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Self-isolating? Home is where the health is

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Self-distancing is becoming the new norm as the coronavirus spreads, so here are tips to make staying at home less difficult

Home, now more than ever, is a refuge from the outside world. Covid-19 is in South Africa, and to limit its spread it has been recommended we selfdistance ourselves from others, and remain in our homes as much as possible.

Schools and universities have closed, and more people are working from home. It is important to make your home comfortable and think of ways to make life easier for you and your family in the coming weeks. This is when “cocooning” – removing yourself from usual social environments and taking comfort within your own home – might help.

Here are some tips: 

Unpack the games: With children home from school and you probably working from home, it’s important to ensure young ones entertain themselves while you work. Create a games and creative zone where they can have fun, paint, create and do school work.

Get them involved with cooking and cleaning and teach them about the work you do. It’s a great opportunity to get to know each other better. What’s your child’s way of unwinding? Favourite colour? Children will pick up fear vibes so create safe spaces where you can calmly discuss the new normal. Have talent shows and a fun reward system for all of you.

Perhaps the one with the most stars for three days is treated to something special by the rest of the household on day four. 

Home Office: Many will move from an office to work from home. It’s important to set up a space that will be your work zone. This has to be a no-go area for others so you have privacy. Many of us do not have spare rooms, so it’s important to create rules and possibly even quiet hours.

We all have to be more flexible. If there is a conference call and you hear someone’s child in the background, be understanding. These are extraordinary times and everyone is trying their best.

Eat Well: You don’t have to survive on dried goods and baked beans. Make a bulk batch of tomato pasta sauce that you can portion out and create different dishes. Serve plain with pasta, use a portion to make a bolognese sauce or put one in a casserole. Load it with vegetables for a health boost.

Make batches of homemade veg soup and freeze, ready to cook. Freeze fresh fruit to make smoothies.

Treat Yourself: There’s no reason you can’t stock up on tasty goodies to cheer you up, and don’t forget all-important hot beverages. Just try not to get through all your supplies in or or two sittings.

Now is also the perfect time to take out recipes you’ve been meaning to try. Get the children involved to keep them entertained for an afternoon of mixing, baking and icing. Hopefully Eskom will play along and give us a break from load shedding.

Exercise: Being isolated and worried about the current state of affairs means you have to take care of yourself mentally and physically. Exercise can give you an endorphin boost and there are many exercises you can do at home. Set up a comfortable space in your home or garden where you can have a good workout. 

Check out YouTube for aerobic, yoga or pilates routines. Download meditations and breathing videos, and sit and meditate, focusing on deep, cleansing breathing. Practice mindfulness and teach your children this.

Clean, clean, clean: Giving your house a good springclean can protect against the spread of germs and it will be much more pleasant to be stuck in a fresh, tidy house than a dusty one.

Housework burns calories, can pass an afternoon and provides chores for bored children. This might also be a good time to whip your garden into shape so you can still enjoy fresh air. Plant herbs to add flavour to your meals.

Make good use of technology: Be aware of your mental health and don’t spend all your time online, tracking the latest Covid-19 news. It’s good to be informed, but not to the extent that you work yourself into a state of anxiety. The same goes for the TV.

With sporting events cancelled, don’t just keep the news channels on loop. Rather catch up on those series you’ve been meaning to watch, or binge-watch some of your favourite movies.

Take online courses – many places are offering free or highly discounted online courses.

Download some How-To videos for you and the family. Make your living room comfortable and cosy, get the snacks out and settle down for some feel-good films or interesting courses.

Create zones in the home: If you’re stuck in the house with your family, it’s important you all get some alone time to avoid driving one another up the wall. Create chill out zones in your home – perhaps a bean bag or armchair away from family activity?

A chair outside on the patio or in the garden? If someone needs time out, they can put on headphones and listen to music or read their favourite book.

If you are alone: Reach out to friends via technology. Schedule a zoom party with a batch of friends. Join online groups. Be part of a positive and uplifting WhatsApp community. Join a book club online.

With modern technology, self-distancing doesn’t have to be doom and gloom. Join international Facebook support groups or groups of likeminded positive people. Let’s use the tools at our disposal for the upliftment and betterment of ourselves. Reread old classics, or books you may have started but not finished before.

Community: Check up on each other and neighbours who may be scared and who do not have access to technology. Get an elderly neighbour online so they can keep in contact.

Buy groceries for someone who can’t get out. Many retail or online delivery services are backed up until next month, so be that person who looks out for a sick or elderly neighbour.

Most importantly, take care of yourselves and each other and follow the guidelines suggested by the South African government and the World Health Organisation.

Visit SA Coronavirus or Coronavirus disease (Covid-19) Pandemic for more information.

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