We’re quarantining, we’re chilling, we’re working harder than usual because work from home somehow becomes longer hours spent in front of the screen. The lockdown time we have is enough to develop “quarantine routines”, something that helps us be sane while being in one place for weeks. However, we are picking up some habits or activities that we probably didn’t have the time for (more like make the time for, because time’s always the same) earlier. More books are being read, more coffee is being made, the arts and crafts are coming out, and our wardrobes have never looked cleaner. 

We all know that when we come out of this, things aren’t going to be the same. We aren’t going to be the same. Here are things you might have just started doing because of being in self-isolation but could continue to inculcate these in your daily life once you’re back out there, living it up. 

 

Slowing down and sleeping more

With a set routine too, you can slow down. Our body sends us all the signals when we need to stop, pause, breathe, but we choose to rush through it. The pandemic has forced us to slow down, in life. Even for those of us putting in the same hours working from home as we would in an office, there’s a certain sense of empty time. Find a way to pause when you need to. We’ve all seen that the world doesn’t stop for anyone, clearly. 

About sleep, mental health professionals time and again emphasise the role it plays in being healthy. “Catching up” on sleep will not be a necessity if you make sure you’re giving your body enough rest on a daily basis. Sure, there will be days when a project will take up your night or you’re worried about that early morning meeting, but observe how much sleep your body needs during this time and use the flexibility to establish the bed time routine you’ve always wanted. Find a way to sleep, guys.

 

Meditate

There are people who love meditation and will recommend it as a solution to everything, and then there are those who have started meditating to keep their cool during the lockdown. I can’t keep my eyes closed or focus on chanting. But I’m a meditation convert, thanks to at least three meditation apps on my phone that have stories built for every kind of meditation. CureFit, for instance, has 15-minute stories for sleep, 7-minute stories for personal growth, or a quick 5-minute morning boost. There are meditation stories for walks too. Fit in a 15-minute routine for yourself and continue caring for your mental health.

Creating for fun

You’ve suddenly discovered that you’ve a knack for baking, like you can actually bake an edible loaf. Or, you’re getting your hands dirty with some painting. Maybe you decided to learn a new language on an app? These are things you are doing for no other reason but the fact that it helps you relax, or have fun, in solitude, maybe with some music. Don’t stop on the account of all that comes back into your life once you’re stepping out. Bake a loaf once a month, or do some adult colouring on your weekends and continue with learning the language or whatever skill it is, even if it’s one lesson in two weeks. 

Carry on your Houseparty

I’ve reconnected on video calls with cousins I’d normally never video call, and it’s nice to talk to someone about just feel-good stuff, maybe recollect memories of childhood. We’re obviously going to have less time than we do now to FaceTime and Houseparty, but it might be a good idea to keep in touch with people you’ve somehow reconnected with more strongly during this time. 

Sitting still

There was a piece by Manu Joseph in 2017 about children losing their ability to be bored, and I feel adults have lost that ability too. But we all are realising that there is something called too much screen time, TV or phones or otherwise. There’s also that bit in your day where you’re probably sitting and staring outside the window, just, thinking of nothing. Sitting still has become a part, albeit a small part, of the lockdown routine and it’s going to be more helpful to consciously do it when you have all the reasons not to. 

Being consistent with therapy

The importance of mental health has been a highlight during this pandemic, mainly because, at different levels, we at least finally acknowledge and understand that everything has a direct or indirect mental health impact. If you’ve started talking to a mental health professional or even gotten on to a mental health app that helps you deal with thoughts and your patterns, keep at it once you are back in the “no time” zone. 

Getting back to reading

A pile of unread books have always called out to you, and you’re finally picking them up. Yes, you probably can’t curl up with them during the week once you’re commuting through hell (another word for traffic) to get to office or working longer hours, but if you are finally getting back to reading, here’s your chance to retain it. A few chapters a day, or two chapters a week. There’s no competition to finish a book, so take your time with it. But, read. Don’t stop again.

Easing out your social media exposure

Some of us have been happier instagramming, some of us are just not willing to touch our phones. I am the latter, my social media usage has gone considerably down. If you are also realising that less social media makes you less anxious, keep doing that. We’re going to be living in a news heavy world for a while, and it won’t all be sunshine. While it’s good to be aware of what’s happening around you, it’s also okay to not know everything happening everywhere, every minute of the day. Keep your phone away for the first hour after waking up, at lunch hour, during dinner and an hour before you sleep.

Yes, the world can really still go on. You’ve seen it for yourself.