[Updated with 5 more amazing things shared by some friends]
We have never experienced anything like this during our entire living memory. With practically most of the schools, colleges, institutions and even some offices closed due to the panic created by the CoronaVirus, we are collectively being forced to slow down or in some instances — even shut down.
Now that’s something which is very new to a lot of people. Folks who have never experienced a slow moving day or navigated their days in boredom, will surely be very jittery right now. Sorry there is no medication for that.
Over the last few years, we have got heavily addicted to being busy, as if we are in some cosmic competition with the Bee community. We take immense pride in being constantly busy and multi-tasking, cause probably that’s what makes us look like rock stars. It gets our rankings up.
It’s like the race that never ends.
We have forgotten the art of sitting at one place doing nothing, or enjoying a book, or going for a walk, or standing in our balconies and soaking in the view (the one for which you paid obscene amount of $$$) or just talking to a good old friend on the phone. When was the last you did any one of these?
Technology has taken over our lives. Nature is kind of giving it back.
So grab this unsolicited opportunity with its 2 horns (or more) and make the most of it by indulging in some of the things that I have compiled in “my downtime” and a few shared by some good friends —
1. Make phones calls to your friends and relatives with whom you have not spoken for eons. Even better get onto video calls with them to see how they have changed in shape & size
2. Pull out your board games that have been locked away in your attics & basements. Since you would have be so out of touch with those, you would have to practice for a few days to get to the top of your game. Tip — Get your Monopoly game out. When you are thinking about money, you ain’t gonna think about the Virus
3. Invite your neighbour over. Open that wine bottle that you have always been wanting to. And please don’t wear that mask while having your drink..! Sure keep some distance while having the drink. I did the same with a friend couple of days back, and we both were very thankful that we sat down for a drink and a chat
4. Repair things that have been broken and you have not bothered to fix it due to lack of time. That includes your relationships. You have all the time in the world now.
5. Remove the dust from your books collection, and start reading books that you have always wanted to — but gave all kinds of excuses for not even reading page 1
6. Pick up an online course to improve your professional or personal skills. No better time than now to sharpen the saw. Here is a list of 450 online courses that are being offered for free by the top Ivy League Universities across the globe
7. Set up your music playlist and let it stream all day long.
8. Get your kids to clean up their rooms. And don’t pay them a penny. We have been doing that for the past few days now. They are involved in all household chores. Food is served only after the household chores are fully completed
9. Teach your kids to ride that bicycle that has been collecting dust. I can bet the tyres are all deflated by now. My 8 year old daughter has learnt to ride on her own now over the last few days. My 4 year old son has just removed his training wheels, his target is learn to ride within this week
10. File away all your kids’ certificates, which have been accumulating in your drawers. If you really want to notch it up — start laminating all your certificates. Your kids will Thank you one day for being such a super efficient parent. (Credit — Gaurav Sachdeva).
I personally finished laminating all the kids certificates last night
11. Don’t watch News channels on TV. They spread more panic than the virus itself. Remember their only intent is to increase TRP ratings, so that they can sell more ad slots at higher rates.
Think about it, the more fear they spread, the more you panic. The more you panic, the more you want to know and the more you will want to watch the News. It’s a deadlier loop than the virus itself.
12. Limit your reading of Newspapers on the topic of virus. Every page is plastered with the virus (No pun intended). Instead refer to the WHO website for the most accurate and sensible information
13. Avoid scrolling endlessly on Twitter. It’s the half evil brother of the TV channels, but worse. Don’t forward or retweet from someone who is not a medical expert or an authority on the subject.
Spoiler Alert : Celebrities are NOT experts.
And please stop posting negative/sarcastic comments. It really does not help. If you want to vent out your anger/anxiety/frustrations go punch the wall in your house.
14. Clean up your wardrobe. Yes, it requires cleaning. Only if you care to look how much you have stuffed inside over the years.
15. Clean up your shoe rack. You will be surprised how many pairs of shoes you have. Maybe set-up a Shoes Art Gallery if you are in the mood.
16. Start hitting the Gym. You have finally run out of excuses now. If the Gyms are closed in your area/apartment complex — take a walk, go for a run, or do what I do. I climb 40 floors everyday in my apartment complex and put in atleast 1 1/2 hours of weight lifting at home.
I had to borrow some gym equipment from my neighbors. Do whatever it takes for you to stay fit. Stop giving excuses
17. Use this solitude to spice things up with your spouse. Time to show off your kitchen skills (no pun intended) (Credit — Anamika)
18. Good old days back — Open up your collection of posters, stamps, coins, matchboxes, lighters, liquor minis, comics, music collection, computer games back and finally sort out all the pictures both digital and prints. Re-live your Moments. (Credit — Satyen)
19. Re-look at all the nonsensical subscriptions and assess if you need those. You would be amazed at the number of subscriptions piled up that never get used. (Credit — Gaurav Sachdeva)
20. Start deleting all the forwards and junks you have received over the years on your Whatapp or any other messaging apps. I can guarantee you, this itself will keep you busy for 4–5 hours
21. Don’t forward the “forwards”. There are better things to do with your time than chasing the title of “Master of Forwards”
22. Clean up your motorbike and head out for a ride. Solo is fine. Take inspiration from the motorbike rides of a good friend — Dean, who loves to ride with the wind and also passionately write about it. This may be applicable for countries which have gone into full lock down
23. Time to catch up on your favourite movies on Netflix/Prime. Finally, you get to fully utilize your 1000 GB package
24. Don’t indulge in day long conversations about the CoronaVirus. Focus on your work or whatever you regularly do during your day. The more you talk about something all day long, the more you will start to believe its true
25. Go ahead and throw that big party that you always wanted to. Send out invites to all your near and dear ones. I can guarantee, no one will show up. You will get permanent rights to say — “Hey, I invited you. You never showed up”
26. For quite a few months, I have a review of a movie script pending that a good friend has penned down. And I totally intend to complete it during this down time. I owe it to my friend.
We should take comfort from the fact that, we as humanity have never been better prepared than NOW to combat this threat of the virus. We have the world’s best brains working on this (as we face our individual downtime) to discover a vaccination and get it to market at the earliest.
All the efforts towards testing, helping patients recover and reporting of data, is extremely well coordinated across global medical authorities and governments.
Its all about the data. Accuracy of this data, will help to better analyze and take necessary precautions to avoid further spread of the virus
Bill Gates’s foundation is also working with all the groups who make diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines to make sure the right efforts are prioritized. He has also answered 31 questions and answers about COVID-19 in a Reddit Session — Ask Me Anything on March 18th 2020. It is a must read.
We should take pride in the fact that there are thousands of people working towards finding a solution to this crisis and they have the best resources available at their disposal to fight this virus.
History has proven that, humanity has always come on top when it cooperates and coordinates with each other. So make most of this downtime and NOT allow the scare and panic of the virus put us down & out.
Spread Positivity & Hope. Not Panic & Fear.
Last but not the least — keep your chin up, smile at people who you meet, call your friends and family to check how they are doing. Over the last few days, I have personally reached out to many of my friends and family in different countries.
Trust me it acts as the best booster to my day.
Note: If you have any other amazing things that can be added to this list, feel free to mention those in the comments section below.