With universities, schools, and daycare centres closing their doors across Egypt for two weeks starting 15 March in efforts to halt the spread of the new coronavirus, calls have been made for people to stay at home and for businesses to adopt strict quarantine measures, including closing airports and banning all public gatherings at cinemas, theatres, social clubs and so on.
Restaurants and coffee shops are closing at 7pm to encourage people to practise social distancing.
While this could be an opportunity for families to create their own atmosphere, enjoy time together, and catch up on things that need to be done at home, with staying at home obviously being also extremely important for the health of our communities, the necessary measures come with several drawbacks.
Weeks of enforced home-dwelling could be distressing for some due to the lack of an organised daily schedule, parenting issues, the stress of stockpiling, studying, and even the psychological impact of being alone.
Here are some ways that can help you to stay at home during the Covid-19 crisis and help to flatten the curve of the propagation of the virus.
Keep your spirits high: Try taking a 10-minute walk or doing indoor exercises. Thanks to technology, you can also engage everyone in the family and aid your psychological well-being through physical and meditation videos.
Listen to your children’s fears: Speak truthfully about the situation in an age-appropriate manner and put it into context. Teach your children everyday actions they can take to reduce the spread of germs and viruses.
Reduce screen time: Try not to focus on the news about Covid-19 and always seek honest and accurate information.
Give structure to your day: Giving structure to your day will help you to feel more in control. Break up the day with regular meals and use the time to reconnect with people you haven’t spoken to for a while.
Re-educate and reconnect: Think about re-educating your children about the reality of the working world as well as what it takes to run a home. Keep in touch with family and friends through applications like FaceTime, Skype, Instagram and WhatsApp.
Plan me-time: Put aside some regular me-time each day in another room, garden, or balcony. Read, listen to your favourite music, or sit silently. In such stressful times, we all need a few minutes each day to switch off.
Try different activities: Add some fun to your day while you are stuck at home with these and other entertaining sites:
- Free Online streaming of opera https://www.vulture.com/…/coronavirus-the-metropolitan-oper…
- Twelve free virtual museums https://www.travelandleisure.com/…/museums-with-virtual-tou…
- 3,800 free online courses from Courserahttps://www.coursera.org/coronavirus
- Free colouring books http://www.openculture.com/…/download-free-coloring-books-f…
- Interesting documentaries https://www.idfa.nl/en/collection/documentaries…
- The Room Art Space and Café will have live streaming of musical concerts almost daily at 10 pm
- Online edition of Egypt Career Summit for free https://career-180.com/ecs_online
- Some 130,000 books available online to read or download for free from the Bibliotheca Alexandrina https://drive.google.com/…/fo…/0B39jsuKsL3G8bWUxamxNTWNPdms…
- French children’s stories to help you and your children learn French https://www.thefrenchexperiment.com/stories
- Free online courses, e-books, and audiobooks http://www.openculture.com/…/use-your-time-in-isolation-to-…
- The NASA media library has been made publicly accessible https://www.diyphotography.net/nasa-makes-entire-media-li…/…
- Online concerts for different singers shared by NRJ Egypt https://www.facebook.com/1896496003966002/posts/2656618921287036/?d=n
- Anghami’s Instagram account is hosting an artist every day at 7 pm
- The Zawya Cinema in Cairo is screening documentaries and short movies online for free https://vimeo.com/231914885
- Netflix is promoting Netflix Parties that allow you to watch online with your friends https://www.gamespot.com/…/netflix-party-let…/1100-6474858/…
*A version of this article appears in print in the 26 March, 2020 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly