The COVID-19 pandemic has left us all pretty confined within the four walls of our houses, albeit for our own good. As tempting as stepping out and experiencing that ‘old’ normal for real would seem, a birdie called ‘common sense’ says that the best we can do to ourselves and others at the moment is staying home and staying safe. That being said, staying home and having too much time can feel like this inexplicable lacklustre, especially when we’re not at all used to having so much time in our hands. Naturally, we end up utilizing most of this free time in binge-watching a list of series on various OTT platforms, finally putting those subscriptions to good use!
But the bad news is, binge-watching anything is not good for your mental health and also your physical health. Binging of any sort, causes your brain to secrete dopamine—a hormone that’s produced to give the body a very natural feeling of pleasure, making you want to do that particular activity again and again. In no time, it becomes an addiction and can ultimately lead to depression as it starts meddling with your social and emotional well-being.
So, let’s leave the cauldron of shows boiling in the OTT platforms for a bit and focus on activities that are actually productive during this quarantine time, shall we?
Maintain a journal
These are indeed challenging times. With uncertainties lurking around everything—from job security to personal engagements, it’s bound to stress one out. In such a circumstance, journaling your everyday thoughts can help relieve that stress to a great extent. It’s a wonderful way of venting out the frustration without hurting anybody and you would also feel a heavyweight being lifted off your chest every time you pen down your thoughts. Additionally, you can also speak to a mental health professional online for expert tips on stress management.
Enrol yourself into a free course
With some extra time in your hand, it’s time to bring that extra value to your CV. Sign up for a free course online, which you think can contribute to your career in any way. There are plenty of free courses available from excellent universities that can really level up your professional stature. You can also sign up for some paid courses if you think it can really be a game-changer for your career going forward.
Set up a workout routine
If working out has always been a part of your daily routine, then you don’t need to know why it should still continue to be an integral part of your day. But if you’re someone who has only been planning to include exercise in their daily routine, then now is the best time to finally do it! You don’t need to hit the gym for it, really! All you need is the will and motivation and an internet connection to browse some workout videos online—and you’re all set!
Learn a new skill
Knowledge is infinite and any chance to grab it shouldn’t be missed. Instead of binge-watching, utilize this time to learn a new skill. It can be anything—cooking, gardening, dancing, playing chess, learning the guitar or a new language. Additionally, you can also utilize the time to fine-tune some of your existing skills, be it coding or painting. Your skill, your choice!
Read that book you’ve been wanting to
Now this applies only if you’re into reading. If not, you can simply skip to the next point. However, if you’re into reading and your busy schedule kept you from starting or finishing a book previously, now is the best time to resume that activity and start your very own book club! Alternatively, you can also get engaged in listening to audiobooks.
Being mindful about your surroundings is very crucial for a healthy living. Especially during times like these when there’s so much negativity everywhere, from news channels to WhatsApp forwards, keeping your sanity intact is imperative. So, find yourself a little corner in the house, light up some candles and play soothing music, and meditate for some time without fail every day. This will significantly help in reducing your stress and anxiety and also imbibe a positive attitude towards life.
Catch up on some sleep
Now you may wonder, how is this any productive? You’d be surprised to know that sometimes not being ‘seemingly’ productive is actually productive, or a means to boost your productivity. Lack of sleep can adversely affect your work performance and at the same time, increase your stress levels alongside various health risks. During this pandemic, everyone’s sleep patterns have changed drastically and if you fall in the same lot, it’s time to change that for good. Avoid binge-watching at night and limit your screen time. Make sure you get at least 8 hours of sleep so that your body is prepared to function efficiently the next day.
Create your own personal development plan
This is from a long-term perspective, wherein you set certain goals for yourself and work towards each milestone. Allocate timelines for yourself and once you reach those timelines, review your own performance and development. These goals can be a compilation of everything you’ve aspired to be, professionally and personally. It can include the free/paid courses you decided to pursue, the new skill you thought to learn, or something else.
Now is the best time to make use of the ‘extra’ time that has suddenly come your way. Instead of binge-watching most of the time, focus on doing activities that boost your mental and physical well-being. For any concerns related to your mental health, you can always reach out to a mental health professional online on MFine.