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Rethinking resilience in the era of COVID-19
Author: Corporate Communication/Korporatiewe Kommunikasie [Rozanne Engel]
Published: 14/10/2020

With October being Mental Health Awareness Month in South Africa, Stellenbosch University's Unit for Psychotherapeutic Support Services (UPSS) is hosting online webinars, facilitated by Stellenbosch University (SU) staff specialising in the fields of psychiatry, psychology as well as sexuality, throughout the month.

In one of UPSS' recent webinars, Prof Renata Schoeman did a presentation on rethinking resilience in the era of COVID-19. Schoeman is a practising psychiatrist and the Head of the MBA in Health Care Leadership programme at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB).

According to Schoeman, resilience can be defined as “the ability to adapt after experiencing setbacks and difficult life events whilst maintaining positive mental health," which she believes is what many people had to do during the pandemic.

During her presentation, Schoeman shared recent research and her clinical experience concerning resilience and gave webinar participants tips and advice on how to build and maintain resilience in these challenging times.

“Studies have shown that one of the most important ways to improve your resilience is to be more optimistic. Optimism does not mean we have rose coloured glasses on and we approach life as if we are in an eerie fairy tale. Optimism mean we approach things realistically and with confidence," said Schoeman.

According to Schoeman, since many people are working from home, they are struggling to create a work life balance and separating their daily work tasks from their personal life.

She believes that it is now more than ever important to have “work life structuring" and to practice “self-care everyday" to avoid burnout and suffering from mental health issues in the long term.

“It is important to tap into social support. Surround yourself with healthy and happy relationships, because your own happiness will increase if you do so. It is also important to surround yourself with role models and mentors throughout your life that can help you to navigate uncertainty and to help you be more resilient in your work and personal life."

The UPSS' next webinars will take place online 19 and 26 October 2020.

For more information on the webinars, click here.​