We live in a switched-on world in which it’s almost unthinkable to be without social media for so much as a day. According to Statista, a company specialising in market and consumer data, around 30 million South Africans were on social networking sites in 2019. What’s more, this number is set to grow to close to 50 million by 2026!
There’s no two ways about it: being bullied isn’t just tough in the moment, it continues to take a toll in other areas of your life.
Bullying leaves a trail of destruction in its wake. It shatters your self-esteem and increases your risk of anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance and self-harm. It can even result in physical health problems like high blood pressure, stomach pain and poor appetite.
It’s something that has puzzled researchers from the start of the pandemic – why do some people experience severe illness, and others do not? These differences extend beyond known risk factors – like age, and existing disease.
To answer this question, researchers began studying the genetics of people exposed to the SARS-CoV-2 virus and were able to identify links between developing the disease and variations in specific parts of their DNA.
The pandemic has highlighted the idea of a disease being front and center in all aspects of our lives. However, for someone living with a chronic condition, this has been their reality long before COVID-19 came along, and the pandemic has simply made things worse.
Economic, social and psychological distress is common amongst those living with chronic conditions, such as tuberculosis (TB).
Underlying all human rights is a deep respect for human life. There are those passionate people whose daily lives center around defending and upholding these precious rights so that we can all live in a more caring and just world. Each one of us can take inspiration from this and make choices that demonstrate how our own personal values uphold human rights.
Life keeps throwing us challenges. As we saw with Covid-19, in this globally connected world we are all touched by whatever is happening, no matter how ‘far away’. Resilience is a key quality of those who are best able to respond.
Let’s be clear – there is no quick fix to immediately ‘boost’ your immunity – no ‘wonder supplement’ or ‘power food’ will suddenly strengthen your immune system. However, living a healthy lifestyle does go a long way to keep your immune system strong. This has been found in a recent study showing that exercise may strengthen the antibody response to vaccination – both the COVID-19 vaccines and the annual flu vaccines.
Here in South Africa, there seems to be two active responses on social media to the shock of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. One is a sense of outrage and sadness at the disruption and tragic loss of life. The other seems to be an almost flippant expression of gratitude for being far away ‘down south’ from the conflict zone.
What can those two illustrious South Africans, the late Archbishop Desmond Tutu and ex-President Nelson Mandela teach us about living with cancer?
In 1997 a concerned world heard that the man fondly known as ‘the Arch’, aged 65, had surgery for prostate cancer. A few years later in 2001, we were again shocked to hear that Madiba, aged 83, had also been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
One thing we have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic experience is that we are not happy when we are separated from others – loved ones, colleagues and even people we do not know. We like to go to restaurants, coffee shops and just hang around people. Not only do we like it, but the pandemic has also highlighted how we need connection for our mental and emotional wellbeing. Sometimes it seems that it is only when things are taken away, that we learn to appreciate their value and importance.