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How to cope with social distancing


With the number of COVID-19 cases in South Africa on the rise, the government has asked all of us to practise social distancing to help stop the spread of the disease. For those of us who can, it means staying home as much as possible – and this may be particularly important for older adults, who seem to be more severely affected than younger people. But being housebound can take a toll after a while, and it’s worth coming up with strategies to keep yourself occupied and in good spirits during this unusual time. Here are a few suggestions to add to your list.

1. Get into the garden
The weather is beautiful in autumn, and it’s the perfect time to head into the garden to do a bit of weeding, tick off general maintenance tasks and get some fresh air. Being outdoors is good for you, so even if your garden is in tip-top shape, it’s worth heading outside for a cup of tea or to enjoy some sunshine.

2. Catch up on your reading list
If you have a stack of books you’ve been meaning to read, now’s your chance to work through them. And what better way to take your mind off the endless news cycle for a few hours than by diving into a novel or two?

3. Phone a friend
While social distancing may be good for our health for now, social isolation is not. Fortunately, we’re living in an age of technology that allows us to video call our children and grandchildren, stay updated on family WhatsApp groups, or just pick up the phone now and then to check in with friends.

4. Start a new TV series
If you don’t already have a subscription, you may want to consider signing up for a streaming service like Netflix, Showmax or Amazon Prime, which have plenty of shows and movies that you can watch at your leisure. If you don’t have DSTV or a subscription service, good news is that DStv Now has made 13 channels free to stream on electronic devices like your smartphone or laptop. To access the available channels, you will need to sign up at now.dstv.com:

  • 100  – DStv
  • 180  – People’s Weather
  • 238  – SuperSport Play
  • 313  – PBS Kids
  • 320  – Channel O
  • 343  – TBN
  • 400  – BBC World News
  • 401  – CNN
  • 402  – Sky News
  • 403  – eNCA
  • 404  – SABC News
  • 406  – Newzroom Afrika
  • 414  – Euronews Now

5. Go for a walk
Exercise is essential for good health and going out for a walk or hike is considered a safe activity during social distancing – just remember to maintain about a two-metre gap between you and other walkers you might pass along the way. Getting outdoors and spending time in nature is also a good stress reliever. Speaking of which…

6. Do some gentle stretching
Most of us are feeling a little anxious and unsettled at the moment (understandably!), so it might be worth doing some relaxation exercises to help manage stress. Doing some gentle stretching or breathing exercises in the morning or before bed can help to ease tight muscles and calm your body and mind.