1. Stick to a routine:
Keep to a routine. Don’t stay in your dressing gown the whole day, even if you think your partner/family is OK with it. You are now sharing a house with your partner/family that don’t normally see you during the day. Bear that in mind. Be mindful, kind, respectful to your own loved ones and family members. Show up for them in the same way as you would show up for your work colleagues. Take care with your appearance, it will instil a sense of pride in you and you will also be better received by those around you. It shows you have made an effort, that you actually care and have self-respect.
2. Set Ground Rules:
If you haven’t done so, make sure you set rules for co-existence. It will save your sanity your relationships with your loved ones in the long run. Who is going to take out the trash and how often (remember to disinfect your bin both before and after you take it out – we don’t want our hard-working City of Cape Town folk to contract Corona Virus from us! And they have also asked that you do this: https://www.iol.co.za/capeargus/news/every-effort-being-made-to-clear-refuse-collection-backlog-says-city-45763056).), who will do the dishes, washing etc and when. Have family meetings regularly to do two main things: a) give and get honest respectful feedback and b) check in with everyone.
3. Do exercise:
First thing in the morning (or last thing in the afternoon, depending on your personal biorhythms) do at least an hour’s exercise. It is possible to do this in a very small space. Several people across the world have run marathon’s and half-marathons on their apartment balcony’s https://www.huffpost.com/entry/marathon-balcony-coronavirus_n_5e7355b6c5b6eab77942df5f; and a PE woman did the Ironman in her back garden, to honour her commitment to her charity, despite the event being cancelled. It is possible!
For motivation to get up and do it, watch the following:
There are literally 100’s of free yoga, Pilates, aerobic and gym workouts on the Internet. Many companies are offering these free in the spirit of promoting health during the Corona Virus crisis. If you don’t have a computer, download some on your smartphone. If you do not have data, let me know and I will send you some workouts to do via scanned documents on WhatsApp. Join challenges on your WhatsApp groups, challenge your neighbours, family, children, parents, friends to join you and set goals you can challenge each other on.
4. Stay Connected:
In the centre of a pandemic and the need for isolation and distance from others, practice physical isolation, not social isolation. Stay connected with friends and family through the various means at your disposal. Most of us have WhatsApp – create WhatsApp groups with friend and family. Remember those that are alone and touch base with them regularly. Put on the video function, so that people can see you – it raises the feeling of connectedness. Have drinks parties (which doesn’t have to be alcohol!), sundowner parties, good morning wake-up parties – you can even share dinners.
Think of a lonely person and offer to buy their groceries/collect their medicine for them, when you next go out. Make sure you take a little closed bucket with disinfectant – either Dettol, or Chorine mixed in water (4 Tbl in 1 Litre of water) to wash the groceries before you hand them over! Wear a mask, wash your hands before placing the items in front of the house, instead of handing them over.
Offer this service to others on a WhatsApp group in your area. Studies have shown that those who do things for other people are less likely to suffer from depression.
5. Learn something new:
Download the app to teach you a new language, learn that dance, learn how to play chess, bake a cake (banana bread, anyone?), etc. Read some books. Audio books are cheaper to download than buying hard-copy books and download Kindle on your phone, many Kindle e-books are much cheaper than hard copy books. Takealot is selling books as essential items and delivering them. Dig through your stash of books and read all those self-help books you have collected over the years.
6. Do some gardening.
a) Grow something:
People do the most amazing urban gardens on the tiniest of spaces. If you forgot to buy seeds, then dry them from your vegetables and fruit you are currently eating. Dry out tomatoes, beans, peas, butternut, flower seeds, let some of your potatoes sprout in a dark drawer, plant these and watch with wonderment as new life sprouts out of these seeds. Egg cartons make wonderful seedling trays, as do many other plastic containers the vegetables came in as many of them have aerating holes in them. Working with soil exudes oxytocin – a happy drug (as most gardeners have known for years).
b) Create a compost heap.
An old plastic bucket in the back garden will do the trick, as will a rubbish bin. Coffee grinds, tea leaves and all your vegetable off-cuts make amazing compost and you will feel righteous and have saved money all at the same time.
7. Tidy your fridge/garage/cupboard/office/freezer.
Tidy the house and do all the DIY you have put off for so long. Create a TO DO list and do something little every day. Simply finishing a task will give you a sense of achievement and will add to your feeling of general well-being and happiness (if you haven’t planned this, some of the hardware will be hard to come by, but it is amazing how creative you can get with what you have). Ask YouTube for ideas – there is literally nothing that has not already been thought of on YouTube.
For inspiration, watch some Pinterest tips on saving space/saving ingredients in your fridge, tidying up your garage, tidying your cupboards. The tips people give around these are quite amazing.
8. Look after your mental health:
a) Don’t watch too much news. It is depressing and can really get you down. Watch only what is necessary to keep yourself informed. Join Twitter and follow some key people/accounts, like the City of Cape Town, the Department of Labour, Covid-19 news SA and some journalists you like and follow. For the rest, it is just noise and will take you down the Alice-in-Wonderland rabbit hole. Look for positive articles and read those.
b) If you are feeling depressed and lonely,
✓ keep a diary and start every day with a gratitude list. List 5 things you are grateful for. This will instantly lift your mood. Say them out loud during the day until you believe them.
✓ Get up and do some exercise, or just get biofeedback from standing outside (the birds have all come back).
✓ Connect with someone you love/like. If there is no-one like that, connect to your local WhatsApp group and do something good for someone else – even if it is just speaking to them and listening. Many people have no-one who will really listen to them. Listen without wanting to solve anything or give advice. Simply listen, acknowledge and empathise.
✓ Every evening list the good things that happened to you during the day and that you can be grateful for. Even if you think there is nothing to be grateful for, there is – there really is.
✓ Make a TO-DO list for the following day. Sometimes we worry about the unknown and setting goals for yourself, takes the sting out of the unknown.
✓ Set some of your life goals and work out how you are going to achieve these.
If you really struggle, call me and I will offer some coaching. Send me a WhatsApp and we can set a convenient time.
9. Be frugal and live within your means
Do not splash out more than necessary on anything. This is the time to be very careful with your money – we have no idea how long this is going to last and to run out of money, cannot be an option. Save, save, save and spend nothing. Have a sobering discussion with your family and get their buy-in on this point.
10. Make arrangements with banks and other creditors.
Never wait until it is too late, to approach your creditors. It is better to approach them, than be reactive and wait for a letter of demand from them. Creditors appreciate the openness and will not be heavy-handed with you, they will rather reward you for your honesty. Be realistic about how long you need a break for and ask for cover, overdraft facilities, holidays on payments etc, with as many creditors as you can. Check your insurances on your store cards and check if you have income protection in your insurance fine print. Do not cancel your car insurance – rather ask for a temporary reduction due to the risk being less as you are driving around less.
Good luck and try to think of something positive and say something nice to someone every day. Most importantly, be kind to yourself!