Time to Practice the ‘Need to Know’ Principle

 

I was in the army long ago, where I learned a lot of helpful skills I still use in my life today. (I will get to that in a few paragraphs.)

By now we are beyond the point where the tackie hit the tar (South African for ‘the rubber meets the road). It’s Day 17 of the national lockdown in SA due to the Covid-19 virus and our president has already increased the proposed 21-day lockdown with at least a further two weeks.

In the beginning it was almost fun. Everyone forwarded jokes and kept Facebook diaries of their days, their improvisations, their silliness. Nobody really expected the lockdown to be lifted after only 21 days, by hey, one could hope…

The whole Corona epidemic is a rollercoaster experience for me. I didn’t particularly look forward to the lockdown, as I presume was the case with everyone else, because limitation of movement isn’t exactly anyone’s idea of a free life. But nevertheless, we all went into it positively. I still am positive – one have to be (!), but like everything new, this also wore down pretty quickly.

I too, follow the news and read everything that passed my phone screen in the beginning. The jokes were hilarious and still are, the motivational video clips and spiritual songs are uplifting, beautiful and emotional and the updates from friends, families and strangers on social media makes one smile and sometimes laugh loud. All fun and games.

But. I’m also a person who, like many of you, gets bored easily. I get fatigued very, very quickly. And my Corona fatigue started already before the lockdown! Getting fatigued can be a very dangerous thing, because what can happen is that you just switch off and ignore the situation that bores you or make you tired and can miss the things you really need to keep you safe, sound and healthy.

This Covid-19 epidemic is something really puzzling. We all ‘know’ now where it originated from, we have the ’facts’ about the virus and we are getting ‘updates’ on the spread daily. I put those in quotation marks, because I’m not sure that we get the real picture. Actually, I am sure. I have so many unanswered questions about this pandemic, which probably would never be answered. We are being given information from governments’ sides, we are bombarded with ‘expert’ opinions and on top of that, our feeds are flooded with conspiracy theories. It’s very confusing and difficult to really know what goes on, where it goes on and what precisely is done about it.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t believe everything we’ve been told. Not just about Covid-19, but in life generally. That doesn’t make me a conspiracist – just a realist. I like a good conspiracy theory though, and being a creative writer, I can even think up a few myself easily – although I never go public with it. I’ll leave it for my novels one day. 😊

Our family has quite easy circumstances to being locked down in, so we really have no reason to complain. But we are still humans. And humans tend to feel human emotions when their circumstances change. On Day 8 I felt cooped in for the first time. I could hear my husband sigh when he went to the kitchen in the morning to make coffee, and I’m sure he hears mine when I go to the bathroom in the morning and the realisation of another locked in day kicked in. Day 11 was tough again. Today is easier to stay in because of the wind storming outside. The point is even though we have comfortable circumstance to do it in, any limitations take their toll on the physically and mentally and causes our emotions to go up and down by the things that enters our minds.

And this is where my remark about being in the army comes in. One of the first things you learned when entering any defence force is the very important principle of THE NEED TO KNOW. This is for your own good, you learned, because what you did not know, you could not tell and couldn’t hurt you. This meant that a great deal of discipline had to be practiced. You were to stay out of conversations where you would hear what you were not supposed to and out of places you didn’t belong. We all know that we are by nature curious, so it is very tempting to listen to gossiping, do things which can be harmful to us and watching things that are not good for us. After all, we now have access to almost any information we want.

In today’s circumstances this is more relevant than ever. We can listen to and believe everything that we read or watch on our phones and forward it to our as-gullible family members and friends. When an overwhelming lot of information is going around as is the case at the moment, it can drive us mad.

Be honest. Can you even remember all the information, jokes, videos, songs you’ve seen during the past few weeks? Of course you can’t, because we have been bombarded with information – good and bad. We are overloaded by the news, social media and our friends and family. So that overwhelming feeling you sometimes get after reading or watching another post is very normal.

Now, on Day 17 it maybe is a good time to get a bit more disciplined in an effort to keep our sanity. We are in the middle of lockdown and the toughest part is still coming. Lockdown can even be extended again, so now is a good time to start taking better care of yourself mentally. And this is where we can implement and practice the NEED TO KNOW principle. This is where you start making decisions to your advantage – and to advantage of all those you love.

