With the national lockdown, South Africans are forced to apply social distancing to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Being isolated from the world can be very challenging, especially during such a crisis. After a few days in forced quarantine or self-isolation, you may start feeling a lack of social contact, regardless if you’re working from home or not, and that could make you feel anxious. And that’s normal.
According to Elsabe Booyens, a study about the psychological effects of the SARS virus that hit
China in the 2000s showed there was a “high prevalence of psychological distress” for those who were quarantined.
People experienced a sense of isolation. “People also didn’t feel that they got consistent or accurate information [from the media], and that led to a lot of fear, anger, frustration, and stress. A lot of people felt very depressed by all of it, and a lot of people had nightmares.” Dr Fanie van der Linde.
Although technology makes it easier for us to cope with the current lockdown, we still have our own challenges and we have to be prepared for what lies ahead.
So, how do you stay positive and productive during the lockdown?
What can you do to keep yourself safe and sane during these difficult times?
1. Routine, routine, routine
It’s easy to lose track of the days in a week if you don’t step out the house every once in a while. And being stuck in a confined place can have a toll on you mentally.
We’ve all been taken away from our daily work, school and home routines and have to cope with a new, temporary way of life. The United Nations recommends that you create a “flexible but consistent daily routine”.
Create a comfortable daily routine for yourself:
- To ensure that you stay productive and stick to a routine, create a plan for yourself.
- Set your alarm to go off at the same time as you would on a normal working day. If your commute to work was lengthy, use that extra time to sleep in a bit little longer if you’d like.
- Get in the habit of doing yoga or meditation before you start your day.
- Take a shower, get dressed and brush your teeth like you would any other day.
- If you’re working from home take coffee and smoke breaks like you would at the office, and of course take your full lunch break away from the computer screen. If you’re not currently working use this time to build your skillset and find online jobs.
- Make dinner like you normally would and spend the evening relaxing.
- Keep the same sleep routine throughout the lockdown.
- Stay as productive as possible throughout weekends.
Stick to a routine that works for you. For example, if you are most productive in the mornings, use that time for the important tasks and use the afternoon for more mundane tasks like emails.
2. No pyjamas while working
Staying in your pyjamas is a BIG no-no. Although this may be comfortable and exciting for a day or two, this is not productive.
You have to get in a working mindset and that means you have to get dressed and feel motivated to work. Your pyjamas will not give you the motivation you need to be as productive as you can be.
3. Connect with family and friends
Being isolated can get pretty lonely, especially if you’re an extrovert. Luckily we’ve got technology on our side to help us get our social fix.
Technology allows us to stay connected from anywhere in the world. Today we can use it to our advantage.
Contact your loved ones on a regular basis using video calls and social platforms. Communicating with your loved ones will help you stay in tune with what’s going on in their lives and boost your morale during this difficult time.
If you’re working from home it’s important to schedule regular video meetings to catch up on what needs to happen and touch base on how everyone’s doing.
4. Exercise as much as possible
We know…not everyone enjoys exercising. But in times like these staying active is important. Even if it’s just walking around in the house, walking through a grocery store, walking the stairs in your etc.
Take some time every day to commit to doing 5-minute stretches or yoga. You don’t have to do anything intense. Exercising help your blood to flow more evenly which helps to stay mentally sharp and keeps your body strong.
There are a lot of YouTube videos that will guide you through a simple home workout routine. So you don’t have an excuse.
If you don’t want to do it alone, get your friends to involved as well, and motivate each other throughout the lockdown.
5. Now you’ve got the time to finally do it
Now that you’re in lockdown you can finally get to the things you’ve always wanted to do. And you have no excuses not to them either.
If you wanted to spend more time with your kids, start a new project, catch up on the latest series, start a new hobby etc. now you’ve got the time to finally do what you’ve always wanted.
If you’re a business owner or wish to start a new business now is the perfect time to roll up your sleeves and get busy.
If your business has been affected by the lockdown use this time to strategize how you’ll get yourself out of this mess. Think about product development, marketing campaigns, online sales, revamping your business model etc.
Think about ways to improve your business to cater for what lies ahead.
6. Unplug yourself from the media
Being disconnected from the media during such a difficult time can be difficult. It is natural to be curious about the things going on around you. But with the news flooded with negativity and fake news about the COVID-19 pandemic, it is easy to feel frustrated and helpless during this time.
Set out a specific time of the week to catch up on what’s going on around you. Limit your news intake to avoid negative perceptions around you.
Stay on your property for as long as possible and only leave if you really need to.
We hope you’re doing well during the national lockdown. Keep being positive and motive others around you.
#staysafe and #stayhome.