Thank you load shedding. There’s a sentence no one has ever said… sincerely. But, despite all the annoyances accompanying load shedding there is one thing we should be grateful for – it forces us to slow down and switch off.
We’re living in a go-go-go era, where we barely have time for ourselves let alone others. Why not use this time wisely and bring a little balance back into your life? Instead of turning to your phone, iPad or laptop when the lights go out, give your portable possessions insurance policy a breather by leaving these devices undisturbed somewhere safe, until the lights come back on. Rather put a nice meal together and try out a few of these activities
Stop brooding in the dark – it’s creepy and can be bad for the soul. Rather take a nap and catch up on some much-needed sleep. You can always finish your TV show or project when the lights come back on and by then you’ll be able to approach the problem with fresh eyes. You could also try meditation; it’s been scientifically proven to help reduce stress and anxiety, while improving your focus and creative thoughts.
Reconnect with your family and friends. It’s so easy today to live past each other, even if you’re sharing a house. Use load shedding to start enforcing family time again. Talk and listen to each other. Surprisingly, you don’t need bandwidth or airtime to communicate with your family.
Dress warmly and go outside. If the lights are out, the stars will be more visible. Throw a blanket on the grass and snuggle together for warmth, while looking at the stars. If you know load shedding will be affecting your area, read up on astronomy beforehand and impress everyone with your astronomical knowledge.
Light up a couple of candles to toast marshmallows and take turns telling stories. Tell your kids about when you were young or let each person tell the scariest story or legend they can think of. You can even play a game where each person adds a line, thus creating your own weirdly wonderful story.
Transform the living room into another world. Use candles, torches, solar lights and lanterns to light up the room. Build a fort or hide-away with pillows and blankets – putting it together will be just as much fun as playing inside. Move your living room furniture out of the way and have a candle / torch light picnic.
Break out the card deck, board game or even a puzzle. This is a fun way of involving the whole family. Ask your neighbours to come over and make a night of it – competing family against family, adults against kids or men against women. To keep things more affordable, swap games out with your friends and neighbours.
Put up a family play or divide everyone in groups and hold a talent show. Alternatively, use a torch and a clear wall to put up a shadow puppet play. You can spice your stories up by building settings earlier on, if you know load shedding is coming your way. Use these plays to “complete” the TV show that was showing when the lights went out.
Hold a scavenger hunt with torch light or play torch-tag. This is a combination of tag and hide and seek. One person is the torchbearer and everyone else hides. You lose if the torchbearer catches you in their light.
Read. This is an opportune time to catch up on your reading. Make sure there is enough light though, so that you don’t strain your eyes. If you have younger kids, gather everyone for story time.
After a long difficult day, you deserve a break. Pour yourself a steaming bath, add your favourite bubble bath, light up the bathroom with candles and relax. The day’s troubles will melt away, leaving you refreshed and tranquil for when the lights come back on. Just take care that you don’t leave candles burning unattended.
Let’s stop cursing the darkness and rather try to enjoy these forced breaks as best we can.