With the whole world indulged in a battle with the novel Coronavirus, people inside their houses under lockdown are in a war with themselves. The war of overcoming fear, stress, anxiety, depression, and loneliness.
It is not just the suffocation that they are feeling inside their houses but also the mental stress and pressure that they have to deal with every single day. During this pandemic, many people have lost their jobs, lost their wealth, and most importantly their health. In the end, the only thing that will matter will be the ability to handle pressure with patience and be optimistic about a new start.
Each coin has two sides. Why don’t we stop blaming and start changing ourselves? Though this pandemic brings a lot of negativity, it still has a lot of positivity to offer. Every situation has its up's and downs. It just depends on how we perceive and react to it. So, here are 9 things to do during lockdown to keep yourself sane, cool and calm.
1. Exercise and Meditate
Physical fitness is not just crucial for a healthy body but also necessary for a healthy mind and for a human’s emotional well-being. Exercise is the miracle cure we've always had, but most of us neglect to take our recommended dose of it. Even though laziness seems like the new normal amidst the other set of ‘newnesses’ that staying at home has brought, there’s no substitute for self-care.
Exercise is the best way to reduce stress. It helps in elevating your mood. Exercise not only helps in improving your physique but also helps to keep your brain active. A study shows that in comparison with people who do not play sports or do any physical activity, those indulging in any kind of physical activity tend to have sharper and faster brain functioning. Lockdown provides us with the perfect opportunity to shape ourselves by utilizing our time constructively.
It’s a good idea to start with bodyweight exercises and slowly increase the intensity of your workout. Always do some stretching pre and post-workout lest you suffer a body ache. You could pick the exercises for your upper, lower, and core areas. Start with a warm-up session of fifteen minutes. Do jumping, running, or skipping. For your upper body, do some push-ups and pull-ups. For your lower body, prefer doing lunges and squats. For strengthening your core, do some crunches, planks, and leg raises. Plan your exercises and workout 5-6 days a week. Make sure to have a cheat day and an adequate amount of sleep to help your body recover.
Meditation is a great exercise for your mind and doing it on a regular basis will help you sail through any difficult situation with ease. Make meditation a part of your routine just like exercise and witness how it adds value to the better version of ‘You’. It helps in increasing your focus, concentration, and patience. Keep your body fit, because it is the only place where you have to live.
2. Learn a new Skill
By choosing to teach yourself a new skill, your time in self-isolation will not only be over before you know it, but you could also significantly benefit your life and career. Learning a new skill will always give you an edge over others. Whether that skill is learning a new language or a new instrument or cooking, it will surely help you in the future.
Lockdown is the perfect time to increase your skillset and engage yourself in something positive. Your skill could also become your source of earning later on. As the saying goes,” First you learn, then remove the first letter from it”.
Lockdown also gives you plenty of time to dedicate to learning a new language, brushing up on vocabulary, and practicing pronunciations. Researchers have found that learning to play a musical instrument can enhance verbal memory, spatial reasoning, and literary skills. Playing an instrument makes you use both sides of your brain, which strengthens memory power. In conclusion, any skill you learn would surely benefit you. Time is precious, please use it wisely. The most important skill is the ability to acquire a skill.
3. Stay Connected
Talking to your family and friends will surely help you if you feel depressed or anxious. Though we need to follow physical distancing, it doesn't mean we need to distance ourselves from others emotionally and mentally. There are times when we feel lonely and need someone to talk to. Having a chat with your dear ones always lightens up your mood and helps in releasing stress. It also helps to strengthen your bond or relationship with that person.
A healthy chat always gives you a feeling of satisfaction and helps in making you less anxious. Perhaps one of the toughest things about lockdown for many of us is not being able to see our friends and family. Talking is sometimes all the therapy you need.
Start doing activities together online with your friends and family. There are so many other creative ways you can use video-calls. For older family members who may struggle to understand technology, this is a good way for them to be able to communicate - especially elderly relatives who may be isolated. It enables you to talk face-to-face which makes the whole experience more lively.
4. Spend Quality time with your family
It's not about quantity but quality. Spending some quality time with your family would surely help to strengthen your bond and would also help kids inculcate values. Spending time with your kids can help you teach values to them. Help your kids in learning new things.
Spending time with your family will help everyone to understand each other. We should have at least one of our meals together as a family. Share our thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Working out and cooking meals together are also good ways to spend time with your family. If you have a garden outside your home, it would be fun to do gardening with your family. These will be the memories you will cherish for a long time.
5. Change your habits
It just takes 21 days to adopt a new habit. Lockdown is the ideal time to change your habits whether it is smoking or getting up late, or being addicted to social media, having regular junk food or no exercise. We can easily change our habits during this time by indulging ourselves in some other activities or by learning a new skill or talking with your friends and relatives.
The habits you inculcate now in yourself will surely shape you in your future and make you more disciplined and dedicated in your life. Good habits developed now will last a lifetime.
6. Ration your news/social media feed
We want to keep ourselves updated with the latest news about everything that is happening around the globe. We constantly keep scrolling through news feeds or checking social media posts. It is important that we fix a particular time and have a fixed duration to get the information that we are seeking. Reading a lot of negative news might demotivate you and instill in you a lack of confidence. Try to seek information and news only at specific times of the day – once or twice, not more.
Though keeping yourself updated is a good thing, spending a lot of time doing this is not worth it. We should try to restrict our social media time. Despite all the good it does, it has its own side-effects.
7. Practise your Hobby
Hobbies build confidence, reduce negative stress, help socialize, and help in personal development. The best way to cultivate a new hobby is to try something new. The world is full of wonderful, exciting activities that we can explore and adopt as our own.
During this phase of our lives, it gives us the perfect time to enjoy hobbies of our choice and help minimize the impact of chronic stress. There is an old saying, “An empty mind is a devil’s mind.” If you are losing your leisure, look out! -- It may be that you are losing your soul.
Relaxation is as important as work. It helps to rejuvenate yourself and makes you fresh. It helps in changing the state of your mind. Relaxation comes in many forms from taking a short nap, binge-watching Netflix, listening to music, or playing some board games. A short power nap is equivalent to a sound sleep. It helps to heal your muscles and mind, thus enlightening your mood.
Researchers at Stanford University have said, "Listening to music seems to be able to change brain functioning to the same extent as medication." They noted that music is something that almost everybody has access to, which makes it an easy stress reduction tool. Music always relaxes your muscles and soothes you.
9. Follow your routine
Ask yourself - What is the first thing that comes to your mind when you wake up? Are you following a healthy routine? Maintaining your routine is the most important step of all. This way you are setting daily tasks for yourself, exploring your creative thought processes, and structuring your time whilst being productive and keeping yourself busy. Make a routine that suits you and ensure that you are flexible in that routine and try to stick to it.
Make sure you follow all the things that are stated above in your routine, to make the best use of your time. There might be days where you may feel like doing nothing or giving up but don’t let that feeling persist. However, it is fine to give yourself a day or two off but that should not continue longer as it won’t take long for it to get converted into a habit.
Here are my suggestions of the 9 things you can do to keep yourself sane during these uncertain times. Do you have something to add to the list? Let us know!