Learn to Love the Lockdown

By Rippan Sandhu

What a weird month, huh? It’s amazing how much the world can change in two short weeks, and for most of us, we haven’t spent this long indoors since we were grounded as children! As children, we used to find an endless supply of things to do when forced to socially distance, but now many of us are finding this Covid-19 self-isolation ridiculously difficult. Don’t worry, we have you covered!

It can be tempting to roll out of bed whenever you like — after all, with everyone working remotely, ‘end of business’ has lost a lot of its meaning. However, while you can safely snooze through the time you’d normally spend commuting, try to maintain a schedule and do the things you’d normally do, just at home. If you usually wake up at 7 to get ready for work, feel free to sleep in till 8 — so long as you’re still ready to hit the ground running at 9. Eating at your regular lunch break and dinner time is also a great way to maintain your health, weight, and metabolism while the gym is closed.
Speaking of exercise — just because you don’t have access to your favourite classes is no reason not to get out and enjoy the sun! A daily walk around your neighbourhood, alone or with someone in your household, is the perfect way to keep your body active and limber. Just remember to keep 2 metres’ distance from other strollers! Finally, make sure you’re going to bed around your usual time, or no more than an hour later. By setting a schedule everyday, you’re not only regulating your physical but also mental health, and it’ll make it that much easier to adjust to post-Covid 19 life!

We all have that one thing we’ve always meant to get around to doing, but can never find the time! For some of us, it’s an ever-growing mountain of to-read books, to-watch films, to-clean wardrobes. But self-isolation can also be a great time to pick up that skill or hobby you’ve always wanted to try — pottery? Gardening? Watercolour? Whether it’s trying your hand at cultivating your own herb garden, making sourdough, or doing a split, now’s the time to give it your best try. Finding a passion, even if it’s momentary, can mean the difference between staying sane and going stir crazy. And if you don’t do it now, when will you do it?

There’s no reason why social distancing has to be lonely. In our world of modern wonders, technology can keep us connected and present in each other’s lives even if we can’t be physically together. In this difficult time, it’s more important than ever to check in with your friends, your loved ones and your neighbours, and bridge the gap of isolation through conscious togetherness. It can be as simple as enjoying a coffee with a friend through Skype, or scheduling regular calls with loved ones at the same time every day. By incorporating social contact into your schedule, you’ll be sure to avoid the feeling of confinement that can wreak havoc on your mental health and your happiness. All of us need to be grounded in one way or another to the outside world — why not by the people we love best?

It can be tempting to keep refreshing your newsfeed, or scanning headlines on Newshub and international outlets. While it’s important for all of us as responsible citizens to keep informed about the development of the pandemic so we can all do our part in fighting Covid-19, it’s also important to maintain our mental health. Let’s face it — most of us are not epidemiologists who can discover a vaccine or factory owners who can manufacture medical gear for the brave doctors and nurses on the front line. If constantly hearing about the rising number of cases and death toll is hurting your mental health, then it’s unnecessary to continue to stress yourself out in the name of being informed. Simply make a pact with yourself -- and members of your household — to catch up on events once every day, and declare a moratorium on Coronavirus talk if necessary. Keep sane. It’s all we can do.

We live in a digital world, it’s true. We wake up with an alarm clock on our phones, we listen to the news during breakfast, we wear earphones when we work, and more than ever, we live within the confines of our computer and smartphone screens at least 8 hours a day. Given how rare it is to have everybody in the same space for such an extended amount of time, now could be a great opportunity to get to know your loved ones and household members person-to-person. Linger after dinner. Talk! Enjoy downtime that has nothing to do with technology — break out the old Scrabble set, maybe play a game of catch in the yard? Whatever it is, make the most of this time to get out of our digital bubbles and really engage with each other on a human level. In times of isolation, this can make all the difference to keep each other grounded, sane, and happy.

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