These unusual times may well have presented us with a little more time on your hands than we're accustomed to, but let's look at the glass half full: there is an opportunity to use this quieter period to introspect and focus on self-development.
With half of the world currently hunkered down at home, we have valuable space to contemplate and create important changes, personally and professionally.
Here are some of the ways you can start that journey.
Embrace new healthy habits
Establish a daily exercise routine and stay active.
There are some great home workout apps such as Nike Training and 7 Minute Workouts that don't require equipment, and a variety of YouTube videos or Zoom classes with fun workouts like cardio dance and yoga.
Try out a healthy meal subscription service like Lean Nations or start meal planning at home. Meal planning will allow you to make smart decisions regarding your personal health and nutrition, take the stress out of grocery shopping, save money and reduce food waste.
Upgrade your skills and share your expertise
Online course platforms like BYLCx, Coursera and Skillshare offer a plethora of learning programmes you can choose from. Look out for certified courses affiliated to universities or programmes that are free or discounted during the lockdown.
Set aside time to update yourself on industry news and trends, and attend the virtual webinars and workshops being organised by various institutions.
Take a fun, non-traditional approach to learning. Watch an educational film, documentary, YouTube series or Ted Talk, or master a new language.
Share your knowledge and experience. The best way would be to host a Facebook or Zoom session in your field of expertise (for instance, communications training if you're a media professional) and invite people to attend via social media.
Get those creative juices flowing
Get creative or pick up a new hobby to recharge your mind and spirit.
Brush up on your cooking skills with these super simple 30-minute recipes. Try your hand at knitting, croqueting, drawing or painting. Flex your green thumb, start a small herb garden in your kitchen or nurture an indoor plant. Bring out that long-forgotten keyboard, start a blog to share your passions or learn some handy phone photography tips and tricks.
Work on your post-lockdown plans
Keep a positive outlook and plan ahead for brighter days.
Map out your short-term goals or create a two-year plan. To track progress, break down your goals into actionable steps, create a task list, define milestones and set timelines.
Revisit your budget. Are your lifestyle, spending habits and debt repayments aligned with your short- and long-term financial goals? Are you putting aside enough for emergency and retirement funds?
Draw up a bucket list of the places you'd like to visit and experiences you seek.
If you've thought of starting your own business, now is a great time to brainstorm a business plan. Carry out market research, assess demand and work on a potential go-to-market strategy. At the very least, educate yourself on the basics of starting a profitable business in Bangladesh.
Declutter and donate unused belongings
Put aside thirty minutes daily to declutter and organise your home.
Take a particular category of items, for instance, your shoes or tax paperwork, and dedicate a space for organisation: a flat surface or a cardboard box to dump the things you'll be sorting out. Order picture frames and albums and arrange those long-forgotten photos. Or select a space to organise, such as your stationery drawer.
Create a 'throw' pile of anything you don't need, use, enjoy or have duplicates of. Give your 'keep' pile of things (or the space itself) a thorough cleaning.
Create a system as you put the items back. Invest in ring folders or drawer organisers so it's easier to find things moving forward.
Put away anything you use rarely or seasonally – like those winter boots you bought for your Europe trip or the utility bills you're holding on to just in case. Snap photos of these 'archived' items so you remember what you've stored in that difficult-to-reach top shelf or that carton box under your bed.
Fill a box with your unused belongings, donate to the needy, pass on to friends and family or sell on Bikroy.
Help your community respond to COVIDCovid-19
Several charitable initiatives have kindled the light of hope amid this crisis. Join and support these humanitarians, including students, volunteers and non-government organisations, who have stepped forward with aid for the needy.
Gift a meal to those in need with Pashe Achi "পাশে আছি" by CSR Window Bangladesh, a Food Sharing Platform that connects people wishing to donate cooked food to volunteers (Kindness Ambassadors) in their area.
Keep social connections alive
Thanks to technology, social distancing doesn't mean we have to be any less social.
Call a long-distance loved one, rekindle with an old mate, or start a virtual book club with friends on Zoom. Connect with industry peers on LinkedIn and check how your existing contacts are managing the lockdown.
Turn ordinary dinners into fun 'theme' nights for the family. Cook up a Korean meal and put on a Korean film to soak up a new culture. Play board games, solve puzzles or start a family tree.
Take a few moments each day to switch off your devices, indulge in your favourite treat, enjoy a warm foot soak or play some soothing music – whatever helps you unwind.
Lastly, try breath meditation techniques to beat anxiety, improve your focus, and cultivate mindfulness and self-awareness.