6 ways to stay sane and healthy during lockdown

Various versions of “Lockdown Light”, stretches of self-isolation, and cold and rainy days will all conspire to keep you indoors this winter. Erns Grundling gathered some fresh ideas to help you stay sane and entertained. 

1. Let music be your salvation

– Danie Marais is rock critic for Network24. Check out his playlists on Apple Music at @DanieLapa.

There is nothing that can calm a turbulent mood like music. Lockdown is the ideal time to discover new musical horizons and expand the world within. If you are not already streaming and have decent internet, now is the time to put your headphones on and start exploring (try Apple Music, Google Play Music, Spotify or SoundCloud).

Here are some suggestions for emotional stability and clarity:

  • The eclectic Big Little Lies soundtrack is a treasure trove of auditory treats. Two recent albums that are worth a listen: Big Little Lies (Music from the HBO Limited series) [2017] and Big Little Lies (Music from Season 2 of the HBO Limited series) [2019]
  • J.S. Ondara: Tales of America
  • Bill Fay: Countless Branches
  • Various artists: Come On Up to the House: Women Sing Waits
  • Bonny Light Horseman: Bonny Light Horseman

2. Fun with a furry friend

– Lizma van Zyl is a radio announcer and presenter of the kykNET series Hond se Gedagte.

Dogs need stimulation, especially now that their routine has been disrupted without them understanding why. Get creative and keep them busy (and healthy) There’s time now to learn more about canine behaviour. Find dog-related courses on websites like www.coursera.org and pick up some new tricks. Then practise at home.

Listening to music on the radio, I often dance for exercise and my two dogs enjoy it no end. However, they also need their own exercise – engaging in a tug of war or simply throwing a ball to fetch will get them moving and also keep them mentally stimulated.

When it comes to giving them treats, strips of roasted sweet potato with bacon are always a winner, but keep moderation in mind with the bacon. Or cut open a tennis ball and spread unsweetened peanut butter inside (Not only is it fun, it also keeps them busy.) You can always hide a few snacks in your home or garden. Just watch out for bones. Otherwise, you might get a big vet bill later if a sharp chunk gets stuck somewhere in their digestive tract.

It is important to stick to their usual routine when it comes to diet and exercise. However, know this: calm people generally have calm dogs. They sense our emotions and will respond to them.

And, most importantly, appreciate them. Those warm breaths give you a blast of unconditional love and support, something we all desperately need right now.

Stellenbosch Visio says:
Listen to these podcasts

Revisionist History – Malcom Gladwell

The Happiness Lab – Dr. Laurie Santos

Unlocking Us – Brené Brown

Stuff You Should Know – Chuck Bryant en Josh Clark

Hardcore History – Dan Carlin

This American Life – Ira Glass

3. Grow your health

– Liesl van der Walt is the head gardener at the lifestyle farm Babylonstoren.

At Babylonstoren we have a Healing Garden which focuses on plants that boost immunity. To me, a garden in itself is good for your immunity and is the healthiest thing on your property. Especially during this time, you need plants you can touch, smell, and taste …

I love a plant that wants to grow. Wormwood is such a plant and you don’t even need a flowerbed for it to flourish. Use wild wormwood and rue for a healing herbal tea – we call it a “bitterwatertjie”. When you eat or drink something bitter, your body says, “Here’s something for which we need to heighten our immunity.”

Wild garlic also grows very easily and its antibacterial action is just as good as regular garlic. It’s a very versatile plant: You can roast the bulbs, use the flowers in a salad and mix the leaves in with a stir-fry.

Also, don’t forget about wild dagga (Leonotis leonurus, also known as lion’s tail) or the well-known cancer bush (Sutherlandia frutescens) with its healing properties. Your good old spekboom is also rich in vitamin C.

4. Make the leap online

– Magriet Groenewald is a social media expert and educator. Check out her website here.

There has never been a better time for being online; the opportunities are literally endless. Take a part of, or even your entire, business online, whether you’re a psychologist, standup comedian, or fitness coach.

A popular online model is to sell your knowledge by packaging it as a product. If you love writing, now is the time to start that blog. If you get enough readers, it becomes an advertising platform for others.

You can even sell products on behalf of others and earn an affiliate commission.

Facebook and Instagram are the places to connect with your followers. People who see you on social media, might join your network and later become paid customers if you provide them with valuable information for long enough. Think of social media as your own radio or TV station. As long as you get enough visitors and give them what they’re looking for, that channel can add meaning to your life and provide you with revenue.

5. Satisfied patrons at home

– Carina Stander is a writer, poet and artist. Her most recent book is Die Wonderwese (www.carinastander.com).

Pay attention to your children before they have to beg for it. I like the word “rhythm” more than “routine”; it feels freer. Rhythm makes children feel safe and gives them some control. At home, we always keep a daily nature hour, and this is especially valuable during the lockdown.

If you have a garden, you can play ball games with a racket and a soft ball; then no one can knock out a window. And don’t forget about tree climbing! Enjoy all three meals together as a family. Use breakfast to suggest ideas for the day, so the children know what they can look forward to.

There is great power in letting children decide (for themselves) to take on a project. Have them choose a recipe from a cookbook or pick a book from the shelf to read, letting your children find their own voices.

What you invest early in your children’s life, you reap in later years. It is entirely possible to have happy children in these times.

6. Lockdown: a haven for readers

Mercy Kannemeyer is a theatre director, writer and postgraduate student.

When the pandemic broke out, I immediately went to Game and bought a bedside table. I really intended to use the lockdown time to get a lot of reading done. Usually, I restrict myself to academic texts, but during this time I wanted to read poetry and lighter works.

It sounds a bit old-school, but I like holding a book in my hand. Of course, although you can order and read new books online, you finally have time to get to all the unread books on your shelf. I am a book collector and that comes in handy now.

Bibi Slippers inspires me. She has a book in every room – so you can read four books at any given time! I currently enjoy three excellent volumes of poetry: Loftus Marais’s Jan, Piet, Koos en Jakob; Danie du Toit’s Warmer voor die tuimeldroër; and Diana Ferrus’s Die vrede kom later. Lockdown gives you the opportunity to really immerse yourself in a book.

Stellenbosch Visio says:
read these books

Ek wens, ek wens – Zirk van den Berg

Agent Running in the Field – John le Carré

Die biblioteek aan die einde van die wêreld – Etienne van Heerden

Koors – Deon Meyer

Shoe Dog – Phil Knight

Lincoln in the Bardo – George Saunders


For more local lifestyle features and news from Stellenbosch and surrounds, subscribe to our newsletter.