I’ve been at home for more than a week now because of the Coronavirus pandemic. I got out like once to stock up basic groceries for the next two weeks. But that’s about it. Of course, the Monday to Friday routine took a hit. I’ve realised that’s when most of my human interaction happens because I love staying at home on the weekends. But it’s a different ball game altogether when you have to do it everyday.
So, how has it been so far? Not too bad. It kinda feels like we are part of a Netflix Original, just waiting for the finale. I’ve been catching up on reading, writing more (evidently), trying out new recipes, learning the guitar – anything that keeps me occupied and away from COVID-19 thoughts.
But it isn’t easy, obviously. It’s difficult to stay positive at a time like this. It’s as if the Earth sent everyone to their rooms to think about what they’ve done to the world. Stress levels are skyrocketing everywhere. Numbers are rising, people are stuck in places without their loved ones, companies are downsizing, and what not!
And yes, it looks like this is here to stay for a while. That is all the more reason for us to take care of our mental health. So these pointers might not be as fun as a house party or your solo bike rides, but they’ll definitely help you stay calm during this crisis.
- It’s all in the routine!
Working from home or taking classes online? Wake up at the same time and do the same things! I still wake up early, workout, get ready (which essentially means a different pair of shorts), and then start work! You have even more time now to sleep or cook in the mornings, so why not make use of it? You won’t even realise how the day goes by!
- Har ek friend zaroori hota hai!
Is that Airtel song playing in your head too now? Because I can’t stop singing it! Point being, stay in touch with your gang. Be social from a distance. Office meeting? Do a video call! Fix a time with your weekend buds and put a virtual scene. We’re all in this together, after all! Plus I’m not going to complain about socialising with some whiskey in bed.
- Remember that thing you liked doing?
Rediscover your old hobbies. Things that you’ve only spoken about and not done in the last year at least. I got back to reading again! Simply because I have the time for it now. So maybe you can go back to your thing too.
- Make space for something new!
If not old hobbies, maybe you can find a new one! Learn a language, bake brownies (and send some over), find a pen pal, try a new dance form, or play an instrument? I’ve always wanted to learn the guitar, so that’s my new thing. Maybe I’ll learn the drums next. Too much, huh?
- Have a break. Have a KitKat.
No? That’s okay, I’ll eat the chocolate. You just turn off the news. It is difficult, I know. But following it all the time will only leave you pulling out your hair. So, take a break like Ross and Rachel did. It really helps. Didn’t help them, but your mind will thank you.
- Everyone likes a good Samaritan!
As cliche as that sounds, do whatever you can. Social distancing is the new cool, so even if you head out, keep away from humans (give a belly rub to that puppy though). Other than that, wash your hands, don’t touch your face, feed the strays, give your help paid leave, step out only when you have to, etc. You get my point.
Go! Find a form of physical activity that you enjoy. I can’t do yoga but maybe it’ll work for you? There’s also dance, weights, cycling – whatever you’re up for. There are plenty of online workout classes that you can sign up for too. This is important because you’re not moving around as much anymore. My new favourite move? Flutter kicks!
- Show the love!
And share it too. If you stay with your folks, bond with them. Play a board game, watch a movie, flirt – go all out. If you live alone, pick up the phone and call! Do a virtual date or have a family Hangouts session. It’s the best time to show people you love them. And if you or anyone you know needs professional help, please reach out to a therapist.
There are so many other things that you can do. Though we’ve got to give it to COVID-19, huh? It managed to lock humans up at home. I mean, even Silkboard was empty! Not even a Bharath Bandh has managed to do that. But more than anything else, we’ve all learnt to appreciate life a little more. Who knew there’ll be a day when football ceases? But maybe this is what we needed. Look at how the pollution is clearing up, dolphins are swimming again in the Venice canals, temperatures are going down – the world is healing.
Anyway, it still isn’t the best case scenario. In fact, we are privileged to be at home – safe and sound. And as I write this, I can’t help but think of the people who can’t afford to stay at home. And people who are risking their lives, every second of the day. Kudos to them! Because they’re the ones on the front line. And for their sake, I really hope that this ends soon. Until then, stay home. And stay safe.
May the force be with you.