07 Mar Load shedding and your mental health
As far back as 2019, reporter Mandy Weiner commented that load shedding had made us anxious and on edge, permeating every aspect of our lives. Since then, we’ve endured COVID-19 and the energy crisis has intensified.
Experiencing frustration, anxiety, anger and outrage in 2023 is normal and to be expected. How do we manage these feelings so that our own lights don’t dim?
In a News24 article, Professor Renate Schoeman, head of the MBA in Healthcare Leadership programme at Stellenbosch Business School, had this to say with added comment by Salt Employee Benefits Reshna Ramgovind, Head of HR & Communications.
Don’t lose it.
The uncertainty impacts us in multiple ways and it is okay to have strong feelings about what is happening. It is important to understand what is happening and why it is happening, but your emotions will not change the situation. Don’t let load shedding break you.
Control what you can.
At this stage, we are all raging about the same thing. By the time the lights switch off in the evening, chances are that you have had multiple raves and spiralled into negativity before the morning brings the same rants. Change the conversation to how others are coping because too many rants can push you into anxiety and depression.
Becoming agile does not mean that you are accepting of the status quo, it means changing your schedule to get through the day relatively unscathed. Agility is important because blackouts can escalate. Part of being agile means planning for the unpredictable.
Rethink your time.
As inconvenient and unproductive as it is, an unwanted consequence of load shedding is ironically that it provides free time. If you can’t watch TV, sit outside and marvel at the stars. If talking to friends on WhatsApp is interrupted, go visit a friend or talk to your kids who have been knocked off Xbox. If Facebook is your thing, read a book. Exercise. Meditate. Stay positive.
Again, none of these ‘sanity measures’ should imply that we accept our energy crisis or the reasons why we have arrived at this stage. An article by registered psychologist Dr Daniel Selling, CEO of Williamsburg Therapy Group, in Forbes January 2023 reported that mental health is a key focus area this year as people increasingly struggle with burnout, anxiety and depression. If you are struggling, you are not alone. This article encourages you to do what you can to manage your mental health during this most trying of times. And if you are battling to cope, please visit your doctor or talk to loved ones about your feelings – what you’re going through is nothing to feel ashamed about.
Above all, be kind to yourself and others – we’re in this together!
Head: HR & Communications.