  • It is a time to start reading selectively. Read and watch only what you need to know to stay safe and healthy.
  • Laugh about and share the funny jokes.
  • Listen to good messages with spiritual input.
  • Don’t forward fake news and conspiracy theories. Check facts before forwarding and overwhelming others with info that they DON’T NEED TO KNOW!
  • Put down your phone. You don’t need to be on it the whole day and night. Read something printed on paper.
  • Keep a routine, but also do something out of the ordinary every day.
  • Even if you have to run in one place while watching a TV program. Everyone can exercise, no matter how small their place is.
  • Be creative. Build something, draw something, write something, bake something, sew something, plant something… We are people made to create, not to just duplicate (or forwarding in this context).
  • Don’t read or watch Covid-19 any other news just before going to bed.
  • Most of all – keep spiritually strong. Read the Word of God, meditate upon it and pray for all. And give thanks for what you have and for your circumstances.

The virus and its effects are still with us and it will be with us for quite a while longer. We must stay strong from the inside. There was an old WWII poster saying “Loose lips may sink ships”. Listening to and believing everything we hear and forwarding it to everyone we know, isn’t something responsible people who love their friends and family do. Discipline yourself. It starts with me and you.

Keep your ship afloat. It still has places to go after this.

 

© 2020 Fielies De Kock

Awesomest wife. Finest mom. Hopefullest writer. Foreverest dreamer. Living in a coastal village in the Overberg, South Africa, with a husband and two dogs in a small heritage house, and an adult, recently-graduated, job-seeking son in the garden cottage. His CV is available on request. 🙂🙂🙂

 

Related blog posts: https://fieliesdekock.com/2020/03/26/were-all-riding-in-this-corona-bus-together/

Related blog posts: https://fieliesdekock.com/2020/03/27/in-the-beginning-we-were-created-to-be-creative/

Related blog posts: https://fieliesdekock.com/2020/03/31/family-traditions-creates-unbreakable-bonds-and-awesome-memories/

 

 

In the Beginning we were Created to be Creative

 

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God has created us to be creators therefore we are creative by nature. We reproduce, we plant and make food, build houses, create lifestyles. We create jobs or work at jobs that others have created. You should be getting the picture. None of us can claim that we “are not creative”. It is in our DNA. Being human is all about being creative.

Unfortunately, our lives had become so busy that we all aren’t that creative anymore. Some of us had become so busy and distracted with either accumulating wealth or just surviving that we let others create on our part and we are/have to be pleased with ‘buying’ other people’s creativity. We do that by shopping for bread instead of baking it ourselves, buying clothes, furniture, home decorations etc. You get my drift. Of course it is impossible to make and build everything ourselves. It is also unnecessary, because if we don’t buy other people’s creations, neither they or we will accumulate wealth/survive.

The point is that we modern people had become so busy that most of us don’t create anything at all anymore. We don’t even fix things anymore in our consumer culture. We just replace by buying new stuff. We don’t all have to build our own houses, bake our own bread, brew our own coffee, build our own furniture, make our own clothes… but SOMETIMES we can and we must make or build our own things – because IT IS GOOD FOR US!

Why Creativity is Good for Us

When we are creative it makes us healthier by building our immune systems and our confidence, it lowers our blood pressure, it balances our mental state, it makes us happier, it makes us resourceful and then guess what? It makes us even more creative. You can read more on your own time about the advances of creativity from people who knows more than I do here:

https://lifelabs.psychologies.co.uk/users/8838-nicola-vanlint/posts/4292-the-positive-benefits-of-creativity

https://www.forbes.com/sites/ashleystahl/2018/07/25/heres-how-creativity-actually-improves-your-health/

So, Now What?

For now my job is to help you to use the next weeks where you will definitely not be too busy because you can’t go anywhere, to be at least a bit creative every day. And who knows, maybe you enjoy it so much that you make time in your busy schedule to keep doing it when life returns back to ‘normal’ once again. So here goes.

First Things First

  • Thank your Creator for another healthy day and pray for the people who have to work to keep us healthy and safe. If you have friends working, send them a short thank you message.
  • Pray and do Bible study. And think about your life. Now is a good time for introspection. (You can also read this blog entry: https://fieliesdekock.com/2014/03/17/article-on-writing-thinking-about-life/
  • It is important to keep a bit of routine to maintain a good mental state. So, open the curtains and windows to make sure your living quarters have enough air for all the people cooped up in the small space together.
  • Make your bed immediately when you wake up. This will give you your first sense of accomplishment and gives you a mental kick. (My poor family even need to make their own beds in a hotel – even though the hotel staff does it again!)
  • Make sure everyone in the household has chores. This will not only make living together easier, but it will give everyone responsibilities which will help in making everyone feel useful. Remember, everyone can contribute, even if it is in the smallest way!
  • Don’t try to do everything you decide to do at once. Choose one or two activities a day. Make a manageable list if you want to. Remember that this free time is given to you. Don’t see it as a punishment. It is a gift. We have never been handed time on a plate like this. Let’s make the best of it and enjoy it!
  • Stay up to date on what you need to ensure the safety of your family, but don’t overload yourself with too much information, because it will have a negative influence on your mental state.
  • Make time every morning to sit together for coffee and a talk. Check everyone’s health and mental state and take action if needed.
  • Play the radio or music in the house, so that there is a lively feeling in the house.

