Pre-pandemic data shows that anxiety was the most common mental illness in the world, with no fewer than 284 million reported people suffering from anxiety. Add to this the fact that we are still battling the tail end of a pandemic, the worry of countries that are at war and some on the brink of it, and what you see is a society struggling to keep stress, anxiety and the pressures of life at bay.
A lot of what’s happening is beyond our control. However, we can manage our immediate surroundings. We can control our own responses and we can do our best to take the pressure off ourselves in our day-to-day life. Here are five ways to do just that.
Get help around the house where needed
We honestly can’t get to everything that needs doing. Many people work full days and simply just don’t have time to clean the house, fix that gutter or clear the garden.SweepSouth is a great tool here. Book a domestic worker to help you clean your home, and give yourself some time back to do other things on your list, or to take that break you’ve been needing for so long. And while gardens are still flourishing in the last weeks left of summer, book their outdoor service to help tend to your garden, creating a beautiful space for you to unwind in.
A great way to unwind and relax is through spa treatments or a little self-love day. Perhaps you’re in need of a massage to ease your tired muscles or you just want some quiet time to read. You can find a way to do this. Book yourself a treatment at a spa such as Amani Spa at Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront or escape to the beach a bit to read a book and relax. Whatever your mode of relaxation is, take some time to do this and clear your mind of worries for a few hours.
Travel from home
If a literal escape from reality is what you’ve been wanting to do, but you’re not currently able to, then this one’s for you. Technology has made it easy for people around the world to explore other countries and cities, all from the comfort of their homes. Airbnb, for example, launched Online Experiences in 2020, which allows you to book fun activities anywhere in the world. Make Mexican street tacos with a pro chef in an online class, for example, take a virtual Harry Potter London tour, or do an Argentinian wine class with a local sommelier, all without needing to leave the house!
Car-eoke with friends (Spotify)
Not many things come close to spending time with friends or belting out a number when you’re stressed – so why not combine the two? Hit the road with a few of your closest friends and queue a few Spotify playlists that include all your favourite sing-along jams. You could create a Blend with your friends to make sure everyone has a go at singing their favourite ballad, or choose one of the playlists carefully curated by the Spotify team.
Improving your nutrition to improve your mental wellbeing
It’s no secret that nutrition and mental health have been viewed as separate fields of research for decades. However, as research continues to progress, now more than ever, the two ideas have evolved into an intersection of evidence. Malnutrition and poor mental health are leading sources of global mortality, disease, and disability. Across the continent a variety of factors such as rising levels of food insecurity, disease outbreaks, droughts, floods and conflicts all have a devastating impact on the daily lives of individuals, putting great strain on physical and, in the end, mental health.
“Simply put, sticking to a healthy diet with foods that have the correct nutritional value, will lead to fewer mood fluctuations, an overall happier outlook and an improved ability to focus – to name a few,” says Andre Redinger, founder of Millhouse International. “Studies have also found that healthier diets can help lower symptoms of anxiety and depression, whereas nutrient-deficient diets have been linked to increased risk of dementia, strokes and the like.”
It is also important to mention that many local communities do not have access to a vast nutritional basket and rely on staple foods for their nutritional intake. Consuming foods that are fortified with added vitamins and minerals to increase nutritional value is the number one solution here. Fortification serves as the trusted, cost-effective and safe way to improve diets and prevent deficiencies and, in the long run, ultimately positively contribute to thriving mental health.
Disclaimer – we are in no way suggesting that the below ideas are cures for anxiety or depression. If your mental health feels out of your control and you need help, please reach out to a professional or call SADAG (The South African Depression and Anxiety Group) on 0800 567 567.