Here in South Africa, our world started to turn upside on Sunday 15 March when our president announced early school closure and asked for social distancing. And then it turned upside down when a 21-day lockdown was announced starting midnight 26 March. Many started working from home, school children are at home, and the rest have to be at home to try and limit the spread of the coronavirus. Many people are struggling as they try to figure out how to adapt to these changes. I’m going to share some strategies we implemented to help us with this transition.
1. Make a schedule and stick to it
Stick to a routine. Set your alarm for a specific time and have your day planned. We still get up early and exercise first thing in the morning. Get dressed for the day and have scheduled times for work, homeschooling, cleaning of the house and meals. Do it every day from Monday to Friday and relax over the weekend to still have the typical feel of a working week.
2. Get dressed for the day
It was mentioned in point 1, but I want to say it on its own. Slumbering in pyjamas the whole day every day is a good recipe for you to feel depressed and lose your love for life. Nothing beats a sad, useless feeling than to get up, get ready and work with a plan.
3. Plan your meals
With the whole family at home the entire day, every day, a lot of more planning needs to go into meals and your grocery shopping. Not having proper nutritious sit-down meals together results in kids being always hungry and snacking. That goes for the adults as well. With well-planned meals, the family stays out of the fridge. Try and reduce sugar consumption; it just calls for the next sugar hit. We (the adults) also plan for a 16-20 hour fasting every day.
4. Create a list of activities
Boredom and stress make one reach for the pantry and fridge. Have a list of things to do at hand which does not involve food to do like:
- Organize your cupboard
- Work in the garden
- Clean out your storage room
- Read a book
Having a list of activities prepared will result in you feeling organized, less overwhelmed and more in control and relaxed.
5. Include a stress reduction activity in your day
Many activities reduce stress, and you have to experiment which ones work the best for you. Make time to be still, reflect inwards and be grateful. For me, this happens early morning while the rest of the family is still asleep. These activities can be:
- Deep breathing
6. Connect with your community
We are social creatures, and while it’s essential to practise social distancing, you don’t want to disconnect with your community. Use technology to keep up with your community and friends. You can use services like WhatsApp, FaceTime and social media to chat with family and friends anywhere in the world.
7. Get some fresh air, sunshine and exercise
Nothing drives away the dark clouds like some fresh air, sunshine and a good workout. Vitamin D has a positive effect on mood and immunity. Find any sunny spot, even if it is on a balcony and sit at least 15 minutes a day in the sun. Exercise has proven positive effects on your mood and gives you a dopamine hit. We love to exercise outside first thing in the morning in the early sun rays.
Last but not least. Get proper sleep. Try not to binge-watch movies late into the night. Go to bed the same time every night as with a typical working week. Keep the routine and try to get a solid 7-8 hours every night. Not enough sleep wreaks havoc with your mood and also affects your immune function.
Life is uncertain at the moment and makes for stressful times. Together as a community, we can get through this and keep each other motivated.