How to take care of your mental wellbeing

Remember to prioritise your mental health as we head into summer.


Written by: Robert Sam-Kputu



It’s almost time to bid farewell to 2023, a challenging year for many. As we recover from the toll of Covid and deal with all the other catastrophic events of a world in flux, things can sometimes feel overwhelming. This is why prioritising your mental health is key!

In South Africa, as in many parts of the world, there still seems to exist a stigma around discussing mental health, particularly among men. Society often imposes expectations on men to be strong, resilient, and unemotional, which can lead to an unwillingness to seek help when you’re struggling emotionally – which can have devastating consequences.



Notice the signs:

Stress and burnout

The end of the year can be a particularly stressful time, with work deadlines, family commitments, and financial pressures. The accumulation of stress over time can lead to burnout, affecting one’s overall well-being.

Seasonal blues

While summer is a time of joy for many, it can also bring its challenges. Some individuals experience seasonal affective disorder (SAD) during the transition to warmer weather. Men, like anyone else, may struggle with mood changes during this period.

Social isolation

The upcoming holiday season can intensify feelings of loneliness and isolation if you are not surrounded by friends and family, or if you have lost loved ones or recently been through a breakup, for example. For men, the pressure to maintain a strong facade may also deter them from reaching out to friends and loved ones.



Take action:

Prioritise self-care to recharge your mental and emotional batteries. This may include setting boundaries, getting enough sleep, eating nutritious foods, and engaging in activities you enjoy.

Physical activity
Regular exercise is not only beneficial for physical health but also plays a crucial role in managing stress and improving mood. Consider incorporating outdoor activities into your summer routine, like hiking, swimming, or cycling.

Mindfulness and relaxation
Practicing mindfulness meditation and deep breathing exercises can help you manage stress and stay present in the moment. Even a few minutes of meditation daily can make a significant difference.

Connect with others
Reach out to friends and family members for support and connection. Opening up about your feelings can be difficult, but it’s a crucial step in improving mental health.


Seek professional help
If you find that your mental health is deteriorating or you’re struggling to cope, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. South Africa has a network of mental health professionals, including psychologists and counsellors, who can provide guidance and support.

Join support groups
Many men find solace and understanding in support groups where they can share their experiences with others facing similar challenges. These groups can be particularly valuable for breaking the isolation barrier.

Limit substance use (or avoid it completely)
Be mindful of alcohol and substance use, as these can exacerbate mental health issues. If you find yourself relying on these substances to cope, consider seeking help to address any underlying concerns.

Embrace nature
South Africa is blessed with breath-taking natural beauty. Spend time in nature, whether it’s at the beach, in a forest or park, or on the mountain. Connecting with the outdoors can have a calming and rejuvenating effect on your mental well-being.



Remember that noticing the signs of stress and burnout, and then seeking help, is a sign of strength, not weakness.

By taking practical steps to care for yourself, connect with others, and seek professional support when needed, you can ensure that this summer season is one of not just physical, but mental rejuvenation.