As much as we would hate to admit it, hard and difficult times are but a phase in our lives.  Sometimes, they come in the form of trying times in our personal lives. At other times, humanity collectively goes through challenges together, like the current Covid-19 crisis. During such challenging times, how we respond to a crisis, how we bounce back, how we cope, and how resilient we are determines the quality of our life.

While India has gone into a 21-day lockdown, the entire nation is suddenly finding themselves in a sort of house arrest. There’s ample time for most people, which brings in a new problem… boredom. The fact that we need to be vigilant about where we focus our attention cannot be understated. If we are not meaningfully engaged in activities, our thoughts can become hijacked by rampant uncertainty and fear and we can quickly get sucked into the panic vortex.

So how do we keep ourselves meaningfully occupied for 21 days without losing our sanity? Described below are 8 ways I plan to spend the next 3 weeks.

This is by no means an exhaustive list. Everyday I keep adding or varying some of my activities. Please, feel free to add anything you want along with what I’ve listed as long as you enjoy it and it’s feasible for you.

  1. Information is Power

First things first, I am educating myself more on Covid-19, and by educating myself I don’t mean just listening to news, reading the print media, or consuming information on social media, which is in a way okay to do in order to remain updated, but I also realize some sources of information may actually add to the frenzy and fear and spread misinformation.  What I’m doing is taking a course run by London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine in conjunction with UK Public Health Rapid Support System. The course is named COVID-19: Tackling the Novel Coronavirus, and is Free.  

Here’s what you will get to learn in the course:

    • How COVID-19 emerged and was identified.
    • How COVID-19 spreads.
    • Public health measures for COVID-19 worldwide.
    • What is needed to address COVID-19 going forward.

There will be quizzes at end of every module to reinforce your learning and opportunity to chat with other course takers all over the world. It’s a great place to learn, strike up interesting conversations about the topic, and stay informed.

There’s another course running on the same platform run by St. George’s University, London. Called:  Managing COVID-19 in General Practice.  The topics covered are:

    • Background of COVID-19.
    • Current situation in the UK.
    • When to suspect COVID-19 infection in primary care.
    • Safe assessment of suspected cases.
    • Infection prevention and control.
    • Management of acutely unwell patients.
    • Management of those with mild symptoms in home isolation.
    • Consultation tips and advice on keeping your practice running safely.

You can choose either of the courses to stay informed or both if you have the time. Each of them run for 2-3 weeks and require 2-4 hours of study per week to complete the course.

2. Find Hope through Art

When I get more free time, I like to visit virtual Art museums and view some paintings.  Not only does it help me appreciate creativity and Fine Arts, but also gives me hope in such bleak times that all is not lost, and there’s so much creativity to be explored. 

3. Gather your unfinished books

This lockdown is a great time to read up on some books.  You can create a cozy nook indoors and assign some time to read up.  Here is a list of 10 books, my all-time favourites and some that I’m currently reading.  If you have some pending books to read, now’s a great time to finish up those books that are there on your bookshelves.

My Book List:

    • The greatest salesman in the world-Og Mandino
    • The four agreements-Don Miguel Ruiz
    • The rudest book ever-Shwetabh Gangwar
    • Science of getting rich-Wallace D. Wattles
    • The book of healing affirmations-Abby Wynne
    • Spiritual parenting-Sapna Sharma
    • Everything is figureoutable-Marie Forleo
    • Mans search for meaning-Viktor Frankl
    • It’s okay to fail my son-Vasant Kallola
    • Gently falls the bakula-Sudha Murthy
The big book box
The Big Book Box Challenge

 

 

Talking of books, The Big Book Box is running 21 Days of Creating challenge on their Instagram Page. You just need to get logged into Instagram if you have an account. Tagline is- “working  towards a better you from home”, there are 10 days of activities outlined that you can do for a while when stuck at home.  Each day, you can follow a prompt and finish the task and share on Instagram using hashtags, #21daysofcreating and #thebigbookbox. When it all ends, some of the best entries will be sent amazing goodies in form of hardcover books to read. Take this opportunity to jump into this challenge.

 

Also read: 42 things to do when you’re stuck at home because of Corona Virus

 

 

4. The Power of Music

One of the joyous ways of staying engaged everyday is to listen to music.  It’s a great way to shrug off all stressors and anxiety to relax.  Madhuparna's spotify playlist

My dad, who is an octogenarian, plays the mouth organ. At a time when he cannot go out for his regular walks and outside contact is limited in that he cannot meet his friends or go shopping or take a stroll outside, I have seen him take out his mouth organ and play it in his room.  You name it, from the national anthem to tune of any Hindi song to regional songs; he can pick up and play it on his mouth organ. Many a times, we spend our evenings over tea listening to his anecdotes and stories about how he learnt to play the instrument and intercollege competitions that he took part in back in the 60s.  It makes for a great tea-time conversation, which is also one way I bond with my dad, and definitely a way you can bond with elders in your family be it music or anything that’s related to their past. That’s also a great way to spend time meaningfully during this lockdown. 

