Everything is changing, and more is being expected of all of us. Many of our students are not set up for online learning, are anxious, and are contacting us for help. Working from home is no joke when homes are shared with family and others. And the infection rate will keep rising. How do we manage to keep on top of things, productive and supportive during these times?

1) Take one moment at a time. You can’t do everything, so pick one thing and do it. Try to live in the present, focussing energy on this half hour, this task, this conversation. You are not the messiah, so calm down and live this one moment as well as you can.

2) Limit social media. Yes, we want to keep up with what is happening, and keep in touch with family and friends. But for the anxious, social media becomes a black hole that feeds our anxieties. Pick the times you will check social media; turn the TV and radio off until their designated times.

3) Do one creative thing every day. Creativity (painting a stone; knitting a square; drawing a picture, or a diagram of what you are working on; working on a puzzle; playing a musical instrument, or dancing to your favourite song etc etc) activates part of your brain that reduces anxiety.

4) Reach out. Speak to at least one person everyday outside of your home – connecting with others is vital when anxiety and depression make us want curl up in foetal position. Send that voice note or message or make that call to ask someone how they are doing.

5) Be kind – to yourself, and to others. We are living in very troubling times, so be gentle even when you want to scream. Recognise that we all feel helpless and scared, so keep on imagining a better world. This will keep us sane during crazy times.

By Corinne Knowles
Lecturer: Extended Studies Unit
Facilitator: TAI Mentoring Project
Rhodes University