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South Africans have spent almost two months in lockdown as the government implements measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus…

Many countries all over the world have done the same, with similar constraints on public movement. However, the limitations have brought about a slower pace of life, and have helped us reprioritise many things – from who we spend time with, to how we interact with and care about our local communities.

While the negative effect of the extended lockdown on the SA economy and poorer communities cannot be ignored, there are some ‘positives’ about the lockdown that some of us might miss.

1. Exercising has become enjoyable

While it used to be a ‘chore’ that we’d rather not do, exercise for the three hours between 6am and 9am in South Africa’s Level 4 Lockdown has become a way for us to get some much-needed fresh air, and stretch our legs. Whether it’s running, cycling, or walking, exercise has become a ‘pleasure’.

2. Connecting with family

We’ve realised that connections with those we love are truly valuable. We’ve made time to check up on our loved ones and to make sure that everyone’s doing okay through the crisis.

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When lockdown ends, let’s not take our precious family time for granted ever again.

Not being able to hug your granny, or share Mother’s Day with your mom has made us realise that we need to prioritise family time, and treasure it when lockdown ends. Thankfully, technology has come to the rescue to help us keep in touch digitally, but nothing really replaces the human connection. When lockdown ends, let’s not take our precious family time for granted ever again.

3. Exploring your neighbourhood

With exercise limited to a 5km radius of home, we’ve gotten to know our neighbourhoods well. We wave at neighbours, and smile (behind our masks) at fellow dog-walkers, and discover new roads and features of our neighbourhoods we never knew were there before!

4. Home-school

Yes, the admin is a nightmare, and we’ve learned to REALLY appreciate our teachers, but spending time with the kids and watching them learn and create has brought families closer together. We’ve realised how important it is to spend quality time together, rather than wasting hours in front of digital screens.

5. The quiet

In the first few weeks of the SA lockdown, everything was so quiet! All-of-a-sudden we could hear birds in our neighbourhoods that we’d never noticed before.

6. The time to binge-watch series

With all other social activities on hold, we have gotten to spend a lot of time catching up on our favourite series, or binge-watching entire seasons over one weekend. The ‘escape’ from reality has helped us relax and spend some stress-free time with family.

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7. “Me-time”

With salons closed, and coffee-dates with friends banned, we’ve had a lot of ‘me-time’. Home mani-pedis, attempts at dyeing our own hair, catching up on our reading, gardening, getting creative with some DIY projects. While we can’t wait to get back to the salons, we will definitely miss the creative time.

8. Community

While we can’t see our families or friends, our communities have become stronger. Support groups have been formed to purchase groceries for the elderly and financially needy, musicians have been giving live concerts on rooftops, and communities have come together to show their support for essential workers.

9. Lack of commute

Being able to work from home adds some valuable hours to the day. Instead of sitting in stressful traffic jams, we’re able to sit at our desks in yoga pants and slippers and still get our work done. Heading back to the office is going to be tough. However, many companies are now seeing the value of remote working, and may change their policies to allow for flexible working hours and work-from-home options.

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10. No FOMO – Nothing’s happening anyway!

We don’t have to juggle our social commitments, and that fear of missing out (FOMO) because nothing’s happening anyway. There aren’t any parties, weddings, or shows that we have to try to cram into our calendars between work and home commitments. While it will be great to get back into socialising again, lockdown has helped us prioritise the people who are really important in our lives.