There is no doubt that the lockdown and isolation, related to COVID-19, can seem overwhelming to many of us. It is a completely new and unfamiliar experience for us all.
I believe in a positive approach and response to the current situation. If we all adopt this approach, we can get through this together. Each one of us has a role to play in society – it is up to the individual to decide whether he/she wants to contribute to the current situation in a positive manner, or not. Do you choose to spread hope and encouragement, or would you rather add to the existing panic and anxiety?
Let’s be the ones who uplift our families, friends and community.
My approach consists of two main aspects:
Caring for others
- During the remaining eight days of our first term, I tried my best to have all the materials my learners needed for home-schooling ready and available before the school closed, knowing that this would make home-schooling at least a little bit easier for everyone involved. In addition, I was available to answer any queries or concerns the parents raised via e-mail. As home-schooling is a new experience for most of our learners and parents and they probably found themselves “thrown in the deep end” in this regard, I looked up and forwarded useful information on this topic, as well as various activities to keep the children busy and tried to reassure the parents that we would get through this together.
- Knowing that social media can be accessed worldwide and that many family members and friends (here in South Africa and abroad) follow my posts, I made a conscious decision to share content with either useful information regarding the COVID-19 Virus and how to look after yourself during this time, or posts with motivational or comical content, to create a more positive outlook, on Facebook.
Self-care is just as important as looking after others. I believe I found a good and balanced routine to keep myself busy in a meaningful manner:
- Starting the morning by getting dressed and ready (as for any other day), having a healthy breakfast and listening to some worship music.
- Finding something useful to do – for e.g. cleaning the house, doing the washing, answering mails and getting other work-related things done at home, finally attending to things that I’ve neglected lately, etc.
- Doing something fun for myself – for e.g. adult colouring, reading on my balcony and enjoying the view, looking for interesting ideas on the net, crafting, baking, trying out new recipes, etc.
- Chatting to family and friends via WhatsApp video call, or Skype, to keep in contact and check in with them to make sure my loved ones are still OK.
- Taking the time to prepare a proper dinner, instead of choosing the easy way out and making use of take-away food.
- Watching some Netflix or listen to music in the evening.
This routine helps me to navigate my days with purpose and a sense of accomplishment during these trying times. It gives me the feeling that I have, at least in the smallest sense, contributed towards a better outcome of the current situation.
I’d like to close with a summary (and slight tweaking) of an encouraging quote (author unknown):
“Yes, there is fear.
Yes, there is isolation.
Yes, there is sickness.
Yes, there is even death.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet, the sky is no longer thick with fumes, but blue and grey and clear.
They say that Venice’s canals are crystal clear again and that marine life is returning for the first time in a very long time.
They say that in Japan, after the reduction of traffic, pollution and noise, birds can be heard singing again.
They say that in various nations people are singing to each other, keeping their windows open so that those who are alone may hear the sounds of others around them.
They say that restaurants are offering free meals and delivery to the housebound and the poor.
All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting. They are looking at their neighbours in a new way.
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality – to what really matters, but above all to love.
Yes, there is fear, but there does not have to be hate.
Yes, there is isolation, but there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes, there is sickness, but there does not have to be disease of the soul.
Yes, there is even death, but there can always be a rebirth of love.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic, just breathe and embrace the small and wonderful things in life.”
Stay positive, spread the love and please stay safe and healthy everyone.
I know this has been said before, but I will repeat it, simply because it is true. Together we can do this!
Karin Wehrmann (Primary School Teacher)