South Africa entered lockdown on Friday, 27th April 2020. And while I’m fortunate enough to work from home, my mother was still going to an office until the lockdown was implemented. It’s been over a week now and while it feels like not much has changed for me (I still work from home, don’t leave my flat very often) a lot has.
I’d been keeping track of the COVID-9 crisis since around January 2020, because two of my best friends live in Asia (Japan and Hong Kong, respectively) and I think that made me aware of how dangerous this all was. Without realising it, I started social distancing from early February (prior to any cases in SA), because I had a ton of work coming in and didn’t really want to go out.
But now that we’re here – I don’t think I’ll be able to leave my home when we get to a post-lockdown reality. ‘Invisible’ threats are way more frightening to me and take a toll on one’s overall mental health. You know it’s there but what can you do to stop it?
South Africa already has an alarming GBV/femicide epidemic but at least I can avoid men somewhat by distrusting them all. Germs? Illness? That’s a whole other story.
Some days are easier than others. But the major thing has a been the shift in perspective. Things I used to worry about just don’t seem as important. And I really want to focus on my health and finances. I’m aiming to have a solid four month emergency fund in the future because honestly, the peace of mind I’ll have with that in place? Priceless.
I’m very grateful to be in lockdown with my mom, in a beautiful flat with a wraparound balcony. We don’t feel stifled and we’re in a safe space, with plenty of plants. But the underlying anxiety is hard to avoid. I don’t like leaving my house because everything is so tense. People are afraid and it feels heavy.
I’ve given up alcohol for the next while, because I don’t really enjoy it when I’m stressed or low. I try to keep my space clean and before lockdown I did a small drop off at The Haven. I listen to a lot of podcasts during the day while I work, and listen to ASMR, sound bath and art restoration videos before bed. I try and keep a routine that works for me.
I’m aiming to read all my outstanding books and potentially finish a long overdue project. Other than that, I’m going to listen to my body and stop trying to work without a break. This time isn’t just about productivity or getting shit done. Sometimes we’ve just got to sit with our feelings in peace.
I hope you’re well.
Thanks for reading, always.