It is Abir's second day of being holed up at home as Bangladesh sits idle due to a 10-day "lockdown" to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The couple of days have already started growing heavy on Abir. A private service holder by profession, he is working from home like the rest of the world.
As the clock lazily ticked to 12.15pm, Abir got up from his desk and headed to the kitchen to prepare lunch. He decided he will try out a new recipe with the ingredients he had at home. Not only did the dish come out to be great, but it also made Abir realise how much he missed cooking - one of his favorite hobbies.
Like Abir, millions of people are locked up in the safety of their homes - away from the deadly effects of coronavirus. Staying home is one of the remedies from the virus, but the homebound situation is also quite new and tedious to some extent. If you are one of the people who are bored from being at home 24/7, The Business Standard has some activities planned to relieve you from the long and frustrating days ahead.
1. Rearrange your home
Giving your home or room a change can revive your spirits. Even if you are the sort of a person who lives their lives around the clock, or suffers from slight OCD, a little change in your home environment will do your mind some good. With the possibility of the lockdown being prolonged, you have more than enough time on your hands to give your home a look afresh.
Repositioning the furniture, changing the curtains or trying out a new combination will not only help you burn some calories but also get rid of the drudgery. And while you are rearranging the furniture, purge out that messy drawer of yours and throw away the old receipts, bits of crumpled up paper, a wrapper of the chocolate bar you ate a few days ago and the remnants of years' worth of garbage. Cleaning up such piles will save you time while looking for important documents and save you the effort you would have otherwise used to turn your whole house upside down!
2. Connect with people over phone
There are at least half a dozen people in your life you needed to call back many, many days ago! This is a good time to call your grandmother and check on her. Calling your former colleague, school friend or even that aunty who always asks about your marriage does not seem like the worst of ideas. Call up people, spread the warmth. People need it most now.
3. Books can be the ultimate solution
It is no secret that many of us have a pile of books we bought a long ago but never got around to reading them. Now is the perfect time to blow the dust off them and start reading - at least one from the pile! You can also try joining online book clubs to not only find great reads, but also to interact with like-minded people. Set some ground rules, get together on remote conferencing platforms like Google Hangout, Viber, or Skype and have the time of your lives discussing books or even role playing your favorite characters.
4. Walk down the memory lane
Most people's lives nowadays have turned mechanical due to their jobs and the strain of daily life. But the ongoing lockdown has given us the golden opportunity to relive old memories by flipping through old photo albums. Sitting down with your family to look at such photographs is a great way to both reminiscence the simpler days and spend quality time with members of your family you seldom get to have a heartfelt conversation with.
5. Testing your cooking skills
Do you tend to rely on food delivery services like Foodpanda or Uber Eats when you feel like eating something special? Does differentiating between different sorts of pasta sound like a living nightmare to you? Give yourself a crash course on cooking while being stuck at home and by the end of the lockdown, you will be able to cook almost everything at the first go - and if not the first, second. Check out the innumerable cooking videos on YouTube and engage your parents, partner or kids to make the adventure more fun!
6. Quit a bad habit
Abdullah has been trying for a long time to quit smoking. The lockdown has given him a new barrier - limited access to his vice. So, if you have been failing again and again in quitting one of your bad habits, now is the time. Know your weakness or simply replace your bad habits with ones good - every time you have the urge to smoke, take a drink of freshly made juice and keep yourself busy with physically intensive tasks.
7. Take care of yourself
We work all day long, but we hardly get time to workout. When we return home from offices, our exhausted bodies give up on us and working out seems like the worst of ideas. But with the lockdown looming, you have plenty of time to give your body the healthy movement it needs. Besides exercising, you can indulge in some self-love. Take turns with your family members to give each other hair massages with oil, or use face masks made from natural ingredients available at home.
8. Nurture the nature
As you cannot go outside and soak up nature's beauty, taking care of the plants at home can be a way to relish greenery. Keeping plants inside the house adds an aesthetic look and helps keep the air clean. Watering and getting rid of dried up leaves gives you another reason to move around the house instead of sitting or laying down for hours. And if you have herbs such as coriander, basil or mint planted at home, adding a few chopped up leaves to your meal can give you a sense of fulfillment.
Similarly, if you planted different types of cress at home, adding a handful of the leaves to your cooking can give the dish a touch of love. You can also easily grow vegetables like tomatoes, chilies, ginger, onions, and more in your balcony. All you will need is sunlight. Do not forget to water them regularly!
And if you want to stick to only decorating your house with plants, golden or marbled pothos, a variety of ferns, snake plants, and an array of leafy evergreens should be more than enough to transform your house into a mini nursery.
9. Learning online
It has been months since you tried playing your guitar that now stands in the corner of your room - with a layer of dust collected over it. With hours and hours of free time in your hands, practicing the guitar is a way to put the time into good use. You can learn any notes of any instrument online. You can also go live on Facebook and surprise your friends with your hidden talent. Challenge them to do something similar - either with music or artwork, anything that unleashes the creativity in them.
Apart from being creative, there are apps to help you learn new languages and many universities offer online courses. Maybe now you can finally get started with learning that one language you always wanted to learn, but did not have enough time to do so. Remember that DIY you wanted to try? Get started with that because time is all we have.
10. Plan and prepare for the future
As every cloud has a silver-lining, the days of being locked down, too, shall pass. However, other calamities can disorient us from reality at any time in the future. The current situation gives all of us enough time to ponder and plan for a more secure days ahead. Speaking to your financial adviser can align your thoughts and prepare you for future emergencies. Calculate the amount of money you need to put aside for an emergency fund. And when you have enough in the fund, sit down and plan your next vacation because once this lockdown is lifted, our inner Marco Polo will set forth on a new adventure for sure.