I doubt it’s an understatement to say that the next couple of weeks, and possibly months, are going to be hard for everyone.
The announcement by president Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday that the country is to enter a full-scale lockdown brought home just how serious this pandemic is.
While 21 days of never leaving the house may not sound all that bad at first, it is actually a lot harder than you might think and if you’re not adequately prepared, you may find that the resulting cabin fever and isolation can become a danger in of itself.
One of the first things you should do before hunkering down is establish some sort of daily routine. It can be as strict or as loose as you like, but the important thing is that it gives you some sort of structure to work around.
A good routine will prevent you from falling into lethargy and boredom, which is important if you’re going to be stuck inside for extended periods of time.
On a similar note, try and set yourself daily goals to accomplish. What they are can be entirely up to you, and try putting them up somewhere where they are clearly visable. These goals will give you something to work towards each day and will help keep you motivated.
It is also important to remember that a self-quarantine does not have to mean complete isolation. Humans are inherently social animals, and avoiding meaningful contact with others for too long will begin to have negative impacts on your mental health.
Now obviously you may not be able invite them over for tea just yet but you can still talk with people over the phone or through any number of similar apps. Having that kind of support network is crucial at the best of times, but is absolutely vital during periods of widespread panic and uncertainty like now.
Another way to stay connected is to establish some form of mutual aid group with those in your area.
The lockdown is only going to get rougher as it drags out, and a lot of people will end up struggling as money and provisions begin to run low.
Now more than ever, we should be turning to others for support during these trying times. Even if it’s just a WhatsApp group where you all check in on each other, we need to be supporting those who may not be in as fortunate a position as us.
Finally, you shouldn’t forget the importance of keeping fit and healthy. Gyms may be closed, sure, but that isn’t an excuse to not exercise. For a more in-depth look at how you can get a good workout at home, see this week’s Sports section.