The stay-at-home and social isolation the during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown could be challenging for many people to deal with, according to Sandy Lewis, head of therapeutic services at Akeso mental health facilities.

Lewis and Mark de la Rey, a clinical psychologist at Akeso Kenilworth in Cape Town, offered the following practical advice on how to reduce stress levels and anxiety during the lockdown.  This is a summarised version of their advice.  Read the FULL VERSION at this link:  
Supporting your mental health while in lockdown

How to reduce stress levels and anxiety during the lockdown:

  • Routine creates structure,which is particularly reassuring for children. Planning activities and having daily goals can assist in keeping one motivated.  Keep to a daily schedule for things such as meal times, exercise time and bedtime.
  • Look after yourself and practice self-care. This includes adopting a diet that is best for you and following good sleep practices.
  • Getting 20 minutes of exercise a day can also help lift your mood and reduce feelings of tension, as it releases endorphins, the ‘feel good hormone’. It can furthermore assist in supporting the immune system.
  • Should you be on your own or have problems with “cabin fever”, try to stay connected with loved ones and friends through a phone or video call or by messaging them regularly. This enables us to obtain support, share concerns and stay connected, so keep in touch with your social networks.
  • Helping others can provide a great distraction from our own anxieties, so consider ways you can assist others remotely over this period.
  • Try to use the time to engage meaningfully with your family.
  • Stay focused on the present moment and your own current issues that need addressing rather than stressing about a future we are not able to predict.
  • Support your optimism by thinking of all the wonderful ways people are supporting one another during this crisis.
  • By all means provide your children with factual information, but do try to avoid projecting your own anxieties and scaring them with some the developments associated with the pandemic.
  • Keep in mind that stress can manifest itself in the child becoming either more isolated or more defiant.
  • If you feel self-isolation is having a negative impact on your mental health, you should seek professional advice. There are a number of organisations that provide telephonic mental health support.
  • Remember, a sense of humour keeps things light, especially with children and older family members who might be feeling particularly anxious.

 Read the full article here: 
Supporting your mental health while in lockdown

Re-published with kind permission of Akeso Group.  Akeso is a group of private in-patient mental health facilities and is part of the Netcare Group.

Mhani Gingi and Beating Heart SA deliver winter warmth and support for Mandela Day 2016

Nocawe Mdoda, Principal of Ikhayalethu Educare, took delivery of donations from many individual Capetonians to improve her educare facility and received donations from Beating Heart SA to support the initiative Mdoda has planned for youth of Khayelitsha in honour of Mandela Day 2016. Mdoda’s Mandela Day event to take place on 16 July 2016 aims to inspire a group of 20 young people with hope for the future and to encourage them to avoid substance abuse.  Mdoda’s supporters from her community in Khayelitsha, shown with her in the image above, wished to remain anonymous.

Meanwhile, in June about three hundred children benefited when Mhani Gingi Social Entrepreneurial Network and Christy Haefele, ­­Founder and Director of Beating Heart SA­­, delivered warm scarves, caps, leggings and gloves to five educare facilities in the greater Philippi area of Cape Town, to spread winter warmth and love.  Each of the items was hand-made with love in every stitch.

A total of 273 children at Enkuthazweni Educare, Stars of Tomorrow Educare, Siyamthanda Educare, Lindisiwe Educare and Lidinga Educare received the warm winter clothing.  In addition, left-over scarves and baby jerseys were distributed to the parents of smaller children.

Mhani Gingi Social Entrepreneurial Network, in collaboration with AfriCAN Charity, has been training Early Childhood Development (ECD) principals and practitioners, including Mdoda, from 15 community educare facilities in Khayelitsha, Langa and Philippi East townships of Cape Town since May 2015.

Beating Heart SA, among initiatives, acts as a drop-off­ centre collecting clothing, books and toys whi­ch are then distributed to vari­ous safe houses, schools and othe­r non-profit organisations.  Haefele is currently a Schwarzkopf Professional Mrs SA 2016 Finalist.

Nocawe Mdoda – Mandela Day

Three organisations, African Change, Lighton Education and Mhani Gingi Social 
Entrepreneurial Network, in partnership, 20150718_124158 
provided a series of 6 workshops to Early Childhood Development practitioners located in the Philippi area. These workshops included the value of using waste in the ECD centres and how skills, concepts and activities could be developed to deliver quality education through the use of recyclable items.

One passionate young teacher, Nocawe Mdoda, embraced this concept, and although she does not yet have her own ECD, chose to spend Mandela Day providing young children in her immediate community with an ECD made up purely of waste. This encouraged the young children to view waste through different “glasses” , encouraged parents to use waste at home to enhance the learning experience of their young children and to encourage a clean environment.

With no structure within which to set up an ECD, she used the outside area of her parents’ home in Khayelitsha. Good weather was a definite prerequisite for this and this is what Nocawe got! This inspirational young lady had a team of learners, ranging from grades 8 – 10, who assisted her in her preparations. They, too, were wearing “waste”. These learners gave their school holidays to paying it forward to the younger community members.

“A wonderful afternoon was achieved by all, where young and old gathered to celebrate the life of Madiba, who said ‘education is the greatest weapon anyone can
use to change the world.’ Nocawe, for being that change, we commend you. Thank you for inspiring us all! Stand tall!!” said Joan Wright, Trustee of Mhani Gingi and a committed educator who helped train the ECD practitioners.