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Local celebrity Liezel van der Westhuizen offers lockdown activity suggestions

Don’t let the next two weeks become a total waste of your time by failing to plan or stay ahead of the game.


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With the country weeks deep in the nationwide lockdown, there’s bound to come a time where you find yourself staring at the ceiling or watching too many movies because you don’t know what to do with your time.

We caught up with Liezel van der Westhuizen who is a well-loved media personality in the South African radio and television media space, who gave us five suggestions that you should implement into your daily routine over the next two weeks whilst isolated at home.

Who is Liezel van der Westhuizen?

Liezel is a global motivational speaker and corporate coach, specialising in personal branding and speaker training. Last year Liezel became the first sighted African female to cycle with a blind athlete across the Himalayas on a tandem bicycle. She has also gone on to complete a number of tough sporting events including Ironman Triathlons, Dusi Canoe Marathons and the Midmar Mile.

But beyond sports and radio, Liezel is fondly known to friends and fans alike as “The Giraffe”, a moniker she has also worked into the name of her personal vlog, Giraffe in the City.

Liezel’s lockdown suggestions

Put your dining room table’s sturdiness to the ping pong test

Ping pong may sometimes be intense for the players, but there’s just so much fun in huddling around a table (also: nice, responsible things shouldn’t have just one use), laughing and connecting with family or friends with energetic sass.

There’s also a health benefit, because ping pong genuinely makes for high intensity training, while activating your brain to strategise and coordinate.

Learn a language

There are a number of 30-day online courses available for you to choose from. Besides the fact that it helps further develop your sense of achievement, learning a new language means you’re part of an elite group, called “polyglots” — this means you understand or speak a number of languages.

Learning a new language also gives you something to work towards; it helps you grow, and time will pass quickly as your tongue flicks across letter combinations you’ve only ever heard briefly, in film and television.

Get dressed and dress up your personal brand from home

There will be a changed business world after social distancing — you’re going to need more leverage to survive in this new arena, professionally. You need to take the time (while you have the time right now) and invest in the future beyond this period.

Wake up, fortify yourself into work-mode with a crisp ensemble, and then tailor your personal brand steadily. You can even sign up via email to The Giraffe Academy this week, and receive a free workbook to get you started.

Join one of the new online fitness virtual classes

There’s a whole new online fitness community. Try a workout, or an activity you’ve never done before — sometimes for free. It’s easier when you’re training with other people, because what often happens is that they hold you accountable.

Interact with people

Skype, write, or even call down from your balcony (at a respectful hour). Reaching out and making an effort to stay in touch with friends and family members is necessary during this time of isolation. Try to have a dedicated time every day, allocated to different family members — maybe call them, or leave a voice note or sweet text. Mental Health needs to be as rigorously cared for around this time, as the physical health is. We’re all reliant on the one body.

Finally, Liezel’s most heartfelt words of wisdom for everyone during this time are:

Stay safe, be considerate, and when strength fails you – ask for help. You’re not alone. We’re all going through this, and we are all facing similar problems. I honestly believe that it is going to require all of us pulling together, and leaning on each other to get through this period.

This content has been created as part of our freelancer relief programme. We are supporting journalists and freelance writers impacted by the economic slowdown caused by #lockdownlife.

If you are a freelancer looking for a small fee to contribute to The South African, read more here.