as someone who defines greatness – and unpacked it further 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 then that we talk about mental stamina now, explains 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 amongst men, needs to be prioritised.
According to the South African Depression & Anxiety Group (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 reasons depression and mental illness in general go unrecognised is because of the large stigma attached to it. Depression is seen as a weakness amongst many and as a result, men are reluctant to come forward for help.
SADAG says they’re hopeful their campaign, Real Men. Real Depression will help destigmatise depression amongst South African men and therefore uplift the lives of husbands, sons, brothers, and friends.
For the anxiety we’re feeling right now, Ndlovu provides the following tips to help maintain mental stamina:
Reduce the time you spend watching or listening to the news – Filter what you are watching, reading, and listening to. Don’t have the radio or news channel playing on in the background at home. Learn what you can from these respected sources. Only check news sites at specific times of the day. For example, at 8am, 1pm and 9pm.
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, being in the throes of winter, looking after your skin is as important as maintaining a balanced diet. Clere For Men lotions and crèmes have been formulated to help hydrate, soothe, and rejuvenate skin for up to 48 hours. Taking good care of yourself first means you’ll have more to give others.
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.
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 able to complete from the comfort of your own home. Investing time in refining 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 you can find online that will show you how you can utilise your space at home and items around the house in lieu of weights and other gym equipment.