Make good use of this lockdown to get to know your parents and create a rapport with them. Here is a list of the songs I listen to from my Spotify playlist. Feel free to browse and listen to them. (click on the image on the right to zoom in)

 

5. Attitude of Gratitude

If there’s one thing that I have benefited from and have learnt during this Covid-19 crisis, it has to be the power of gratitude.  Look at how privileged most of us are. During a global pandemic, I stay warm at home, reading, working, still being educated, creating, with little worries, and a fridge stocked with food.

Did you remind yourself to be grateful today? 

One of the activities I’ve been engaged in for the past five days is being on a mission to capture gratitude through the lens of my camera. I take a picture each day of something I’m grateful for, anything pretty much, right from my morning cup of coffee to sunrise, to watching my child fall asleep after a long tiring day.  You too can take part in the 5-day gratitude challenge by taking photos and using a photo collage maker to make a collage of the photos and post them on your Facebook or Instagram, use it as computer wallpaper, or a phone backdrop as a way to remind yourself of your gratitude.

 

6. Focus On Joy.

During these tough times, it’s important to focus on the joys of our lives than the impending doom and disaster.  There is a saying that goes like, “Energy flows where attention goes”. I intentionally focus on the small or big joys of everyday life or anything in-between.  My friend and lifecoach, Danielle Brooker, from The Daisy Patch Coaching is running a 10-day challenge called “Share Your Joys” on Instagram. It runs from 20th of March to the 30th Rule of the challenge is each day you post something about what brings you the most joy, your feel goods, and mention Share your Joys and tag her on your post using #ShareYourJoys and @thedaisypatchcoaching on Instagram.  It could just about anything that brings a smile on your face. I am taking part in this challenge and you could check out some of my posts on my Instagram handle. If you want to read any of Danielle’s blogs, listen to her podcasts, subscribe to her newsletter, or book a one-to-one coaching session with her, you can go to The Daisy Patch.

 

7. R.E.S.T

So much for activities to do.  Have you considered rest? But what does rest have to do with meaningful activities to do during a lockdown? Especially, given the fact that the word “rest” is diametrically opposite to the word “activity”.  You see, rest is important. We’ve been obsessed with speed, busyness, and go-go-go mode as a society for such a long time that we’ve become human “doings” rather than human “beings”. Our basic nature is to “be”.  Actively resting and relaxing should be a part of our lives, not just now that the pandemic has broken out and we’re stuck indoors, but also when all this ends and when life goes back to normal. What better way to rest than by indulging in some yoga nidra. Yoga nidra is the ultimate relaxation technique for releasing stress and tension held in your body. It helps you experience a deep level of relaxation with easy to follow meditation and allows your body to restore and balance itself. Karen Brody is a foremost authority on Yoga nidra has authored a book called Daring to Rest along with a 40-day Daring to Rest program.  You can find her book on Amazon and more on her work at her website.

Here’s a free Yoga nidra meditation to give you an insight into how this works.So reclaim your power with Yoga nidra and rise up well rested.

 

8. Finally, practice self-compassion, love and kindness.

The world is going through such a dark time. Now is the time to actively engage in sending love and compassion to everybody.  Of all the things that you choose to do based on this list as a guide or your own list of activities, sending compassion to people in tough times should be your top priority. We need it. All of us need love and hope.

Here’s a meditation link to practice love, kindness, self-compassion and radiate it towards the world for peace and harmony to prevail.

 

At surface nothing may seem like things are changing for better, but believe me, if each one of us practiced the loving kindness compassion meditation everyday for sometime, something’s got to give.

Whatever happens, whether the lockdown is extended or whether it takes time for the crisis to get resolved, we are all in it together and must take heart in the fact that dark nights always give way to bright mornings.  This dramatic, tragic, messy, and stormy period will eventually pass. The insecurities and volatility will ultimately be replaced with serenity.

 

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Madhuparna Adhikary

Madhuparna Adhikary incorporates mindfulness in every part she plays in her life while taking a break from her 7-year-long career in allied-healthcare. She is an avid reader and considers herself a dreamer( How else do Bengalis produce brilliant ideas all the time?) She is forever on a quest for answers to the big questions of life. You can reach her at speedycea@gmail.com.

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