It all feels so surreal, doesn’t it? The world has come to a complete standstill, and nobody knows what to do. Even in the mighty Mumbai, where the nights began with the hustle and bustle of the revelers and the morning brought the small-time vendors, lies silence. The city that never sleeps finally has to lie down and take a break.
Of course, a break of almost three weeks is absurdly long. For those of you living alone, or with your families, it’s bound to bring about periods of intense lethargy, depression and loneliness. So, it is crucial that we try to occupy our time healthily, and indulge in activities we have always wanted to do. There is nobody to interrupt you and nothing to stop you. So it’s time to get those creative muscles flexing! Here are ten ways you could beat away the Quarantine Blues.
1 . Read Something.
Of course, every time you’re even a little bored, this is the first thing you do. Be it an audiobook or an ebook or even a paperback, it’s our first escape from reality and is the most reliable. As Anne Frank, once said, “Paper doesn’t lie.” If you don’t read often, here are some tricks you could try before getting into the actual thing – A) Try Audiobooks – You can simply listen to them as you would listen to music, and it is incredibly convenient for when you want to do other activities like cooking and cleaning (we will be coming to these two.) B) Use a pencil to follow your reading – People who don’t often read the material in bulk have a difficult time processing what they are reading and often lose track in the process. The best advice would be to follow your reading with a pencil on each word. Of course, this does make you feel like you’re reading a PhD dissertation and not an action thriller, but don’t worry; you’ll soon stop caring, and then ultimately lose the habit. C) Just start – Of course, the best way you could read is to just get into it. Read for the first time, gain an understanding of your speed and capability. Do you understand what you are reading? Do you think you are reading too fast? Pace yourself based on how you feel. It ultimately is about you enjoying your alone time and taking a breather for yourself.5 D) Make a Book Club – Form a virtual book club. If you have a clique of friends who are also good readers, you could all pick a book for a week, and give it a read. And at the end of the week, you could all call each other and have a conference call discussing the book.
2 . The plain ol’ Netflix and Chill.
When the lockdown first started, there were speculations that viewership on online streaming sites like Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+ and many more would go up drastically. Suffice to say, it did. With viewership soaring in countries like the UK, Netflix has reduced the resolution of the videos, to enable smooth viewing to the increased populace. So I guess, you could join the crowd and settle into the couch with an exciting thriller or a rib-tickling rom-com. Netflix has a wide array of shows and movies from all genres, and you could just get onto it and take your pick. While Netflix usually comes to about Rs.800 per month, it offers a free trial month for which you could sign up. And don’t forget to cancel your subscription at the end of this quarantine!
3 . Cook.
This one could be a little more tricky. It’s the time to quarantine, and not all supplies are freely available to everyone. Vegetables and fruits are scarce; grocery shops have either closed down or have been wiped clean by panic buyers. Tasty additions like cheese, butter are not essential and hence won’t be readily available. So, if you would still like to indulge in the desire to cook, you could make do with the supplies you already have. Try to steer clear of the essentials like milk, tomatoes, onions, wheat and rice, unless you’re cooking for breakfast, lunch or dinner. And even then, consume fewer resources in the cooking. You need to make sure that you have enough stuff to last at least one week comfortably.
4 . Do a Deep Clean of the house.
A lot of psychologists have said that cleaning is often therapeutic. The sight of a spotless apartment at the end is enough of a serotonin boost to last for a long time. You could sweep and mop the house and maybe help your mom with the dishes too if you’re living with your family. Take this chance to clean below the dreaded carpet finally. If you live alone, finish activities that involve the same type of cleaning, take a break, and then move on to another. For example, if you have swept and mopped the house, take a power nap, and then arrange all the books on your shelves. We would, however, suggest that you clean your books before sweeping because musty, old books often are caked with dust. Clean corners and reward yourself in breaks with some fresh fruits or a tall glass of water. Once it is all over, take a nice, long hot shower, and kick back on the couch with a good old movie. Trust me; you’ll not regret it.
5 . Learn an Essential Life Skill.
Take this opportunity for what it is, the time to learn a life skill that could probably break you out of tight spots. Learn to tie different types of knots. Or maybe even better, learn how to stitch and embroider; if you can get to your car, learn how to use a stepney and change a tyre. Take this time to learn new languages and explore new codes – The ASL or the Morse code are great beginners. You can find great beginners guide videos on the internet easily. They may not help you right now, but when they inevitably do, you shall thank your time in quarantine.
6 . Play Board Games.
If you are holed up with your family right now, I’m sure you have already gotten out the board games. From Monopoly to Carroms to the infamous chinese checkers, no sport is annoying when you’ve got nothing to do. If you are alone, however, you could always download apps from the play store for many of the same board games and play with your friends online. If you want to take this opportunity to release some aggressive energy we’d suggest Monopoly be the best. If you’re in the mood for something more laid-back, Pictionary’s the game for you.
7 . Introduce Yourself to New Music or Dance Forms.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a singer or a dancer. You should indulge. Dancing is cathartic, and there’s nothing more fun than singing your lungs out to the classic Country Roads Take Me Home. (We would, however, not recommend this if you were symptomatic.) Look up different dance forms and lose yourself to the one you feel most interested in or comfortable doing. Or instead, you could explore genres of music you have never tried listening to before, and maybe come to the realization, that everything is beautiful in its way, except for corn candy on pizza. Never is corn candy on pizza good.
8 . Try Keeping A Journal
A lot of you must be feeling lost, frustrated and helpless at this time. Do not worry. We are all sailing in the same boat, and there is no certainty as to where it shall dock. However, if you genuinely can’t make sense of anything, it would perhaps help to make a journal. Write down your thoughts, no matter how scattered they are, and let it hear your innermost feelings. It shall never betray you anyway. It is always good to express your thoughts and vent them out instead of bottling them up. If you are not up for writing regularly for so many days on end, you could always record yourself talking about your thoughts. Voila! You’ve got yourself an audio journal.
9 . Draw or Paint.
Drawing and painting have always brought peace to mind. A lot of artists would agree with me when I say that nothing brings more joy and peace to a heart than a painting that has been completed. If however, you have two left hands and couldn’t paint for the life of you, do not worry. There is always modern art. As the movies have said, “Art isn’t supposed to be beautiful. It is supposed to make you feel something.” And if you feel content with what you make, then you should go for it.
10 . Listen to podcasts.
Remember how in the first point I told you about audiobooks? Well, if audiobooks seem to be too long to catch a hold on, you always have something more interesting – Podcasts. Major streaming sites like Spotify and Itunes have thousands of podcasts! From True Crime to Political Thrillers, you could take to whichever strikes your fancy. And if you like them enough, maybe you could start a podcast of your own! So those are some of the fixes we have to cure your Quarantine blues. Let us know if you have any more suggestions below! We send love to everyone out there through these tough times.