 Ideas for the Rest of your Day

  • Write something
    • You won’t be able to write that book you are dreaming of in three weeks, but whether it is a memoir or a novel, spend half an hour every day doing research on how to go about the process and write the outline.
    • You can also follow my Instagram account @thewritingclub.dieskryfklub and do a writing prompt every day for the duration of the lockdown.
    • If you are a writer consider a specific writing schedule for the duration of staying home, such as writing a short story a week, a chapter a week, a 100-wod story per day, a poem a day etc.
    • If you have a hobby or have something that you are good at, consider starting a blog.
    • Teach your children to write a story. I will post a blog entry to help you with this shortly.
    • Start journaling. Read my blog entry about journaling here: https://fieliesdekock.com/2014/03/17/article-on-writing-journal-writing/
  • Playing games with the family
    • If you live in a house play games in the garden. Teach your children games you have played on the school playgrounds when you were young.
    • Play board and card games in the house.
    • Remember to also play make-belief games with your little ones!
  • Watch movies. Make sure to take turns to watch a favourite from each family member – big and small.
  • Work in the garden together.
  • Catch up with family and old friends on WhatsApp, Skype etc., but don’t just forward messages, pictures and videos. Write nice conversational news messages from your family or make fun videos where all family members get a turn to talk or give a message.
  • Spend some time on neglected hobbies or start a new one. Maybe examine the possibility of making money from your talent. Watch ‘how to’ videos on your interest and learn how to become better at what you love to do.
  • Read! And get your family to read. And read stories to your little ones! Read my blog entry here: https://fieliesdekock.com/2013/08/27/teach-your-child-to-read/
  • Finish unfinished projects and things that broke and is mendable. Make it an opportunity to teach your child/ren to fix things.
  • Get exercise.

Even if you live in the smallest of flats, you have to get some exercise. Search the Internet for exercise ideas in small spaces. Rolene Strauss, former Miss SA, promised on the radio this morning that she will post exercise videos for the duration of the lockdown period. Follow her on https://www.facebook.com/OfficialRoleneStrauss/

  • If you have one tucked away somewhere, dust off and switch on that forgotten treadmill!
  • Learn a new skill
    • Get out a cookbook from your shelve and learn to cook or bake something. Start sommer with a lekke bread or beskuit. If you don’t have cookbooks, Google a recipe.
    • Watch YouTube videos to learn something new.
    • Or use a good language app to finally start learning a new language. We use Duolingo. (https://www.duolingo.com/) You can download the app on your phone.
  • Since we live in the Southern Hemisphere, do some Autumn cleaning. 😊
    • Clean those neglected places you know about but never get to cleaning.
    • Sort out your pantry and fridge and freezer if you haven’t done it before stocking up.
    • Sort out not-used clothing and keep it in bags to take to charity shops after the lockdown.
    • Clean out, sort out and declutter cupboards, drawers and all other spaces one at a time.
    • Sort out your photos and back it up on a hard drive if you can too. Use an app or software and make movie clips for family viewing during the lockdown.
  • Spice normal things up!
    • Make mealtimes fun! If you live in a house, set a table outside or on the stoep. You can also let the children ‘play’ restaurant-restaurant and have them serve the dishes. In between meals they can sell you coffee (or something stronger if you are in stock).
    • If you live in a flat or when it rains, a table in the sitting room will do too. Just a change of scenery is sometimes needed to lift the spirits.
    • Think outside the box to change the way you do things to spice it up a bit.

 Remember!

A lot of what we are going to do during the next few weeks, we will do while sitting or lying down. Apart from making sure you get enough exercise, also make sure that you don’t sit too much! Sitting for long periods of time can cause other problems that you really don’t need right now. As I’m saying this, I’m going to stop writing now, because I was following my own advice and wrote this whole article standing up behind the bar counter, a la Ernest Hemmingway, and I need to sit down now!

Stay healthy! Stay safe!

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© 2020 Fielies De Kock

Awesomest wife. Finest mom. Hopefullest writer. Foreverest dreamer. Living in a coastal village in the Overberg, South Africa, with a husband and two dogs in a small heritage house, and an adult, recently-graduated, job-seeking son in the garden cottage. His CV is available on request. 🙂🙂🙂