Caroline Hurry
Caroline Hurry

Crazy times. Who could have predicted all this, right? Apart from movie buffs taking their cultural cues from Demolition Man or The Walking Dead series. Current times prove the lines between truth and fiction become harder to discern

Anyway, this is a tale of two cities ‒ Scare City and Synchroni City. You can choose to stay in either for as long as you like. Psycho neighbours, snitches, and assorted soul snatchers prey on the unwary in Scare City. Power cuts are copious. Electricity is sporadic. It’s dark, shadowy, and overcrowded. Try not to spend a nanosecond here, if you can help it. Conversely, good things happen in the sun-dappled suburbs of Synchroni City, my preferred abode where little miracles abound and the view becomes much clearer along the high roads of Authenticity, Sagacity, and Simplicity.

Looping trains of thought will speed you to either place. They often look alike from the outside so it’s easy to get into the wrong carriage. In such cases distraction is key.  If fat-cat politicians freak you out, stop listening to them. Stay informed but become picky as to what you allow through your eyes, ears, and mouth. Curate your own news and entertainment feed. Spotify is a treat and well worth the Premium sign-up fee. There are also some great free movies on YouTube. If you enjoy British thrillers, check out Amazing British Crime Drama. Here are a few more things that work for me.

Breathe, brush up your language skills

Things go better with oxygen. No matter what might be troubling you, breathing to the beat of Wim Hof’s beginner classes is a 10-minute pick me up. I like to alternate between French, Spanish and German but lingo aside, it’s an immediate help to banish anxiety. Here’s the Wim Hof playlist for beginners

Stretch your body

If it’s true your back goes out more than you do, a good stretch might be the answer. Even 10 minutes a day is better than nothing. Vanessa of Anahata Yoga Shala offers classes from her glorious studio open to the ocean on the remote Koh Phangan Island in Thailand. Free-spirited Vanessa is a tonic. Try some of her free classes, dance with her, see for yourself. Namasté, blessings, thanks for the lessons!

Upcycle and grow

Cultivate flowers and vegetables. When it comes to transforming gardens into indigenous wildlife havens for birds, bees, and butterflies, Erina Botha of Dreamscapes has some wonderful advice. Even if you only have a balcony, you can make a plan. I just repurposed an old salad spinner as a hanging basket, planted two terrariums  – terraria? – and placed spider plants on pebbles in jars of water to bring a sense of peace to my surroundings. You’ll find tons of inspirational ideas on YouTube.  Here’s one on planting indoor gardens in jars.

Upcycling an old salad spinner into hanging basket (left) experimenting with succulents and planting in pebbles and water.

Tune up your frequencies

Biofield Tuning can restore our systemic balance. Eileen McKusick, author of the Biofield Anatomy Hypothesis, says our life’s blueprint reflects in vibrations that relate to our emotional and physical states. Johannesburg-based sound balancer Wendy Leppard, who trained with Ms McKusic, uses tuning forks to magnetically track patterns in the biofield and reverberate the tonal quality for an emotional reset. The secrets of the universe, as Nicola Tesla said, can be found in energy, frequency and vibration.

Pursue only what sparks joy

This Marie Kondo concept applies as well to people and situations. Emotional spring cleaning and social pruning can be more satisfying than sorting out a cupboard shelf. As Helen Grange pointed out, Covid made her see her friends in a whole new light. I think most of us can relate. Help others by all means, but fearful, negative, or aggressive people will only drag you down in my experience. Ditch them, I say. Hit the social media block button if you have to. The relief is sweet!

Picnic in seclusion

Just because the parks are locked, doesn’t mean you can’t imbibe some gorgeous scenery, fresh air and delicious food close to Johannesburg and Pretoria. A secluded gourmet picnic on the banks of the Crocodile River where Cape Clawless otter hunt in the rapids can rejuvenate your soul without breaking any lockdown regulations. Drink in bush-clad mountainous surrounds, pick your own vegetables in the magnificent organic labyrinth, and hang out with the horses at Lethabo Estate.

Enjoy a private romantic picnic on the banks of the Crocodile River at Lethabo Estate.

Save money on security

This is a tip I pinched from Jenny Morris on Twitter. ‘I’ve disconnected my alarm system and put up an “ALCOHOL for sale” sign. The SAPS and SANDF are now all watching my house. I’ve never felt safer and I’m saving R800 a month.’  To this I would add: if you employ a security firm, give the guards your wifi password for further incentive to stay close to your place.