Former journalist, Sthembile Gasa, who is now teaching English in South Korea gives us tips for handling a lock-down PICTURE: Facebook
Former journalist, Sthembile Gasa, who is now teaching English in South Korea gives us tips for handling a lock-down PICTURE: Facebook

Effective tips to help you cope with life under lockdown

By Buhle Mbonambi Time of article published Mar 24, 2020

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South Africans are practicing social distancing and working from home after President Ramaphosa announced a 21-day lock-down in the country. 

Schools are closed for the next month and with the rate of infections increasing, more people are going to be staying at home. So how does one handle all the time we now have to spend at home? 

We spoke to Sthembile Gasa, who is originally from Durban, but is now based in South Korea, where she teaches English. 

The country has one of the highest infection rates in the world, after Italy, China and Iran. Reports state that the numbers of new infections are starting to decrease, which is giving hope to many. 

When your government told you that it was time to self-isolate and work remotely, did your fears about covid-19 kick in?

Yes and no, I suppose the alarm made me realise how seriously the government was taking it. I was mostly relieved, since I work in a school with hundreds of kids and I felt that everybody’s safety was being prioritised.

When did you realise how serious this virus is?

When news of the “super spreader”(the one old lady who infected a number of people from a church in the city that’s 45 minutes away from me) got out and the infections kept rising every day. When it hit our city, we were receiving a series of alerts on our phones on new infections and notifications of the infected’s movements around the city. It made it so real and a lot of the infections were happening in places I was close to. That was really scary.

So what does one do during this time? What did you do to pass the time?

The first few days I binged on YouTube and Netflix and tried to avoid the news as much as possible (the phone alerts were all I needed) but that gets old quickly. I finished a book in a week, which was quite an embarrassing feat for me at this point. I’m trying to follow through on some new year’s resolutions and have been watching some self development videos, as well as listening to podcasts. I cooked a lot more, which I really enjoyed. I’m terrible at working out at home, so if you’re into that you could do that.

Any tips you can share on how to get through it?

Depending on whether you have to work or not, you could take the time to learn a new skill, read, make sure you speak to people going through it as well and share how you are feeling. It’s easy for your mind to slide to the dark side if you are by yourself and you might be inclined to over-think. Schedule video chats with your friends, make a tik tok video, clear your closet.

What, do you think, are the lessons that we should take from this outbreak?

What you do affects others. We have to take care and look out for each other. Wash your hands! We also need to revise leave conditions - it’s a bit of a mess, in that regard, here.

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