Gehta de Jager’s Personal COVID-19 Experience

8 April 2020

by Gehta de Jager
Occupational Therapist – Nurture Woodlands

Wow, what a ride. During this uncertain time, I experienced a myriad of emotions – I did not even know I had the capacity to experience such a wide range of emotions in a rollercoaster fashion. From shock to anger to hopefulness to freaking out to being excited about new opportunities to feeling extremely anxious to feeling unnervingly calm. 

My emotional and mental world was (still is) quite turbulent territory. Now I feel as though I should start my next sentence with a “BUT” and state with how I will put a positive spin on things…So let’s attempt to look for the silver-lining. In times like these, searching for the silver-lining is what will help us not only weather the storm, but thrive. 

It is important to acknowledge the storm – the whirlwind of uncertainty and to be aware of the measures that must be taken to be safe – but it is just as important to train yourself to be on a quest to find some kind of bright side. The ‘silver-linings’ I have been able to notice are:

  • Spending more time with family.
  • Getting to do things in the house that I usually don’t get time for.
  • Utilising technology in new and uplifting ways (Communicating with family on virtual platforms and also using technology to explore the new terrain of Tele-therapy).
  • Realising what is actually important – practicing gratitude and being content with just being in the moment.
  • Getting to acquire new hobbies and reviving old ones.
  • Bonding time with my dogs (they love that my husband and I are at home so much more).
  • Spending less money without the luxury of going shopping for clothes and snacks that I don’t necessarily need.
  • Eating healthier due to being unable to order fast food.
  • Being less rushed and getting a break from the ‘rat race’.
  • More time to reflect, journal and practice self-care.
  • Getting creative with exercising in a small space – where there’s a will, there’s a way

I just realised that this list of ‘silver-linings’ is longer than I expected it to be, and I could actually go on. This is the beauty of gratitude. Looking at what I have versus what I don’t have. It’s not that I always get it right, on the contrary, my mind tends to catastrophise very seamlessly. 

However, it is one strategy that has really helped lift me out of a few downward spirals in the past. What is keeping me sane is just trying to take it day by day, staying active and getting creative outlets for self-expression (music, art, writing, practicing my ballet). I don’t know what the future holds, I only know that I only have power over the ‘now’, and I will try to make the most of every moment and focus on what I have control over whilst trying to let go of what is beyond my power.