Here’s how you can get the psycho-social support needed to survive lockdown

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South Africa is probably experiencing one of its most stressful periods in modern history.

The Citizen reports, as part of the global village, together with the rest of the world, we are experiencing an ongoing pandemic, the likes of which has not been seen for over a 100 years. This has led to periods of lockdown, social isolation and the trauma.

The lockdowns came at a very difficult time in our country’s history. Many more people lost their jobs and stress levels increased dramatically.

Through millennia, human beings have always found comfort and support from one another. Support of family members and friends make life more bearable.

Now the lockdowns and many people having to work from home have disrupted the normal support systems of individuals. Daily routines have been turned upside down.

Working hours have increased and the boundaries between work and home life have become blurred. This has led to many cases of burnout and depression.

Underlying psychosocial problems which have been contained under normal circumstances started surfacing.

Families as a whole have become very stressed and marital difficulties appeared in many cases.

The recent riots and looting may be seen as symptoms of the underlying stress and frustrations in South African society.

How can one get the psychosocial support needed to survive these stressful times?

On an individual level there is a lot one can do.

  • Firstly, do everything you can to break your isolation. Keep in touch with family, friends and even colleagues regularly.
  • Now is the time to visit your psychologist or psychiatrist.
  • If you work from home, define your working hours clearly and stick to them. Move away from your work station after hours and do not get tempted to work when you are officially on down time.
  • Remember, isolation is your enemy when feeling hopeless or in despair. Fight it by taking deliberate and concrete action to break the loneliness. Break your routine. Get out of your home over weekends.
  • Use all the psychosocial support systems at your disposal to keep in contact with others and to maintain a healthy sense of being during these trying times.

Du Toit has a PhD in clinical psychology and is a registered clinical psychologist based at Life Poortview. He has more than 25 years’ experience.

The Citizen/Dr JD du Toit