On the whole, lockdown has been okay for me. I have loved working from home and being with Jack, and have not missed sitting in traffic on William Nicol every day. I feel safer indoors where I’m not being “exposed” to Covid and have control over my surroundings, what I touch, what I sanitise my hands with and keeping safe.

When lockdown started, going to the shops with a mask and gloves on was SCARY. Standing behind a person in a queue caused massive anxiety for me and I often stood in the line wondering if I should just leave all my groceries behind and go home rather.

It’s weird how 3 months later, this has become the norm. Seeing people in masks doesn’t scare me anymore, I’ve stopped wearing gloves and instead spray sanitiser directly onto my hands, and I no longer feel like I have 10 minutes tops to rush in and out of a store. Instead, I choose to either shop at 09:00 when stores open, or during the week just before lunch time in order to avoid queues. If I get to a store and there’s a queue, I just leave. If I am in a queue to pay in a store, I’m now used to looking for the markers on the floor directing us where to stand and how far to socially distance ourselves. I’ve also become accustomed to looking for a sign at the entrance to a store that indicates how many people can be inside the store at the same time.

I’ve been at home for 110 days and sometimes it’s hard to comprehend that. I have moments when I feel like I’ve been home for 6 months and days when I feel like it’s only been 2 or 3 weeks. Working from home was a pretty smooth transition for me because I can pretty much do everything online. But, I miss being at events, and hosting guests, and mingling with people. I miss the SACCS (offroad racing) events – especially the Toyota 1000 Desert Race in Botswana which would have taken place in June. I miss being able to read people’s body language in a room while presenting, or having a debate. Instead this has been replaced with asking people if they have questions a few times when the room is quiet, or telling people they are on mute. I miss being able to walk to someone’s desk and ask them something which has instead now turned into setting up meetings to discuss the same things. I miss bumping into people in the corridors, at the coffee station and at the Mugg & Bean in our office. I miss having lunch with my work husband, and going for walks to Rosebank.

I miss a lot of aspects of my pre-Covid life. Like seeing and spending time with my family and friends, going for breakfasts on Saturday morning at Doppio Zero after Parkrun, walking around markets like Kamers and Field Market, going to the movies (and even paying the exhorbitant prices for popcorn, astros and a coke), shopping for clothes and touching the different fabrics and textures, and swatching new makeup at MAC and Dischem. I have been itching to travel, which I would normally have done almost monthly for work, and miss going on holiday to the beach or the bush. on 13 March I went to Pilanesburg with my mom and brother to camp for the weekend and we were so fortunate to have that long weekend because little did we know 2 weeks later the country would go into a nationwide lockdown.

I sometimes feel like I am currently living in one of the Dystopian novels I love reading about zombies, plagues, viruses, space travel, the world surviving a nuclear explosion or the world coming to an end. When this all started, I saw many memes of Katniss Everdeen, and in my last post I even shared something from the movie. We’re living in the year 2020, and there’s a worldwide pandemic that’s affecting everyone, infections are rising daily – and there is no cure or vaccine. I often sit and wonder, “Who was patient zero?”

Seeing people in masks daily makes it feel like I’m in dystopian world where the air is unsafe and we need a breathing apparatus or shield to protect us. Not being able to hug and kiss someone hello anymore feels like greetings have become so insignificant or lost because that human connection has now been removed. Curfews, police patrols, roadblocks, permits to travel etc. all make it feel like we are being “watched” by a higher authority, and lockdown regulations stipulate what we can and can’t do going forward. (I’ll never forget the night before our lockdown started, people started sharing a video of lockdown in Dubai where there was the PURGE siren playing. That siren is so eerie!) We now get “screened” before entering building, shops, and businesses where our temperatures are taken and we have to complete screening questionnaires for validation before entry. We also get daily updates on new infections, active cases … and deaths.

Leaving the house on the first day of lockdown to go to the clinic for my flu vaccine was so unsettling. I was shit scared to be on the roads, and when I did leave the house there were barely any cars on the road my anxiety spiked. The roads were empty like that for a few weeks when I went out to get groceries but are busier now as the lockdown levels have lowered. My brother and I would often joke that the empty roads were like a scene from The Walking Dead.

