#ReadersMinds Mental Health Check-in with Tebogo Tshwane

I recently had a conversation with Tebogo Tshwane. She is a curious and enthusiastic journalist with an interest in public policy and labour.

She started her career at Eyewitness News as an intern and then moved to the Mail & Guardian where she was a business reporter. Tebogo is currently a Journalist at Moneyweb. I must say I enjoy reading her stories, she has an eye for great media angles.

See my mental health check-in with Tebogo Tshwane below;

What is life like living in lockdown?

I don’t know if I can say life has changed that drastically under lockdown because as a journalist my work life has not stopped or slowed down in any major way.

What I have noticed is that the typically undefined work hours in the field have become even more amorphous as we work remotely. In between late-night briefings and sifting through new regulations or industry reports about Covid-19 and how the virus will fundamentally change the economy and social relations it gets difficult to determine when work starts and ends especially when you’re confined to your home with nothing else to do. 

Who are you with in this lockdown?

I am alone.

What do you do to keep connected with your colleagues, family and friends?

There has been a lot of texting between friends, many video calls with my mother and phone calls with my great-grandmother.

Do you have a routine and how does it look like?

The first two weeks have been unstructured, really taking it by ear. What little routine I have is largely due to deadlines and work-related activities. For instance, I know that every morning at 10:30 there will be a video conference diary meeting between me and my colleagues. Otherwise, I am just stumbling through it.

Even waking up and sleeping is a challenge. My 5am mornings have moved to 8am and my 10pm bedtime has become anyone’s guess. The inability to get a handle on a sleep and waking up routine is one of the major reasons I haven’t been able to get into a daytime activity ritual.

What do you do to cope and what is your philosophy during this lockdown? 

I switch off all of my contact with rolling information. Especially getting off social media and not surfing the net. There’s a lot of screentime now and the constant urge to want to be on top of everything that is happening which gets overwhelming. As for my philosophy, I can’t say I have one, but I have decided to just take it one day at a time.

What keeps you awake at night? 

Netflix. Have you watched Unorthodox? I binged it into the morning.

What do you do to de-stress? 

Go out onto my balcony or visit the grocery store. Also eat, eat eat.

How do you keep fit physically, mentally and emotionally? 

Laugh out loud at physically.

Mentally and emotionally comes with speaking to my friends about anxiety that creeps up. Listening to podcasts or vlogs on anxiety and general mental wellness during this period.

I have also gotten into the habit of cooking a lot which I hardly did before lockdown, not that I have a choice now but instead of quick meals I am making elaborate things. I don’t make the stew in the slow cooker anymore I make it in a pot on the stove monitoring it the entire day. Baking bread and trying out new salad and soup recipes.

I haven’t burnt anything since lockdown because I am more present when I am cooking, rooted in what I am doing and get a good sense of accomplishment when I am done. It’s nice.

What do you think life will look like post lockdown? 

I have no idea but whatever it is, it will be awful.

What’s your reaction on the extended lockdown? 

I understand that it is necessary for us to save lives and not recreate an Italy or US scenario in the country. I fully support it even as I worry about the socio-economic impact, it’s going to have on the most vulnerable people in our country as well as the fallout from business closures and what that will mean for unemployment in the country. I hope the political and governance efficiency and expediency we have seen in the past two weeks will be maintained when we begin the rebuilding process.

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Themba Msimango is a seasoned PR and Communications specialist with years of experience in his field. All articles written by him have been checked and verified to the best of our ability and his opinion pieces are solely his opinions and do not represent the views of After12 Magazine. Should you have any queries or concerns, please don't hesitate to email them to info@after12mag.co.za

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