A survival guide to self-isolation and social distancing in Joburg

If you haven’t yet suffered a near nervous breakdown from the sheer weight of bad Coronavirus news on your social media feeds, you might do very soon! To prevent this we have put together a list of great ways to spend your time that are good for your mental and physical health.

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For all of us practicing some social distancing and self-isolation this month here are some suggestions to move your mind off the ‘ronies stories infecting your phone, and onto something more soothing and better for your overall well-being.

Keep calm and download a meditation app

Download a meditation app and start finding some space in your day to get calm and clear your mind. In times like this meditation is one of the best ways to calm down and reset your mind and release your headspace from the distractions of near-constant anxiety.

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We’ve been converts to meditation for a while as a way to reset and start the day more mindfully and we have to say that in the current global climate, this feels like a real lifesaver. It’s easy to get into meditation, download an app and start making the effort to put meditation time into your day. Even if it is just for ten minutes. Recommended apps include: Headspace, Simple Habit and Calm (availale on Android and Apple).

Take Harvard University courses, online, for free!

How long have you been saying you’d like to learn something new but have ‘never got round’ to signing up for a course? Whether you’re interested in business or history, languages or DIY, there’s never been a better time to sign up for some online learning. 

The website freecode camp has pulled together a comprehensive list of all the Ivy League university courses that you can take online for free from Artificial Intelligence (AI), to modern American poetry and Colombia’s 101 class on financial risk management. 

Find the list here: https://www.freecodecamp.org/news/here-are-380-ivy-league-courses-you-can-take-online-right-now-for-free-9b3ffcbd7b8c/ 

Read. More. Books

Whether you are in self-isolation or just load-shedding, getting stuck into a good book has always been a good way to pass the time while the rest of the world around you seems to fall to bits. If anything this is the time to start stocking up on even more books to add to your reading list as if this crisis keeps creeping onwards you’ll be through all the books you got for Christmas pretty quickly.

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Support small local businesses through this challenging time for retail. The Love Books independent bookshop in Melville is still open (you’ll be given hand sanitiser for your hands at the entrance) and also delivers for free within 10km of the store. You can also order books online from the inner-city based independent bookshop Bridge Books, who have a particularly good selection of African literature. 

Start having Facetime Happy Hours with your mates

While social distancing is new to South Africa, parts of China have been under total lockdown for weeks on end now. One of the ways people have begun to tackle the desperate unhappiness of having to give up on going out has been to start organising Facetime Happy Hours.

Basically, you get some beers in, make yourself look presentable and arrange a time with your mates when you’d usually be meeting up to go to the pub. At the given hour you and your mates can start dropping into the virtual pub online. Some people are doing this via Whatsapp, although we have heard that for the best video calling Google Hangouts or Zoom is the most manageable.

Listen to these awesome local podcasts 

Some of the best content to consume at the moment is in the form of a podcast. Here are some new local podcasts we recommend getting stuck into. 

David Krut Projects
One of South Africa’s finest art galleries, specialising in fine art printmaking, David Krut Projects has its own podcast, where artists talk about their works and inspirations. 

New Frame
Edited by Joburg-based vinyl DJ and music journalist Charles Leonard, this new podcast brings together interesting and unusual stories from across the world into neat and engrossing 45minute episodes. https://www.newframe.com/category/podcast/

Anthea Pokroy
Launched by Joburg based artist, photographer and co-founder of the Assemblage artist studio, Anthea Pokroy, this podcast is packed with interviews and debates about contemporary art in South Africa, led by the artists themselves.  

And looking further afield, we recommend: For those who love a good human story This American Life, for more documentary-style non-fiction, The Guardian Audio Long Reads, for those who need a music fix (all of us) NPR Tiny Desk Concerts, for the contemplative Hurry Slowly and On Being, for book lovers the New Yorker Fiction podcast, for hard-news junkies, the local Alibi: an investigative podcast, and for entrepreneurs NPR How I Built This.

Switch off the news and start catching up on these TV shows

If Netflix starts promoting a new documentary series called Pandemic (you know – that one with the guy in the hazmat suit) do, not, watch it! Save it for the post-coronial era. And actually while we’re at it Chernobyl is absolutely brilliant, but you’ll rather watch it next year when 2020’s fires, locust plagues and global pandemics have finished causing trouble.

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Instead, use your time inside to catch up on those cult TV series that all your mates rave about. Like that one about a chemistry teacher with cancer who becomes a meth-production kingpin or the one that everybody loved for a decade then thoroughly hated because of the ridiculous ending (yes it’s you Game of Thrones).

Pro Tip: Watch your favourite shows and films together with your mates by getting the Netflix Party plugin! Netflix Party is a Chrome extension plugin that allows you all to watch at the same time and have a chat window running too. Find out more about how it works here.

Here are some more ideas of great shows to start getting into as recommended by our team:

Louise: Me and my husband are working our way through the Japanese animation Studio Ghibli movies on Netflix. It’s a great way to take your mind off things, they are so sweet, charming, happy and magical. I’m also enjoying Chef’s Table (Netflix) as it is making me dream about all the foodie travel experiences I want to enjoy when Coronavirus is over and old Seinfeld episodes because I really need to keep laughing.

Laurice: This is a time to catch up on some major television classics. I recommend binge-watching the best bad guys (most compelling characters rather than people you strive to be) in recent television history with Narcos (Netflix), the Sopranos, Fargo (Netflix) and Breaking Bad (Netflix). If this Coronavirus period persists over more than two weeks then it’s time for Versailles, When They See Us, Dogs of Berlin and of course, the local Netflix hit Queen Sono.

Melusi: I’m very into The River (on Showmax), it’s a family drama set in a mining community, there’s a lot of twists that are really thrilling. Also The Intruder (on Netflix), I don’t want to give away any spoilers at all about this movie, it’s so suspenseful! So I’ll just say, I loved it. Also Breaking In – I love Gabrielle Union (Netflix).

Kupa: I’m gutted about the Formula One Festival in Sandton getting cancelled so I’ve started watching the series Formula One: Drive to Survive (on Netflix). I’m also enjoying The Witcher (Netflix), it’s like Game of Thrones but with more witchcraft.

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