During lockdown, businesses have closed down and still continue to close down, people are losing their jobs or having to take pay cuts, media houses shutting their doors and the publications we grew up reading are no longer on shelves. There’s been no sport for a while and instead virtual sporting events have arisen as well as virtual events and concerts. Global movements such as #BlackLivesMatter have emerged and the issues they advocate are so important. So much is changing!

I hate that you can’t see people’s facial reactions anymore, or if they are smiling when they greet you. When we could start exercising in May, I would go out every morning and immediately noticed on my walks that people would instead nod or lift their hand to wave and acknowledge everyone around them. People were so friendly to each other and I think we were all so happy just to see someone else, even if we didn’t know them. Sadly, weeks later I have noticed that people are no longer as friendly on their walks and runs. I’m not sure why…

When lockdown levels lowered and we could order takeaways, I was the first to say I would only eat food that I had cooked myself. Well, I gave in on the first weekend and ordered cake from a well-known cake store and I got so ill with a stomach bug. I honestly thought I was dying the first day I had it. I got over that fear and ordered some food from Momo’s which was sublime, and I ended up ordering a few times after that. I even sat down and had brunch with my sibling at Tiger’s Milk in Bryanston on Saturday – again something I had vowed I would never do. Well, I was pleasantly surprised at how organised the restaurant was and the server who helped us made sure everything was sanitized and okay for us.

Even though this new dystopia has been unsettling, I’ve rediscovered my love for a number of things:

  • Exercising and being outdoors. Within 3 weeks of walking pretty much every day, I noticed how much stronger I was getting and how the endorphins were affecting me and making me feel more accomplished and happier. I’ve struggled a bit in winter now, but am so proud of what I did achieve. I even started jogging too which was a lot of fun. I think the highlight of my walks has also been taking Jasper for walks with my sibling.
  • Yoga. I started practicing yoga again and joined Yogi Paige’s free session on Insta on Wednesday nights. I have also started doing her Thursday ZOOM classes which cost R100. I’ll do a post about Yoga and how that has helped me mentally and physically in lockdown.
  • Reading! I set a target for myself to read 30 books this year. In lockdown I have managed to read 10 so far!
  • Watching Will & Grace. That show was definitely what I needed when things felt overwhelming. I literally laugh so much I have tears running down my face when I watch that show. I’ve finished the last season and am devastated that that is it. So now I think I am going to start from Season 1 again.
  • Lying on the lawn with Jack and being in the sunshine. Vitamin D is the most amazing thing!
  • Painting and drawing. It’s been years since I really spent time letting go and being creative. I’ve picked up some water colours, a new sketchpad and even lettering brushes to try learn that too.
  • Taking part in Unselfishly Me sessions with Jane on Manifesting and Journalling. I can’t recommend Jane enough! What an amazing soul who has taught me some important lessons.
  • Getting my health back on track. I’ve suffered with high corisol levels and burnout for years and lockdown has been the first time that I have really managed to reverse a lot of the damage that has been done. Since 19 March, my hair has stopped falling out, my nails are growing, I am not forgetful or anymore, and I finally had my period for the first time in about 6 months. I’ve been spending a lot of time learning about quantum physics and epigenetics and highly recommend the Heal doccie on Netflix as well as the book. Our health is so important and I’ve loved learning from the thought leaders in these fields.

I’m very lucky that I have been okay in isolation, but I know many people are struggling. I went through a phase initially where I felt hopeless and had lost my passion for everything. Just know, you are not alone in all of this. If you feel you need to speak to someone, you can contact the South African Depression and Anxiety Group here. You never have to be embarrassed or ashamed or needing to reach out for help. SADAG have a number of ways that you can contact them.

So, how long is this dystopian world going to be around? No one knows, but it isn’t forever. It’s so important that we wear our masks, make sure we socially distance ourselves, sanititze our hands and take care.

Be safe out there.