Your mental health toolkit

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According to The South African Depression and Anxiety Group, as many as one in six South Africans suffer from mental health issues, including anxiety and depression. Here are a few ‘tools’ to promote mental wellness in everyday life.

Podcast: Where Should We Begin?

Romantic relationships aren’t plain sailing and getting expert advice from the comfort of your home can be a great help. Esther Perel is a Belgian psychotherapist and a New York Times bestselling author of The State of Affairs and Mating in Captivity. Her relationship podcast, Where Should We Begin?, touted as ‘a podcast for anyone who’s ever loved’, tells the stories of real couples. From infidelity to loss and sex-related issues, she provides insight to help couples empower themselves.

Why this tool? Life is busy and the audio format of a podcast makes it a tool you can use on the go, for example when you’re in your car on the way to work, doing your chores or working out.

Available for free on Spotify and iTunes.

Mobile App: Calm

If you struggle with anxiety, insomnia or stress, meditation is helpful, as it aids deep relaxation and calms your mind. This mindfulness app is for beginners and provides guided meditation that helps to, for example, relieve stress, improve focus and concentration and boost self-esteem and gratitude. The length of the meditations ranges between 3 and 25 minutes to fit any schedule, and there are even options for work and school.

Why this tool? Most service apps can be personalised according to your preferences. They generally work faster than websites and can be easily accessed from your phone.

Available for free on Google Play and the App Store.

Book: Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

Do you struggle with productivity, time management and breaking bad habits? You’re not alone and the right tools can help you. Atomic Habits, a book by James Clear, offers practical strategies to help you reshape your negative behaviours with small changes. This not only extends to work, but to personal habits as well, including giving up smoking, reducing stress, losing weight and reaching career milestones. This book also helps with insight into how to get back on track if you’ve lost sight of your goals and putting your plans into practice.

Why this tool? A book can be easily placed in your bag or car to be enjoyed anywhere and doesn’t require internet access. If you prefer e-books, you can easily save it on your smartphone or tablet and it doesn’t require internet access.

Available on Takealot and Loot.

Mental health group: The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG)

SADAG is a non-profit organisation that offers mental health support and has a team of health experts and volunteers. It provides help in the form of support groups, 16 emergency counselling lines, workshops and educational materials. Best of all, SADAG’s resources are free to use and cover a variety of issues, including anxiety, depression, substance abuse, trauma and bipolar mood disorder. You can also get free medical treatment with a SADAG referral, in some cases, and if you want to help your community, you can apply to receive training as a volunteer.

Why this tool? Support groups and counselling can help you to feel understood and less alone, and teach you effective coping mechanisms. As helpful as technology is, sometimes human interaction is necessary. 

Information available on the SADAG website.

Physical activity: Move your body however you like

According to research published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, exercise has a positive effect on mental health, particularly when it comes to treating anxiety and depression. The research states that aerobic workouts like running, jogging, dancing, swimming, walking and cycling are especially helpful. You can get started with apps such as Aaptiv or free home-workout videos like on Team Body Project, or join a local exercise class, whether you like to box, dance or cycle.

For more advice related to mental health, read these helpful articles:

For confidential assistance, contact Life EHS; SMS your name to 31581 and the Care Centre will call you back.

The information is shared on condition that readers will make their own determination, including seeking advice from a professional. E&OE.


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