For many South Africans, lockdown means finding a way to live in a confined space with family or partners for 21 days.
Keeping the kids entertained, deciding on the TV schedule, and dealing with the inevitable boredom is going to be tough, but at least you’re all facing it together.
Some South Africans, however, will be going it alone.
Self-isolation is already an emotionally and mentally taxing activity even if you aren’t entirely by yourself.
For those of you who find yourself a little lonely over the next few weeks, VICE has some tips for staying sane.
1. Make a distinction between being alone, loneliness and solitude.
2. Tell people if you’re feeling lonely.
Reach out to friends and family. It can be hard to open up to people, but now isn’t the time to let your pride get in the way of your wellbeing.
3. Communication – quality over quantity
You might be tempted to spend a lot of time on social media, but connecting with people in small snippets and communicating through ‘likes’ and comment threads takes a lot of time and energy. Rather take the time to deepen more established relationships. Check-in on family, organise a Skype chat with a friend or set up a Netflix Party.
There are also other sites that make it easier to watch movies and shows together – see here.
4. Don’t self-criticise
This is not the time to unpack all of your perceived flaws. You’re perfect just the way you are.
Take this time to focus on your positive attributes. In the words of RuPaul, “if you can’t love yourself, how the hell you going to love somebody else?”
5. Intentionally choose solitude
Getting comfortable being alone takes practice. Making the choice to be alone with your thoughts for a set period of time (with a set end time) will help you to feel more in control.
6. Try a new hobby, get to that reading list, learn a new language
You’re going to have plenty of time on your hands, so use it productively. If you’ve always wanted to learn how to knit, now is the time to do it. That reading list you’ve been meaning to start on? Make a dent in it. Filling your time with things that you enjoy will help the days go by faster and you’ll emerge a better, more accomplished person at the end of it.
Hey, why not take Yale’s most popular course of all time? It’s free online.
7. Don’t drink the days away
Keep a handle on how much alcohol you’re consuming. Maybe limit it to a drink with a friend via Skype or video chat. Alcohol can increase feelings of anxiety and depression, so it isn’t a great idea in large quantities over the next 21 days.
Besides, you won’t be able to buy during the lockdown, so you have to make it last.
Finally, ask someone to check in on you from time to time. It helps to know that there’s someone out there who cares.
While you’re at it, why not enter this competition to win jewellery worth R25 000?
Something shiny to look forward to should help ease the struggle.
And, if you really want to have a little fun, use the TIMON app to chat to a celebrity to find out what they’re up to during lockdown.
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