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Governments across the globe have come up with measures like self-isolation, travel bans, lockdowns, and social distancing to beat the coronavirus. But giving up the outdoors and sitting at home alone don’t come naturally to us. This unprecedented state of confinement has given birth to fear, anxiety, and frustration in many. Here are some productive, entertaining, and relaxing things to do at home to keep your mind at ease. By Tanvi Jain
1. Read Books And Write A Journal
Keep your phone aside, blow the dust off the book that has been lying on your shelf for as long as you can remember, and start reading. Even if you are done with every single book that you possess, there are many other ways to indulge in some serious reading every day. The website of the National Digital Library of India (ndl.iitkgp.ac.in) lets you access 48 million e-books from all over the country. The World Digital Library developed by UNESCO, the Library of Congress that offers access to books from 200 countries, and JSTOR (jstor.org), the world-renowned digital library of over 6,000 e-books and more than 150 journals, are some more avenues.
Try penning down your thoughts and start a journal or a blog, or even a book! Writing down your thoughts will help take the burden off your mind. If you are an amateur writer, there are many online writing courses on MasterClass (masterclass.com) and Coursera (coursera.org), some of them free of cost.
2. Try Gardening
At a time when the world is facing acute shortage of supplies due to lack of production, transportation, deficiency of stock, panic buying, restrictions, and complete lockdown— growing fruits and vegetables in your kitchen garden will not only make sure you never run out of groceries again but will also help make the planet greener. Apart from these obvious benefits of gardening, plants have therapeutic properties that are known to alleviate mental issues such as anxiety and depression, which can emerge or aggravate during self-isolation.
3. Listen To Music And Audiobooks
Apart from keeping you entertained, music is known to heal broken hearts, soothe senses, and enhance concentration. In a lockdown, there is ample time and reason to revisit your favourite band, or even discover new ones. Many stars are even conducting online concerts for their fans on social media. Be it Coldplay’s Chris Martin, country singer Keith Urban, or Grammy award winner John Legend, the stars have gone from performing at sold-out concerts to singing live on their Instagram handles.
When you’re in the mood to do something more productive, you can listen to audiobooks on platforms like Amazon’s Audible (audible.com), which offers hundreds of books in a variety of languages. Think Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland narrated by Scarlett Johansson, and Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables narrated by Rachel McAdams. If you are fond of comics, then Amazon’s digital comics service, Comixology Unlimited (comixology.com), will keep you up-to-date with your favourite superheroes’ exploits.
4. Learn Something New
Tune into online cooking classes to pick up a new skill. Or learn to cook from some of the best known chefs around the globe— Massimo Bottura, Antoni Porowski, Rachael Ray, Amanda Freitag, Padma Lakshmi, and more—who are posting videos shot in their
home kitchens on their official Instagram handles. These free videos of scrumptious global recipes can teach you how to make great meals with basic ingredients found at home. Many high-end hotels have also come up with similar initiatives where chefs teach you how to whip up new dishes every day through their digital platforms. For instance, ITC Hotels (itchotels.in) is sharing recipe videos on social media in their #FoodForThought initiative. Similarly, chefs at The Ritz-Carlton, Bangalore are uploading new recipes on Instagram regularly. While you’re cooking exciting dishes at home, you may want to share your culinary achievements with the world. Help is at hand! Over a thousand photography courses have been made available for free by the Professional Photographers of America (ppa.com).
5. Undertake Guided Meditation
Being at home 24×7 can be frustrating and the persistent clamour of morbid news only adds to the feeling. Not being able to step out of the house and meet family or friends for long periods of time can be mentally crippling. Meditation practices have proven very effective in maintaining peace of mind. With apps like Headspace, Omvana, Calm, and more, it has become very easy to sign up for meditation sessions from your home. All you need to do is download the respective app from Google Play or App Store, and you are good to go. Adding a few minutes of meditation to your daily routine not only proves beneficial for your mental health but is a healthy way to pass time too.
6. Start Working Out
Can’t go to a wellness resort? Fret not, you can bring it home. Make the most of this quarantine period and sign up for free online fitness classes. Be it on social media or smartphone apps, you can now learn easy-to-do and effective workout routines from fitness gurus across the world, joining a live class or saving a routine to implement it later. Check out online fitness classes at Thanyapura Health and Sports Resort in Phuket (thanyapura.com). You can also try out a virtual yoga session straight from MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa in Sonoma, California (macarthurplace.com). Apart from these, you can join one of various online communities, such as Million Moms (millionmoms.in) that has a wide range of topics for all mothers, ranging from yoga to family, food, and more.