By Farzana Botha, 21 October 2021
These findings in a recent Sanlam survey conducted by OVATOYOU, highlight the imperative to focus on factors within our control – in particular, the need to make the best possible financial decisions in very trying circumstances. The study was conducted amongst 1 200 South Africans as part of Sanlam’s campaign – Letters to My Pre-COVID-19 Self, and it asks people to reflect on what they wish they’d known or done prior to the pandemic.
Farzana Botha, Segment Solutions Manager at Sanlam Savings, says, “We’ve all gone through this major life event together and it’s changed many of us in profound ways. We can’t underestimate the toll it’s taken on our mental health. We’re likely to keep seeing the impact of this for years to come. The survey showed that above anything else, most people wish their former selves had saved more. It really brought home the impact money has had as a stressor on mental wellbeing.”
Here are some of the key findings from the survey, showing how South Africans are feeling and what they wish they could write to their pre-pandemic selves:
It was clear that the pandemic made many rethink their physical and mental wellbeing. During COVID-19:
About 35% of respondents said they always make time for self-care (self-care was undefined). Most of these were younger men with an income of less than R10 000 a month. Close to 59% said they make time when they can (likely to be older: 40+ years), and 6.7% said they never make time.
In terms of what they’d write to their pre-pandemic selves about what they’ve learned about wellbeing, some of the responses were:
“Everyone is susceptible to any manner of mental health issues, especially anxiety and depression. I've learned to seek psychological assistance in the form of therapy to assist me in managing anxiety in these trying times.” – Male, 30-39 years old, Gauteng, HHI R30k+
“I've learned that I must start taking my mental health seriously and avoid anything that could affect it.” – Female, 18-24 years old, North West, HHI -R10k
Overall, most people wanted to tell their pre-COVID-19 selves to ‘take time to enjoy the simple things in life and the moments with loved ones’, as well as to ‘manage your finances better and start an
Botha says, “We thank everyone who participated in the survey for being so open and honest. It takes tremendous courage to be so vulnerable. It’s clear many of us are going through so much right now and we need to create a culture where people feel comfortable talking about what they’re experiencing.
“It’s also obvious that financial stress is having a huge toll. Sanlam is committed to helping people
live with confidence. As part of this, we aspire to empower South Africans to have the knowledge necessary to go after their goals and make smart money decisions to live their best lives. We are here to help you make the right decisions for yourself and your family.”
“We have many
tools on hand to help you come up with an achievable, holistic plan. We’re here for you. It’s never too late to turn a situation around. You’re not alone.”
SADAG (South African Depression and Anxiety Group): 0800 567 567
LifeLine (Western Cape): 063 709 2620 (WhatsApp)
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