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Look after your mind and body when social distancing


Since declaring the novel coronavirus pandemic a national disaster on Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa has encouraged social distancing, banning social gatherings of more than 100 people to curb the spread of Covid-19.

While necessary, fear and social distancing can affect our mental and physical health. However, there are many things we can do to support and manage our well-being during such times.

What is social distancing?

Social distancing aims to reduce the amount of interaction people have while allowing them to continue with their day-to-day activities. Less interaction means less chance of spreading the virus. This means only travelling when necessary, skipping public transport and no social activities like restaurants, bars, festivals and clubs.

Start gardening

Since you’ll primarily be confined to your home, why not start gardening? Even better, learn how to grow herbs, fruits and vegetables to equip yourself better. A recent study in the Netherlands suggests that gardening can fight stress even better than other relaxing leisure activities.

Explore a virtual museum

As it happens, Google Arts and Culture partnered with more than 2,500 museums and galleries around the world to offer virtual tours of their collections and spaces, way before the coronavirus pandemic. Some of the most popular museums include British Museum, London, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, the Picasso Museum, Barcelona and the Museum of Broken Relationships, Zagreb and Los Angeles.

Learn yoga and meditation

While there’s scope for more rigorous studies on its health benefits, most studies suggest yoga is a safe and effective way to increase physical activity, especially strength, flexibility and balance.

Down Dog makes a handful of popular fitness services for iPhone and iPad, including apps for Yoga, HIIT, and more. To help people stay active and engaged during the coronavirus outbreak, Down Dog is making all of its apps — Yoga, Yoga for Beginners, HIIT, Barre, and 7 Minute Workout — free.

If Down Dog isn’t your thing, we’ve covered some of the Best Yoga Apps available.

Go for a walk

People should go outside. Yes, walk your pets, but, if you’re in household isolation, do go outside but try to avoid other people. Keep a safe distance of at least two metres from anyone. Just a 15 minute walk can improves self-perception and self-esteem, mood and sleep quality, and it reduces stress, anxiety and fatigue.

Learn how to DJ or produce music

Are you an avid music fan? Why not learn how to DJ or produce your own music? You might need to purchase a bit of equipment, we’ve covered some of the best budget DJ controllers and DAW Production Software For Electronic Music, but the knowledge online thereafter through YouTube tutorials, forums and social media is invaluable.

Listen to music

It has been proven that if you’re feeling depressed, music can reduce anxiety and lift your moods. Now is the time to listen through that old catalogue from your favourite artists or record labels. Be sure to check out our free music section for a ton of free mixes!

Watch a live music stream

Social distancing has obviously forced the cancellation of concerts and festivals and such, but performers everywhere are still bringing joy to their fans via streaming performances. Visit our favourite artists, festivals and labels on social media to see if they have anything planned.

Connect with friends and family online

It’s not recommended to be in the same physical space as others, however it doesn’t mean you can’t connect digitally with friends and family. A variety of apps and social media platforms make it easy to regularly interact online. Arrange a regular meeting hour to keep the positive vibes going!

Digital board games

If you already have a board game that you and your friends love to play, the simplest option might just be to look for the digital or mobile edition of it. Most of the popular board games have Android and iOS versions, and will let you play cross-platform.

Watch a documentary

If you’ve run out of series or movies to watch, educate yourself with a documentary. The Netflix series Pandemic: How to Prevent an Outbreak might help you understand the current coronavirus situation better.

For fans of psychedelics, there are a number of documentaries to watch including DMT: The Spirit Molecule, Aya: Awakenings, The Sunshine Makers, Dirty Pictures and A New Understanding: The Science of Psilocybin.

For all South African residents:

  • If you develop flu-like symptoms, do not panic. Please self-quarantine. This means you must limit your contact with other people.
  • Please call the National Coronavirus Hotline: 0800 029 999, the Provincial hotline: 021 928 4102 or WhatsApp “Hi” to 060 012 3456.
  • You can also call your health practitioner for further advice on what to do next.
  • If unwell, stay home, except to get medical care as directed by the hotline or advice of health practitioner – do not go to work, school or public areas.
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