Since President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a national lockdown last week, we’ve all been feeling uncertain, to say the least. How will we cope being isolated? Will there be enough essential food products available? Will your parents be okay? There are still so many unanswered questions. Perhaps it’s time to take a lesson from history. Did you know that the Keep Calm and Carry On poster was produced in 1939? The British government used it to raise public moral during World War II.
Well, as we go to war on COVID-19, let’s do the same thing. Stop, take a deep breath and: keep calm and carry on. How? We asked five South African personalities how they’re planning to keep sane during isolation.
Routine is survival
One decision is unanimous amongst all five: stick to a routine. It provides structure and meaning to the seemingly endless days at home. And it makes it feel less like the world’s strangest staycation. For instance, committing to follow an online workout regime each day at 5:30pm gives you something to look forward to, helps time to pass faster and keeps you committed to your fitness goals.
Stay connected with friends and family
Aisha Baker relies on tech to stay in touch with friends and family. WhatsApp, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, SnapChat, Instagram, Netflix Party, they are all in the mix.
Good old WhatsApp groups are her go-to for family, “Sending prayers and motivational videos seems to help so we will definitely keep doing that. Another way my family supports each other is by sharing our lockdown recipes and meal plans. It helps you learn new cooking skills and gives you thrifty ways to use the food you’ve rationed for the next few weeks.”
Life and business must go on, somehow, during this unusual time, so for meetings, Zoom and Microsoft Teams are Aisha’s NBFs. “These systems are life-changing. Plus, I love how I get to see people’s own spaces – and their pets and children.“
Aisha’s newest discovery is Netflix Party. “I didn’t know about this until just a few days ago. It’s a Chrome extension. I love it! I’ve scheduled a couple of movie parties to watch with friends over the next 21 days. It synchronises your playback and lets you chat with each other during the movie.”
Keep your brain busy
Khaya Dlanga’s top tip for staying sane during the lockdown is straightforward: keep busy. “If you have hobbies you’ve neglected, take them up again. You don’t want to be glued to your TV for 21 days.”
Better still, why not take up a new hobby during the lockdown? “Hobbies will definitely make the days feel shorter! Plus there are such amazing online resources, and a couple of great free ones that have recently popped up. I’ve just seen that Yuppiechef is offering all their online cooking courses for free. And, if you’ve been thinking of learning a new language, Duolingo will teach you, free of charge.”
The one thing Khaya has put off for ages is reading and managing his YouTube channel. “I haven’t posted anything in almost 10 years. I also want to write a book. Now there really is no time like the present!”
Stay active and healthy
Siyanda Dzenga says her sanity is very much linked to being able to exercise, and that the two things she can’t live without are a skipping rope and yoga mat. “I want to keep active. Part of my routine is either going for a jog every morning or to the gym. With the lockdown in place, my plan is do some skipping and home workouts to help maintain my fitness.”
As for healthy eating, Siyanda is against stockpiling non-perishable foods, “I bought groceries as I would normally, with a few extra items to minimise the need to have to pop out to the shops. I plan to go to the supermarket twice, at most, during the lockdown.”
“It’s sad, I know, that we won’t be able to splurge on eating out or ordering in, but make sure you have the odd cheat day. There’s nothing stopping you from making your own pizzas or burgers.”
Keep calm and be grateful
Olwethu Leshabane says she plans to stay sane during the lockdown by remaining calm. “I’m going to focus on the things that I’m grateful for, rather than getting caught up in the anxiety. In fact, I’ve declared a ‘negativity fast’ over the next 21 days. You know how it takes 21 days to form a new habit? Well, I’m going to use this time to change my mindset and focus on the positive! I plan to come out stronger.”
She plans to do plenty of video calls to check in on friends and family. “Especially with my mom who is in the USA and is journeying through this very much alone.”
The one thing she made sure to get ahead of the lockdown was her kids’ chronic medication. “And I had to buy comfy granny underwear! Honestly, these times call for two packs of brand-new granny panties and sweat pants!”
Tackle tasks on the back burner
Thapelo Mokoena confesses he’s been putting off his YouTube and online shows for ages. “Time and capacity challenges have been very real. But the time I’ll have during isolation gives me the perfect opportunity to lock myself up in my home studio and press the record button!”
Staying connected to family will also be important. Thapelo plans to make plenty of video calls. “And virtual experiences,” he adds. “One of my brothers actually suggested we host a virtual dinner to keep us all connected. I guess you may as well embrace sending and sharing the many funny memes and jokes that are doing the rounds. As South Africans, one thing we know how to do is use humour to get us through the tough times.”
Be safe, bank from home
Although we all have to do our part and stay home during the lockdown, it doesn’t mean you can’t do your banking. You can use our banking app to pay your accounts, buy airtime or electricity and manage your debit orders.