Thursday, 27 August 2020 14:12

Wellbeing for women: You can’t give what you don’t have!

The wise words of Johannesburg clinical psychologist Dr Colinda Linde resonate deeply with women facing a tidal wave of change. Nothing is as we expected; and hoping that things will somehow go back to the way before is unrealistic. The only way is forward.

 “The coronavirus has highlighted what we know – that mental health issues are much more common than you might think. In their lifetime 20% to 25% of women will experience depression, compared to 7% to 12% of men. But we don’t know if the higher rate is because woman are more likely to reach out for help,” she says.

Dr Linde is on the board of SADAG, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group, South Africa’s largest mental health advocacy organisation. The call centre has been overwhelmed with calls during the lockdown.

“Women are more extended than ever – with working from home, home-schooling, and more domestic responsibilities than ever. It’s tough, and women tend to put everyone else before they think of themselves. We’re great at guilt and feeling unworthy, but not that good at asking for help when we need it.”

This is why self-care is so important. “There is a reason why in aeroplanes, you are told to first fit your own oxygen mask and then help others. You have to be alright to be able to give the support and care you give to others. But you can’t give what you don’t have.”

Here are Dr Linde’s tips for ensuring that you stay mentally healthy:

  1. Sleep – get seven to nine hours a night, otherwise you’ll end up exhausted and running on empty.
  2. Exercise – all you need is 10 to 20 minutes a day.
  3. Nutrition – keep hydrated. If you don’t drink enough water then you experience the same symptoms as when you are anxious or depressed. Don’t forget to eat, and resist the temptation to binge on junk, because you need to keep your body going with healthy fuel.
  4. Keep your mind balanced; make time every day to be in nature, mediate or pray.
  5. Schedule in self-care. You aren’t being selfish when you relax in the bath with a face mask or listen to some relaxing music. It’s an important part of achieving a work, rest, play balance.

Dr Linde is an expert in cognitive behaviour therapy, working with anxiety, panic and sleep disorders, burnout and stress-related conditions. Visit her website, for practical mindfulness tips.


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