Most of the world has been under a strict lockdown in an effort to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Some countries have managed to flatten the curve (you go, New Zealand!), and are finally opening up. The prime minister of India announced the first lockdown on March 21 this year, and since then we've been through several periods of lockdown. However, despite the rising number of cases in several states, governments have decided to slowly (but carefully) open up in an effort to restart the economy.
I may be part of a minority here, but I was one of the few who actually...enjoyed the lockdown. Don't get me wrong, I miss regular activities like going to the gym, watching a movie at the theatre and eating out with friends just as much as the next person. But without the added stress (and wasted time) of a tiring work commute, as well as spending a lot more time indoors, I've managed to create a healthy and sustainable lifestyle for myself. Ever since I started working from home, I've managed to get enough sleep, wake up at a decent hour, cook healthy meals at home, try new workouts online, catch up with long-lost friends over video calls, and even set time aside for some creative hobbies.
Would my regular life have permitted me to fit in all these things into my schedule? I don't think so. But do I want to carry forward this schedule post-lockdown? Absolutely! Agreed, it's certainly going to be a lot more challenging, but I've devised a plan to help me continue with my favourite activities even when I'm not confined to my home most of the time. If you feel the same way, read on for some nifty tips and tricks.
In a pre-coronavirus world, I always felt like I 'couldn't get myself to work out' unless I was physically inside a gym. I guess being surrounded by bulky machinery and sweaty people was my way of motivating myself? Once the virus hit, gyms were one of the few places to shut down. And we were left with no option but to give home workouts a try if we wanted to continue to keep ourselves fit. And honestly...would it be wrong to say that I actually prefer these now? Because of the convenience of choosing the time and place of your workout, I've tried so many different forms of exercise--from pilates to power yoga to dance fitness. Now, it's hard for me to go back to a traditional gym and lift weights. Plus, will I even have the time to work out as efficiently as I used to with the added stress of a lack of time?
My advice? Cancel your gym membership, and continue trying different workouts online. See if you can work out at a local park or maybe try something completely new like a climbing gym. And if you must keep your gym membership, try getting one which allows you to try multiple kinds of classes with a single membership.
Prior to the lockdown, I wasn't someone who enjoyed everyday cooking. I saw cooking as a leisurely activity that I could only do when I had ample amounts of time. I would mostly order in, and would cook meals only over the weekend. However, owing to the outbreak, ordering in was not wise during the lockdown. This left me with no option but to cook every single meal for myself. Unlike my leisurely weekend activities, I was also juggling a job along with cooking three meals a day--so I got creative. I scoured the internet for delicious recipes that were quick to cook. Soon, I learnt so many cooking tricks--especially ones about how long certain foods can last in the fridge. Then, I started cooking in large batches and could go two-three days without cooking. But slowly, I actually started enjoying the process of chopping veggies, washing salad and slicing meat--it was almost meditative. And don't even get me started on how good and nourished my body felt! This is a habit I'm definitely going to keep, and if you also just CAN'T go back to ordering in food, learn the art of meal prep! All you need to do is dedicate about 45 minutes to an hour, two to three times a week and you're sorted. These quick, affordable and delicious meals will nourish your body and soul!
If you were someone who had long commutes and erratic work hours stopping you from working out earlier, the lockdown must have opened your eyes about how essential it is to get some form of physical activity regularly. However, just because you're going back to your office it doesn't mean you should stop being active altogether. Maybe you could jog for a few kilometres on your morning commute (don't forget to pack fresh office clothes)--try ditching the cab to the metro station or simply book your cab from a different location!
I have always been the kind of person who wouldn't take the usual hour-long lunch break and eat at my desk while working instead. Why waste so much time, I would think, when I can just finish my work early and leave on time? Being in quarantine, I made sure I took an hour out, cook and eat my lunch in silence without any distractions. It helps you centre yourself and regain your energy. If you think you'll get caught in the hustle of life and miss spending quiet time by yourself, I highly recommend walking away from your desk during lunch hour, and finding a quiet spot to think and eat by yourself. You're surrounded by your colleagues for most of the day. Give yourself some 'me time' in the middle of a long day.
Meditation is probably one of the best habits I incorporated into my daily routine post lockdown. We're currently dealing with a global pandemic--so along with the anxiety of getting infected, we're also dealing with pay cuts, insecurity about our jobs, social isolation--basically, a complete upheaval of life as we knew it. The one thing that truly helped me manage my anxiety is meditation. I started with a guided meditation app, and now I prefer to meditate to the sound of soothing music. But will it be easy to continue to keep aside 20 minutes to half an hour during a busy workday? Possibly not, but that doesn't mean I won't try! Here's my plan: meditate during my morning commute. Remember the remaining part of your commute just after your run? Use that time. Of course, this is only possible if you don't drive your own vehicle. And if you take a metro--try fitting in at least 10 minutes while waiting for the train to arrive at the station. Soon, meditating on the go will become your new habit! And it will actually help you deal with the sheer chaos of rush hour.
So there you have it--five hacks into how I plan to continue my favourite lockdown activities when normal life resumes. And if you're not able to keep up with each and every one of them, don't be so hard on yourself. It's a big transition--so may start with one habit and then add another one. There's no need to try to have it all together--learn to be kind to yourself!
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