14 October 2022

Written by: Dr Joseph Sekhampu - Executive Head: Commerce and Management

In today's world, everyone is busy. So busy, in fact, that it can cause us to lose ourselves. We obsess over being better, faster, or stronger that we forget about our wellbeing. We stop taking care of ourselves and our bodies because we believe that we don’t have time for it. Our bodies aren’t designed to be in this constant state of alarm. We are designed to fight or flight, and then recover. The modern world doesn’t appear to allow us that recovery time, and this creates a vicious circle. The more stressed we are, the less time we have to care for ourselves. The less time we have to care for ourselves, the more stressed we become.

But, how do we break this unsustainable cycle? We need to take charge of our time and be intentional about putting our wellness first. South Africa observes October as Mental Health Awareness month. This is our reminder to not only not focus on our physical health when we talk about our wellbeing. Talking about the state of our mental health may make us feel helpless or powerless. The stigma around mental illnesses also makes it harder for us to get the support we need.

Imagine if you were suffering from a physical injury like a broken leg or a cough? You wouldn’t see any shame in going to the doctor or asking others for help. We should see mental illnesses in the same way, especially since we are all vulnerable to them. I encourage you to take a moment to check-up on your mental health. And if you need to make changes as part of your wellness journey, I urge you to be brave enough to face that unknown.

For me, this change means nurturing my social connections. I am doing this by spending more time with family and friends despite work demands. For others, it might mean moving away from a toxic environment or relationship. Or, booking an overdue appointment with a healthcare provider. But whatever the action may be, making the change will be difficult. Change requires us to stop sticking with the safe or familiar. Instead of avoiding this discomfort, let’s embrace it. Let’s make the change to live a more meaningful life. Let’s also be part of supportive communities so we can help each other along the way.