Catia De Castro is a student journalist at Wits Vuvuzela. This is what lockdown has taught her.

The national lockdown has been a new and unique experience, impacting each individual differently.  For me, the lockdown has taught me valuable lessons and so my experience has been fairly positive.

Appreciation for life’s little luxuries 

I have learnt to appreciate the smaller things in life that I would often overlook under different circumstances. For example, I am lucky enough to have a garden of my own, which has been the ultimate luxury during lockdown. It has provided me with a small sanctuary on days when I feel claustrophobic inside the house. Many people are confined to their houses with very little space to experience a sense of freedom. Standing in my garden, watching as the trees move in the wind, I no longer feel as trapped and my world doesn’t feel so small.


Lockdown has taught me self-discipline with both my university work and fitness. Procrastination can be incredibly tempting when working from home, especially when there are all sorts of distractions that are much more appealing than work or exercise. These distractions are particularly hard to resist without a set schedule or anyone to monitor your behavior. In the beginning of lockdown, I found myself sleeping in more and had little motivation throughout the day. I had to quickly adjust to the circumstances and discipline myself in order to meet my deadlines. I began waking up earlier and taking smaller breaks. Additionally, setting a schedule for my daily workouts helped me stick to my goals. In the end, the lockdown has actually allowed me to be more productive than ever before.

Controlling my anxiety levels

The sombre and unwavering presence of covid-19 has made day-to-day life stressful for many, myself included. The pandemic has created a lot of uncertainties which has caused my anxiety levels to go through the roof. Under lockdown, I have learned how to cope by turning to my hobbies for comfort, often finding it in music, books or television. Being a student journalist, it is important to keep up with news, which can often cause more stress. So, I have also turned to light-hearted comedies to remedy my anxiety.

Reading offers a great distraction from the hardships of reality and thus, offers me a safe space to retreat to when I need it most. I have enjoyed reading fantasy books as well as classics during this time, as they take me to worlds unknown to me, whether it be England in 1813 or a completely fictional world.

How precious time is

Before lockdown, my mom, Sandra Capela (50), was meant to relocate to Canada at the end of March, as she received a once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity. I had planned to stay with a friend until November in order to complete my honours degree, but lockdown altered our plans and provided us with the gift of time. Being grateful for the extra time and being aware that travel restrictions could fall away at any moment, I have learnt to cherish the moments we share even more so. Although we still have our disagreements, which is bound to happen in confinement, I find that we forgive a lot quicker.

My mom’s butterfly tattoo represents her new journey and someday soon, I know she’ll fly away.


Lockdown has also provided me with time for self-reflection. Being in a form of isolation, I have learnt a lot about myself in the process. I have learnt that I am neither an introvert nor an extrovert, but a mixture of both. I enjoy isolation and am perfectly content being alone. However, I have found myself craving socialisation like never before. Lockdown has shown me how important it is to take time to reconnect with yourself and stay in touch with your isolated identity, separate from who you are amongst people. You can begin to lose yourself when forming a perception of identity based on your interaction with others or their opinions of you.