How a major pandemic affected my sanity

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Heidre Malgas

As essential workers, journalists have been in the frontline since the start of the national lockdown more than two months ago, reporting about the highs and lows brought on by the Coronavirus. However, we seldom, if ever, hear how they have been affected by die lockdown. In this first article in a new series, Bloemfontein Courant journalist, HEIDRE MALGAS, tells in her own words how she has been coping during the lockdown.

Who would have thought that in the year 2020 a major pandemic would hit the world? I, for one, was not prepared for what it had in store. The first obstacle has been the fact that we now have to stay home, away from people and away from family and friends.

For the most part, I think I have become so used to being in an office with friendly, smiling faces, that being at home was quite an adjustment. Being a journalist who is often out in the field but now has to stay at home, was quite a challenge since so many people have been indoors, without major stories happening outside.

My entire family lives in another town, most of my friends too, and limited human interaction has taken a toll on my creativity and mental health. The first question that popped into my mind the day I learnt that lockdown was being extended, was, “when am I going to see my mom?”.

Although FaceTime and calling were at my disposal, being in my family’s presence is what I have been missing most. We take for granted how much we need one another, and how much influence people have in our lives. It took Covid-19 to make me appreciate life and tell people I love and appreciate them more. I am truly grateful and blessed with an amazing job, so I have been able to work remotely from home, with the company’s support. Still being able to work and write about different experiences during this time have made things so much easier.

In a way, I could still interact with a lot of people, speak to a lot of people and keep myself busy, regardless of being suffocated by the four walls. Constantly working in a close team of journalists who have been apart since the start of lockdown has had a major impact on my creativity and work flow.

There was no colleague around who I could quickly bother with a question, or could take a coffee break with to blow off some steam. Regardless of all the shortcomings, I have learnt a lot about myself. I am grateful for supportive friends, family and colleagues, I am blessed with good health and I have all I need in this trying time.

Heidre Malgas

heidre@mahareng.co.za