Almost two months into this lockdown now and we wonder if life will ever be the same again. Sorry for getting philosophical, but off late we’ve had so much time on our hands, that our minds tend to wander off towards the world of negative thoughts, which in turn could affect our mental health. The key to avoid these negative thoughts, I’ve realised, is to keep yourself busy — mentally and physically. Apart from struggling to work-from-home (with so many distractions), this lockdown has forced most of us into cooking three meals a day and cleaning every nook and corner of our houses.
This is the ‘new normal’. For how long? We still don’t know. In the meantime, I think many of us have developed a stay-at-home routine for ourselves in order to make the best use of all the time on our hands and to be as productive as possible. Personally speaking, I have observed some habits that I have developed during the course of this lockdown, which I did not have much time for pre-Coronavirus, or just simply failed to noticed them before.
Some of these habits are good, some of them are bad, and some are kind of irritating. Apart from becoming a master chef, an ace cleaner and a professional Netflix-and-chill-er (who isn’t), here are some of the things I have been doing, a few consciously and others unknowingly, during this lockdown.
1. Writing: One of my goals this year was to work on my writing and make it better. In these two months, I finally made time to learn the craft of writing from books, videos, IGTV workshops and various writing prompts, by dedicating at least two hours a day. Ticking this one off my list of resolutions.
2. Reading: I have always been a voracious reader; usually devouring one book a month. But during this lockdown, I’ve upped my game to two to three books a month. I’m inching towards reading one book a week *fingers crossed*. Literary fiction, fantasy, short stories and travel diaries, I’m reading everything that I can get my hands on.
3. Self-care: This may sounds kind of vain, but when this lockdown gets over, I want to emerge with the face of a goddess — clear and radiant. For that I cleanse, tone and moisturise my face twice daily and exfoliate twice a week. With all the cleaning and cooking and sanitising, I also make sure that I moisturise my hands and feet every night. Because, hey, you gotta take care of yourself!
4. Games: Whenever I’m bored, I pick up my phone to challenge my friends for a game on ‘Fight List’. My husband and I love to kick each other’s asses over a few games of ‘Sequence’. I also attempted to play car racing games on the PlayStation after my husband insisted that I try to get the hang of playing on a PS.
5. Siesta: I was never a nap person, but after cooking and cleaning everyday, I eventually end up taking a 30-minute siesta post lunch (despite trying to fight it). I wake up grumpy and complain about the time I lost because of sleeping, and this happens literally every single day.
6. Online window shopping: Retail therapy is a legit thing, I can vouch for that. Shopping makes me happy (relax, I don’t go overboard with it). But since most websites aren’t making any deliveries, I end up just going through these retail sites and add things to my cart or my virtual closet. This includes everything from clothes to furniture to books. I get that it’s a complete waste of time, but hey, it’s fun.
7. Social media: Before this lockdown, I barely used to go on any social media platforms as I preferred talking to my friends and family via calls, texts or meeting them in person (call me old fashioned). But now, I find myself logging on to Facebook, Instagram and YouTube more often than not. I’m also guilty of watching everything, from food recipes to vlogs to workout videos.
8. Workout: Speaking of workouts, being at home all day, with almost negligible amount of movement, I try to make sure to include some form of exercise four to five times a week, in the form of cardio, body weight strength building exercises and yoga workouts. It’s fun as there are many apps and videos available online for free. For apps I pick and choose between Down Dog, Fit On and Cure Fit. On YouTube I follow Shona Vertue and Madfit.
9. News: In these past two months, I have consciously made an attempt to keep myself updated with the news. In my head I have compartmentalised two forms of news that I consume — one is COVID-19 related news and the other is long reads on various non-Coronavirus and non-political topics. Indian Express and their Sunday supplement, The Eye, are my go to sources.
10. Imitation: This one is silly and embarrassing to admit, but I, for some reason, have developed this habit of imitating my husband’s cough and sneeze (no, he doesn’t have Coronavirus). Whenever he coughs or sneezes, I end up following it with a dubstep version of it and turn it into a music track. You never know, this random cough sneeze dubstep mix could end up being this summer’s biggest hit. If ‘Dhinchak Pooja’ and ‘Baba Sehgal’ can make hilarious (and stupid, sorry for being judgmental) songs on Covid-19, I’m sure I can ace it too.
11. Hydration: As the temperature steadily rises, I gulp down a minimum of 2-2.5 litres of water every day, something that I never kept a track of earlier. Between cooking in the heat and the smoke, cleaning the house, working out and mix in the killer heat (pun intended) of Mumbai, I decided not to let dehydration get the better of me. I’m in it to win it.
12. Meditation: Any form of meditation is very important, especially now, to keep your mind off the negative things that we hear and read all day. I do Pranayam as a form of meditation usually after my workouts for 10 minutes. Trust me when I say this that by concentrating on something as simple as breathing I feel surprisingly refreshed. It is an instant mood lifter. You should give it a shot.
13. Music: Because what is life without music? Everything is easier with music, even cooking and cleaning. From chill and hip-hop playlists to weekend party hits, music is one thing that is constantly going on in the background during most part of my day, even when I am working, reading and exercising.
14. Staring out of the window: Being indoors all day can get suffocating at times. By just taking a break and looking out of the window, just for a few minutes, is weirdly reassuring. It’s kind of poetic in a way; the slight rays of the sun that filter through the window, the gentle breeze, the swaying of the leaves on the trees, the empty streets and of course, the quick glances at the neighbour’s houses. It also helps to breathe in fresh air, gaze at the greenery and imagine that everything will be alright.