This is how ECR presenters keep their mental health in check during lockdown

This is how ECR presenters keep their mental health in check during lockdown

We asked our presenters to share mental health tips and how they have been taking care of their own mental health during the lockdown.

Mike Vee at the Big Walk 2019 / Instagram
Mike Vee at the Big Walk 2019 / Instagram

World Mental Health Day will be observed on Saturday, 10 October.

An estimated 400-million people worldwide suffer from mental or neurological disorders or from psychosocial problems, states the South African government’s website.

Mental health problems include depression, anxiety disorder, behavioural and emotional disorders, bipolar, eating disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, paranoia, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychosis, and schizophrenia. 

A person’s mental health can be disturbed by a lot of things, such as the loss of a loved one, unemployment, toxic work conditions, conflict with others, and feeling like a failure.

The lockdown led to more people feeling depressed due to loss of employment, and the high death rates as a result of the coronavirus.

READ: Keri has a chat with former East Coast Drive presenter Mags

We asked our presenters how the lockdown affected their mental health.

"My emotional health is getting to a much better space now, during lockdown level one. Prior to lockdown level one, I had lost family members, close friends, and this broke my heart, amongst many other heartbreaking issues. It was overwhelming on some days, but most days work kept me sane and took away the distraction from the tears that wouldn’t stop flowing. My emotional health has certainly been on a roller coaster following the coronavirus outbreak and the loss of my dearly loved ones,“ said Jayshree Parasuramen, the daytime traffic presenter.

Nicholas Tatham, on the other hand, says he has felt himself "move from a place of anxiousness to a place of calm through the lockdown. It’s been great that I have been able to recover and felt myself getting better and better as the lockdown has eased. I’m in a really good place now."

Owen Crafford, the host of the 'Weekend Late Nights' show from 22:00 to 02:00 said the lockdown has not been so hard on his mental health.

“So, following the hectic lockdown period, my mental health has been quite good. I must say I got a bit lonely at times, but kept busy with online work and show prepping and stuff like that. Overall pretty good,” said the presenter.

Another presenter, who says the lockdown didn't affect his mental health in a negative way, is the host of 'Play Local', Mike V. He says this was as a result of doing fun and engaging activities. 

"I have found my mental health to be in a really good place during the lockdown. I’ve tried to remember to have fun at every turn, and to stay in the moment. I tend to become quite anxious and overwhelmed, so I have tried to enjoy the little pleasures in life and focus on taking it one day at a time. This has helped me plan ahead and feel more in control, which has been a huge help for my mental wellbeing," says Mike V.

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Tips for keeping one's mental health in good shape

“My tips would be to stay busy, even if it is just at home. Wake up, shower and do the things you would usually do when it’s a normal day and plan tasks to do in and around the house. Also, make use of technology to phone family and friends, play games, watch movies and interact,” says Owen Crafford.

“Don’t surround yourself with the negative. Negative news on TV, social media, online. Make sure you are not surrounding yourself with that. Remain in the moment and make sure that you are engaged (mentally, emotionally, physically). Don’t give yourself too much time to think about the effects of the pandemic. Spend time quality time with loved ones!" says Nicholas Tatham.

Parasuramen shares the following tips, based on her personal journey:

-  My spiritual journey grew and I spent more time in meditation and prayer.

-  I read a lot and mostly allowed myself to read inspiring or motivational stories, as well as watch and listen to music/videos that was food to my soul.

 - The best that I did was to write a journal and to write daily expressing my emotions either in my journal or on my social media platforms. This made me realise I was not alone.

-  I went back to the drawing board as an artist and looked at the new norm and virtual concerts… then wrote a one-woman play.

- I focused on using the time wisely and paid attention to the goals and dreams I had that were yet to be accomplished, for example, starting a non-profit organisation. This has now been approved with an NPC number and tax registered too. I called it 'The Adoeete Foundation'. Adoeete meaning 'big tree'. The intention is to help the underprivileged and the underdogs in the arts industry.

- I continued to work and take on extra shifts at ECR.

- All of the above left me very little time for a pity party, but I did have my days where I just broke down and cried my heart out, then just like a duck, I shook my tail feathers and kept on swimming.

- If there’s anything that I may leave with you, then the idea is to never, never, never give up. It’s not easy but keep punching even when you’re crying, just keep moving forward.

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