On the evening of 23 March 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a nation-wide lock down in light of the rapid spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) across the country. The lock down will take place for 21 days from midnight on Thursday 26 March to Thursday 16 April.

Many measures have been implemented including that no one may leave their homes unless they are buying food or medicine, or if they are seeking medical care or collecting social grants. Further, all shops and businesses will be closed except supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, laboratories, petrol stations and health care providers.

Most South Africans now have to work and study from home and while this can be seen as a bit of a break from the rat race of a profit-driven society, let’s face it – being at home all the time can sometimes be really lonely and boring.

Here are a few ways you can stay productive while being at home:

1. Catch up on some reading
In the normal hustle and bustle of everyday life, people struggle to find the time to actually sit down with a good read. However, now that most of us will be spending more time at home, there will be more opportunity to rekindle that love of literature. While libraries will be closed because of the lock down, the Fundza.mobi site always has a wide array of stories to entertain us, from folktales, to poetry and romance – have a look, you’ll be entertained for hours!

2. Start and stick to a study routine
Inevitably, we all need to rest. Whether you are a high school or university student or pursuing post-graduate studies like me, it is important to take a break and recuperate after the hurly burly of an exhausting term or semester. However, too much of a break can be bad and when classes or online studies resume, you don’t want to be in a cloud of laziness, struggling to get back into a good study routine. Even dedicating three hours a day to studying can be sufficient if you use your time wisely. Study in intervals and reward yourself after an hour of consistent focus. Your dream should not perish just because you may not be attending physical classes for a while.

3. Enjoy some family fun
Many a time, we get so caught up in our own dreams and ambitions that we forget about the people who helped us overcome hurdles in our lives. Last year, when I was completing my degree in journalism and working as a reporter for the Cape Argus, I would leave for work early in the morning and come home after 9pm on the days I had classes. I barely saw or paid any attention to my family members or how I treated them when I was overcome with stress. This is the time to make up for that. Have family game and movie nights, normalise sitting and having meals together to discuss what is going in on each other’s lives. Speak about the stress you feel about the coronavirus, laugh, love one another and regain that familial connection once lost. Your family members are important, cherish them!

4. Meditate, regain your spirituality
During our stressful, everyday lives, we sometimes forget to be grateful for our blessings. I am a Muslim and belief in and showing gratitude to my creator is very important to me. But sometimes, when things don’t quite work out as I had planned, I find myself being so caught up in trying to find solutions to my problems that I forget to show gratitude to Allah, the Most High. Now, you may not be a very spiritual or religious person, but maybe having more time to yourself can change that. Even showing gratitude to your family members and people who have positively impacted your life is a start. This is the time for us to de-stress, meditate and realise what is truly important in this world.

5. Practice self-care
Self-care can be anything from finding the time to do your hair and nails to keeping fit and keeping your immune system healthy. When we’re busy, we often neglect ourselves and our health, both physical and emotional – now’s the time to change that and start new, positive self-love and self-care habits!

6. Start journaling
Writing has always been my escape during tough times. While the coronavirus has everyone on edge, you may not want to share your anxiety with friends or family members and in this case, writing or keeping a journal can really help. You do not need to write much, maybe just a paragraph every day about how you’re feeling, your fears and hopes – trust me, it can be really therapeutic!

7. Spring clean your home
It is really important to maintain good hygiene practices, especially in your home where you’ll likely be spending most of your time. Clean and disinfect each room thoroughly, more especially the bathroom and areas where food is prepared. Get the entire family involved and make it a fun activity where prizes for the tidiest and freshest smelling room can be won. Living in a healthy environment will also help set your mind at ease about your family and their exposure to germs.

Let’s all wash our hands with soap and use hand sanitizer as often as possible. When coughing or sneezing, use a tissue or your elbow to prevent the spread of germs. If you suspect that you have had contact with the coronavirus, you can call 0800 029 999 to determine the next steps to take. For any information on the coronavirus, you can WhatsApp the National Department of Health at 060 012 3456.

Most importantly, it is important not to panic! As a country, we will get through this pandemic, with faith, hope and following the national guidelines and hygiene practices.


Tell us: What are some of the ways you will be keeping busy at home during the lock down?