1. DE-STRESS

How to cling to dear sanity during a lockdown

COVID-19 seems to have shaken the world like never before. Countries are in panic, entire industries have shut down operations, the economy stands at the precipice of doom, and the possibility of a timely containment and curb of the virus appears dim. To add to that, a lockdown, bringing life as we know it to a standstill.

Initially, a lockdown may not seem too bad. Some may view it as a break from their hectic routines or a golden opportunity to do all the things they never get time for. However, as it gets prolonged (and it may even further), the situation may put us in dire stress. Staying cooped up at home, unable to meet friends and family or to step out for recreation can get to the best of us, right? Social distancing can probably drive us into a lonely corner with boredom and frustration to keep us company. 

However, even in this dark hour, there are people determined to stay positive and make the best of the circumstance, people who make the world a happy place and run with what they’ve got. I got curious about how they are coping with the lockdown situation and dug out some very interesting answers. 

I started with my 13-year-old niece, Ayesha who misses going to school and playing basketball in the evening. “What really helps me stay sane during this period are my friends. Even though I can’t actually meet them, calling or texting them is nearly as much fun. And now they’re always free! I’ve also been trying to find new hobbies, like this new video game my friends have been raving about. I also read and take Cola (her dog) for a walk, which gives me a chance to get out of the house.”

Another lucky canine owner is Jyotsna, 50 whose doggie, Tiger, grants her the opportunity to achieve her daily target of 7,000 steps on her fitness band. “I also do an hour of yoga every morning (whether I like it or not), which always leaves me feeling happy. During the day, I make sure to have some music playing in the background and definitely not the news. The most crucial thing – when I don’t feel up to anything, I listen to my body and take it easy. Keeps me from going batty.”

Finding humour in her situation, 19-year-old Oorja, a college student talks about how tough the first few days of self-isolation were, how she spends time in the kitchen, learning about the quantity of water to add to dal and making weird-shaped rotis. One very important thing that helps take her mind off are Harry Potter audio books, which she meekly confesses she hasn’t read before. 

Recently married, Radhika, 31 has found multiple activities to keep her going. “I do my household chores mindfully. In fact, even routine jhadu-pocha can be so relaxing! I meditate and pray for the whole world, create DIY videos (something I always wanted to do but never prioritised before) and cook something interesting once in a while. To add to that, I am pursuing an online diploma in organic skincare and am in the process of creating a bison board for my business venture for the next five years with daily actionable steps. And when I seek fun, it’s spending quality time with my spouse, reading or playing games together.”

Also recently married and separated by Corona from her husband who lives in another city, Netra, 35 is doing her best to keep herself occupied. “I’ve been trying to do things I couldn’t do during my regular working life, like reconnecting with old friends, colouring, trying my hand at new recipes, reading and meditating. This has helped me keep my wits about me so far.”

“I finally get to spend some time with my family,” shares Shravan, 40 who has a hectic job. “Not only that, I’ve been reading books and magazines and enjoying the general lazing around that seldom comes my way.”

What works for Malika, 32, a mother of two is sticking to her daily routine. “Just because there is no place to be, dressing up in the morning, doing my half hour of meditation, getting the kids ready et al hasn’t changed. It’s also important to believe that THIS is temporary. It shall pass just like so many other bad days do! I picked up a book again, painted after years, organised all my cupboards and mop the floor daily for exercise. I’ve also started gardening which is so therapeutic!” 

Shobhana, 72 keeps herself busy with reading, watching movies and watering plants in the absence of her maali. Shyam, 33, has taken to baking breads and cakes and cooking his way out of his comfort zone. He has no intention to sleep and binge watch the quarantine away. Mavis, 63 has been on a house cleaning spree, pulling out new crockery to replace the old. She and her husband have also discovered Houseparty and Zoom to chat and laugh with family far away, and also indulge in a game of Monopoly or Boggle with their grandchildren. Copal, 32 from Ireland goes for an occasional long walk by the river and keeps herself occupied with planting and tending to seasonal flowers, lettuce, gooseberries and some herbs. So that she doesn’t put on extra weight during the lockdown, she’s been doing online workouts like Dancefit, yoga and pilates, and runs up and down the stairs 10 times a day. She has also been experimenting with Irish cooking.

This positive attitude is not limited to an age group or city. When you have friends from all possible ages and multiple cities and countries, the solutions are bound to be versatile and fascinating. With so much to do around the house, the hours are bound to trickle away. These healthy, interesting ideas and coping mechanisms can make the indefinite lockdown easier to endure, keeping the flame of hope alive.

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