Centering the Soul during Covid and Festive Season

It seems the beginning of Festive Season should be marked with joy and merry making but for some the combination of social isolation due to covid, the inability to spend money due to unemployment and pre-existing conditions like depression and anxiety make this period a bit difficult. In order to survive this time, treat yourself well by doing things that cost little to no money.
Set a daily schedule by getting up in the morning, doing your hygiene and keeping your surroundings clean. Also try to get 30 minutes of exercise during the day. Exercise can be broken up into three 10-minute sessions. Walking, cleaning and even tending a garden are low impact exercises which carry as much benefit as running or playing soccer. In addition, boosting your vitamin D levels by being outdoors and getting sunlight has been shown to improve sleep and set the body clock. The key is to do this daily until you have a steady routine.

Being unemployed during Festive Season is a true downer. Accept that your financial situation has changed but this is temporary. If an opportunity to do a small job arises, take it! Many companies and individuals are looking for casual staff to fill in or stop-gap during the holidays.

Due to the negative impact of covid, we have lost physical contact with friends, family and other loved ones. To combat the social isolation and loneliness, try to interact with people you meet. Seize the moment to have a small chat with someone even if you’re just window shopping. If someone smiles at you, smile back. This simple act is a natural way to boost your mood. Do other positive, mood boosting activities like listening to your favourite music, taking a relaxing bubble bath or writing a journal. If for whatever reason you cannot be with family or friends try to call them to hear their voice; familiarity gives us comfort and security.

If you feel the seasonal depression is unmanageable, consider calling the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) 011.234.4837.

Depression and anxiety can be managed with therapy and, if necessary, prescribed medication. Never use alcohol or drugs to self-medicate. This will only make the problem worse. Try by all means to live a healthy lifestyle: drink water, eat nutritious food and nurture your spirituality and always tell yourself that this too shall pass.

Ntsumi Karin Duma