At the end of 2019, there were many of us who were glad that one of the worst years was finally over. For me, 2020 was the year I was going to finally focus on me. I was going to use this year to restart my career after almost 3 years, to finally make some progress on my qualification, and to get healthy again. I also had the ambitious plan of reading 52 books this year. Yes, you read that right. I planned to read a book a week.
Our year started off as planned, with our move back to South Africa. We organised everything before the end of year closures so our only priority was to pack, book our flights home. Once we were here, we looked for a place and moved in. We bought the essentials that we needed in between applying for a job, my husband visited his family, and I started making our house a home. It was sometime between us preparing our new start here that everything started going wrong. We all know now about the global pandemic known as COVID-19 and how it is wreaking havoc on not only our economy, but the lives of millions of people nationwide.
Here in South Africa, we have been on lockdown from Friday, 27th March 2020 and I am definitely planning on using this time to get back on track with my yearly goals. Our current lockdown period is for 21 days and will end at midnight on the 17th April 2020. While I am hopeful that the lockdown will see a decrease in the number of infections, if it doesn’t help then the country will see the epidemic cripple the economy and the people living here.
During the lockdown, my mum and brother have been staying with us. My husband is using my home office so I am confined to the lounge in order to do my studying and blogging which works fine for me, my brother is sitting at his desktop which we have placed right next to the TV and my mum is on the couch next to me constantly keeping tabs on the news and giving us regular updates in between doing her own learning and reading.
My plan is to take it one day at a time. At the moment, things are very uncertain and my days are packed with taking care of my family while they are in my home. With that said, I am maintaining my usual hours that I am awake and trying to work while everyone else is working so that when no one is working, I can take that time out to do other things that don’t require a quiet environment.
I know that it will take time to adjust to having extra people in the house with me, I am usually alone 5 days a week while I am still looking for a job so it is an adjustment for me. I suppose it is good practice for when I have a full time job again with all of the people constantly talking to me and asking me for things that they need. I know that I will miss the silence but I would much rather have a fuller house and know that my family is fed and healthy than the uncertainty of not knowing what’s really going on. My mum has a habit of hiding things from me and now there is definitely no way of hiding anything which is a good thing.
So what am I actually going to do during the lockdown? Well for one I plan to get a lot of studying done so that as soon as the lockdown is lifted, I am ready to write the last two exams of this level so I can finally start with the second level. I prefer to study in the mornings so that will be the time I block out to hit the books. Obviously I am the one cooking in the household so I plan to do a lot of prep work the night before so that I can save time while I am actually doing the cooking. I also have been making one meal a day, but enough to feed us twice. It saves time as well as electricity and it makes it easier to plan meals for the rest of the lockdown. I also planned on stocking up on cooked staples like rice and pasta which are easy to store and reheat when needed but our household items have not yet arrived so hopefully when we need to go to the shop, we are able to purchase a few containers to store these items because it will help a lot.
I plan to work on my blog in the afternoons, the graveyard shift when I find it easier to be creative and write and while I am not sure how many posts I will put up each week, I will be working on posts almost daily. I also hope to read for a bit every evening close to bedtime so that I can form that habit again. I used to journal every day for a few months. I started at the beginning September 2019 and with the whirlwind that was our move, I seemed to have lost touch with journaling, I haven’t stopped completely but it just doesn’t seem as much of a priority that it used to be. I still attest to all of the benefits of journaling but I am also an advocate of using tools when needed and I do not feel in emotional crisis at this point in time. Since our move back, I have been feeling a lot better emotionally and have been working on checking in with myself at least once a week. I have a strong suspicion that I might need to go back to daily journaling towards the end of this 21 day lockdown, maybe sooner rather than later to avoid any issues. There is nothing wrong with needing some time out with family or friends, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Last, but not least, I plan to be as active as possible during the lockdown. It is so easy to take a seat and not get off the couch (or bed for those who have TV’s in their bedrooms) and that is never good for your health. While walking in the street is definitely not advisable with the current rules that we have in place, there are a lot of YouTube videos that can help you get a quick or a longer workout in on a daily basis depending on what fitness level you are currently on. It is also easy to be able to track what foods make you feel good and what don’t. There are a lot of fruits and vegetables that can be frozen and thawed as needed, or even better, make a smoothie for breakfast to make sure that you are getting those vitamins and minerals that your body needs. I would always advise vitamins especially when you are not able to get out and get some sunshine and fresh air. This is also a good time to declutter your home, see what is essential to your daily living and what you can live without. I guarantee you that decluttering will make your home feel a lot more spacious and will save you time and money in the long run.
To those who are self isolating in countries where there is no lockdown in place, thank you for being proactive and protecting us. To those of us who are in lockdown, we can do this together, and to those who have no regard for the rest of us, well I don’t have many nice words for you.
I want to take this opportunity to tell each and every one of you who are feeling lonely that if you need someone to have a chat with, my email is always open.
Stay safe out there.
Until next time…