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Prioritising self-care for mental well-being and productivity in South Africa

In recent years, mental health has gained global attention as a critical component of overall health. While physical health is crucial, nurturing our mental health helps us navigate challenging times, become more resilient, and enjoy a better quality of life. However, South Africans still face significant challenges in accessing mental healthcare.
Prioritising self-care for mental well-being and productivity in South Africa
Talya da Silva, production director at Bateleur Brand Planning.
Talya da Silva, production director at Bateleur Brand Planning.

According to Bateleur's previous Vantage Point survey, 43% of people who classify themselves as unhappy worry about their mental health, depression, and anxiety.

The latest Vantage Point survey shows that only 10% of South Africans currently see a mental health professional. This may be due to several factors, such as the cost of seeing a mental health professional, limited access to mental health professionals, or the perceived stigma associated with seeking help.

Maintaining a positive state of mind is believed by many of the respondents to be bolstered by the following, according to the latest survey:

  • 59% of people ensure they get enough sleep,
  • 59% do light physical activity,
  • 54% spend time outdoors,
  • 50% pursue hobbies they enjoy, and
  • 47% avoid stressful situations.

However, while therapy and medication can be essential for mental health support, self-therapy, or self-care, is growing in popularity among South Africans.

Self-care aims to maintain physical health, reduce stress, maintain good mental health, and cultivate healthy relationships. Prioritising self-care can be challenging as people often prioritise others' needs over their own, leading to burnout and compromised well-being. However, taking time for oneself is not selfish, but instead can improve overall mood and positively impact relationships with others. Self-care has additional benefits, such as reducing burnout and enhancing self-esteem.

It is a common misconception that self-care activities should occur outside business hours. However, integrating self-care into the workday can be more beneficial for productivity. Chronic workplace stress negatively affects employees' and employers' health and well-being, leading to decreased productivity, increased burnout, more sick days, poor judgment, and less teamwork and collaboration.

Intellect (2022) reports high employee disengagement and burnout, highlighting the need for a workplace culture promoting self-care. Managers can lead by example in creating a culture that promotes their team's mental well-being, including not scheduling meetings during lunch breaks, not scheduling meetings or calling team members after hours, and not expecting replies to emails outside work hours.

In conclusion, prioritising self-care is crucial for mental well-being and productivity in South Africa. By adopting self-care practices and promoting a workplace culture, individuals and organisations can improve overall health and well-being.

3 May 2023 10:52


About the author

Talya da Silva is production director at Bateleur Brand Planning.