Strange times are upon us, strange times indeed. The majority of the world’s population has been confined to their homes where we are being bombarded with statistics of increasing numbers of those infected, rates at which testing is taking place and home-workouts that are guaranteed to leave you buff before the lockdown is over. While some of us take to twitter to discuss the impending economic doom and others take to the kitchen for gourmet coffee, it’s as good a time as any to sit back and take stock of everything that’s going on with us.
We have been affected by COVID-19 both as a species and as individuals. We can turn on the news or go online and find out how the virus affects us as a whole but to find out how it affects us personally we are going to have to look into ourselves. Ever since the first person confirmed to have COVID-19 was reported in South Africa, I have been in a state of constant anxiety. At first, it was evident, with grand plans and drastic measures. Now, after all the measures are in place, all the plans have been laid out, there is a constant thin layer of perpetual anxiety that I have come to recognise in myself, in my family members that I live with as well as in friends and family I’ve spoken to over the phone.
South Africa has been in a nationwide lockdown for almost 21 days and till now social media has been our go-to distraction from the virus and all that comes with it. We, as a people, have an awesome ability to have a good laugh at any situation we find ourselves in. It helps us to get up and move forward, to get on with our day and do what needs to be done. What I noticed is that after President Ramaphosa announced a 2-week extension of the lockdown, everything got a lot quieter. The jokes and memes aren’t flowing as easily and the tenseness of the situation seems a lot more evident.
I recently read a very heartfelt post by a local writer, Meg Carrie, where she expresses the comforting words a friend had shared with her during difficult times and which she goes on to share with us, “It won’t be forever”. A simple sentiment yet how true it is. This is not our lives forever. We are going to take care of ourselves and our families the best that we can and take all the necessary precautions to ensure that we are doing our part for society, then we leave the rest up to the scientists, healthcare and essential workers. We will get through this.
Let us take comfort in more than viral videos. Let’s take comfort in the fact that each one of us is doing everything in our power to keep our communities safe. We know that the virus is out there and it has us on the ropes right now, we don’t need to keep checking what the number of infected are every hour of the day, in every country across the world. When our country, or any country for that matter, does reach a turning point we will all know about it, trust me.
Let’s take some time to put our hearts and minds at ease by following the guidelines that have been put in place for our own protection. We can stay home, go out only if we really need to, wipe down our goods and wash our hands. If we each do these simple things we can rest at ease knowing that we have done the best we can for ourselves and our people.
I recently came across a post on Instagram that said something along the lines of if you don’t come out of this lockdown with new skills, your side hustle started or more knowledge, then you never lacked time, you lacked discipline. As much as I understand the sentiment, I suddenly felt a rush of anxiety as soon as I read this, I didn’t know I could fail the lockdown. As much as this could be a great opportunity for some people to do something they’ve been wanting to get to for ages but never had the time, it’s most important for us to take good care of ourselves during this period of uncertainty.
Take a moment to clear your mind and realise the things that are most important to you, because what this time in lockdown has forced us to do is learn what we truly can and cannot live without. Spend a few minutes each day stretching because let’s face it, we do spend a large portion of our days seated in our favourite spots. Get some fresh air and drink extra water. Appreciate the quietness that suddenly surrounds us all. Phone a friend. Do what makes you happy within the guidelines and do the best you can with the circumstances. I believe that as long as we come out of this lockdown and go forward with our minds, bodies and souls in good health then we have definitely made excellent use of our time.
Dear reader, it’s going to be okay. Stay strong and push on through. You are tough, resilient and have the support of the entire nation behind you through our collective efforts. We are going to see this through and come out on the other end a better, stronger people.
Till next time…
Be wild, weird and wonderful.
PS. My inbox is always open for those who need someone to talk to in these difficult times or at any time for that matter. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The link to Meg Carrie’s blog post that I mentioned earlier: