Spring has sprung… and hope springs eternal. These may be clichés, but they are spot-on… Spring has now really sprung, the weavers are weaving their nests above the ponds if you are fortunate enough to observe them along your early evening walking route, the trees are blossoming, the jasmine smells heavenly, and one really feels the new season pulsating through the earth with the message.
At Ithemba, we hope that everyone who is on the receiving end of mental disorders – somewhere on that spectrum of mental ill-health, especially in this time of Covid 19 – is founding new hope, whether through therapy and/or medication, and that it really helps you to experience the new season’s “lightness of being”.
The main pillars of mental health, as we know so well, are the Fabulous Four: healthy eating habits, getting enough sleep, maintaining social connections and staying active.
Yet, especially the latter two are so much more difficult under Covid-19. With regards to maintaining social connections, it is as if we have become suspicious of everything. Grab the disinfectant the moment you’ve touched the doorknob after entering the building!
Was that a Covid cough just behind you in the supermarket queue, or just an itchy throat?
As for staying active: it is as if lethargy has developed as a serious side-effect of Covid-19.
It is just so difficult to get going. But… here is a purpose and a goal, and something that will make you feel good: participate in our annual Hope Hike or Hope Bike, on Sunday October 4, to raise awareness around the importance of mental health, and to break the silence and the stigma.
Without mental health, there cannot be any health. Besides, this year you can literally start your Hope Hike/Bike with the first step outside your front door.
Our Hike and Bike is a virtual one, which means you can participate wherever you are, and you can walk, jog, run or bike any distance you like, as long as you take a selfie and post it with your entry number on Ithemba’s Facebook page.
Click here to enter. All entries are R50, and students pay R30.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org and post your selfie by World Mental Health Day on October 10.
Professor Lizette Rabe is the head of Stellenbosch University’s Journalism Department.