The possible impact of loadshedding on your mental well-being

Post contributed by Laura Pakendorf

Regardless of age or demographic, loadshedding is something that affects all South Africans in one way or another. The net effect on our country’s economy and productivity is being well documented in the media, but are we truly comprehending the impact it is having on our overall well-being?

It is easily apparent that loadshedding has an impact on the mood of those that are exposed to it; from the increased frustration on the roads – longer commutes and more dangers due to traffic lights being off – to the boredom and feelings of resentment experienced as we wait ‘for there to be light.’ That sense of helplessness we feel during the time that loadshedding takes place has a negative effect on our mood and our productivity, as a whole. 

The forced change in routine can also not be taken lightly. Whether you are unable to carry out your schoolwork or studies, complete work tasks or have an impaired network function, the lack of control one has over one’s routine may have serious long-term effects. This change in routine may also be reflected in a poor diet due to lack of time to prepare food or buying less fresh food, as it goes off when it is in the fridge. The temptation of resorting to take-out food is also much higher when one is unable to make use of the electronic amenities at one’s disposal. 

Anxiety and depression have been known to increase due to a lack of meaningful engagement in occupations in one’s day, as well as due to lack of sleep. Whether you’re experiencing interrupted sleep (having to wake up early to put on/ off generator or alarm) or adjusted bedtimes (around doing chores or engagement in daily tasks) the impact of change in sleep routine should also not be overlooked.

And the increased crime rate is yet another anxiety-provoking factor that is present ‘when the lights are off’ as houses are more vulnerable to being broken into and it is less safe to be mobile in the streets.

To acknowledge that loadshedding has a significant effect on our mental well-being is to recognise our need for structure – how dependent we are on our processes and routines. The more fragile our sense of self, the more reactive as opposed to proactive we will be, and the more affected we will be by these disruptions and changes. 

If we are bored while waiting for the lights to come on, then it could very well be an indication of how disconnected we are from ourselves. If we feel so helpless and fragile that we get anxious and depressed by all of this, then it may be time to pay attention to our relationship with ourselves – to learn to relate to what is going on inside and to learn to make plans and adapt to change.

Evexia offers a holistic mental health programme that helps in all of these spheres; be it medication to take the edge off the panic while we work on the issues, from psychiatrists; nurses to check up on your vitals; trauma counselling if the loss of ‘power and control’ is experienced as trauma, and dietitians to help with your changed eating habits. Added to that, our social workers are always ready to assist with social issues; occupational therapists will help you structure your time and assist you to plan a new way of dealing with the changes. And last, but not least, Evexia’s team of Psychologists can help you look for where this dependence on external structure originates from and guide you toward discovering your own ability to deal with change. Evexia’s programmes are covered by medical aids.

So, whether it is loadshedding, or any other dramatic life changes that are ‘freaking’ you out; Evexia offers help. 

Do you need help discovering your map and your compass for your life?

The teams at Evexia are ready to help you.

Simply complete the form and we’ll get in touch.