Well, here you are!
Hell is raging outside – Your country is in lockdown, a virus is spreading, and you’re stuck at home, in your bed, your sleep habits destroyed, and your diet crumbling. You’re twiddling your fingers, asking yourself: How long will this go on? All amongst your stockpile of toilet paper, canned produce and memes.
Okay, I probably over exaggerated that.
During this lockdown, you’re probably going to be very bored. Unlike before the lockdown, (If you’re a school kid like me) the bustle and hustle of the classroom is non existent, the authority of your boss/teacher has weakened, and you’ll have nothing to do, other than, sit down, watch cat videos and eat a pack of Doritos alongside some Pepsi.
Unless you live in a really great country that is handling this crisis really well… (not the UK)… I’d assume you’d have a minimum of 2 months under a lockdown.
Doing the math: 2 months is 8 weeks, 8 weeks is 60 days and 60 days is 1344 hours. Not only can you just “do stuff”, but you can also come out with more knowledge and possibly better shaped mentally and physically.
So, here’s a little guide on how to use this lockdown to your advantage.
Structure! Structure! Structure!
It was the heading of one of my sections on my last blog post. At the moment, you might not be following a good structure and the path of disorganization, especially at this time, is quite easy to walk through.
Creating a structure is a good way to create a moral figurehead of authority and self-discipline. You don’t need to create a precise structure, and if you feel like all you need is a core structure, you can just schedule in wake up, lunch and dinner.
Personally, I prefer a digital approach to organization: Using Calendar apps, clock apps, To-Do list apps and habit tracker apps in conjunction to schedule in habits that I want to follow, is a great way to make yourself organized and stay engaged in the things you want to do.
My calendar service is Nextcloud Calendar, however it’s not a widely available service, so I would recommend Apple Calendar or Google Calendar.
I used to use Microsoft To-Do for all of my To-Do lists as it has a really aesthetically pleasing interface, all of it’s features are free, and it has this very satisfying ding when you tick off a task. I’ve since been trying out Todoist. I’ve not used it enough to give a concrete opinion so I might create an article on what I think about it or update this article.
However, there are other ways of going around it. If you’re a bit more creative and you want to spend a bit of time away from screens in general: Bullet Journals are a great alternative to keep track of your life
They’re books that you’d be able to log and organise your life, kind of like a diary, but you can use it as anything. I’ve seen people do sleep trackers, a book planner and a mental health log in them.
A common stereotype about meditating is that it’s something Monks do, it’s something to do about buddhism, it’s about sitting cross legged (which I don’t even do myself, IT HURTS!) and it’s also for hippies.
I was introduced to meditation by my sister (there’s your shout out) and it benefits have really helped me cool down my emotions and stress and create a stronger image and personality for myself, especially when I really needed it.
Starting to meditate is quite easy – there are plenty of meditation apps on the Play Store and the App Store.
When I was starting, I used Headspace to help guide me through meditation. It might seem very weird at first, sitting on a chair and just breathing deeply for 5-10 minutes over some guys voice, but by the end of my first meditation session I felt like all the stress from me disappeared; I’d describe it as magic.
When my Headspace trial expired, I started to piggy back off my sister’s Calm login and then I started doing non-guided meditation.
You don’t have to start learning on an app, there are plenty of free guided meditation resources on YouTube and if you have an Apple Watch, Fitbit or a Wear OS watch, you’d be able to use the breathe apps that should be preinstalled.
At school, I have this friend, let’s call him ‘Grade 9’, who is a really huge nerd, is a really expert academically, and I think I’d probably see him going to Oxford or Cambridge one day.
Well, Clark, what is his secret?
Grade 9, after school, always heads down to the school library and returns a few books and picks up a few more. Oh and, he and the librarian are practically friends.
The outbreak can be very daunting for some people. An escape from everything that’s happening all around us would be welcomed by some people, and books are a great way of learning things and powering your imagination.
The standard for reading online at the moment and the most accessible service is Kindle by Amazon. At the moment in the UK they’ve priced a few e-books for free, just get the Kindle app to read them.
Audiobooks are increasingly becoming popular. Instead of reading a book, the book gets read to you. Audible by Amazon (yet again) is the most accessible service. Unlike traditional books or digital books, you can only listen to one audible book at the time. https://b-ok.cc
A free way to read books is the site https://b-ok.cc. It’s by Z-Library, a place that sources books and articles. You’ll be able to download books in formats like PDF and EPUB. To read them, you’ll need a e-book client.
Whatever you decide, it’s great to have a little bit of downtime and to absorb yourself into a good book.
The internet can be used as a tool, if you use it properly. There are mega amounts of information scattered around the internet, and you can learn how to do anything, big or small, by just typing away.
YouTube is a great place to start learning anything. From cooking videos to D.I.Y tutorials and coding classes, It has a wide selection of courses and resources that should help you do whatever you need to do.
If you want a better experience, Udemy is another great place. There are a mixture of paid and free courses on the site ranging from Python to the Stock Markets and they are really well presented, with clear and concise sections that you can use to skip to certain parts of the course.
If you don’t want to shell out cash, UdemyFreeCourses.com is a good companion site where you can find free courses.
Exercising has never been any easier. Unlike the past, exercise content is being pumped out all online and unlike only 3 months ago (for most of us), it’s possibly the only way you can keep your physical health intact.
I find YouTube a very fascinating and magical place – not only there’s learning videos to help you gain new skills but there are also loads of workout videos, ranging from HIIT workouts to 1 mile walks.
If you live in the UK, you must be living under a rock if you don’t know who Joe Wicks is.
At 9am (BST) everyday on his YouTube channel ‘The Body Coach TV, he does a live workout session called ‘PE with Joe’. The classes are designed for children and teens, however, I doubt he’d mind anyone above that age joining in.
This lockdown doesn’t have to be a indication to the end of your social life for the foreseeable future. With the power of the internet, you can be right there with them!
If your friends all have iPhones, FaceTime is, hands down, the best video calling option. It’s widely integrated into iOS, You don’t need to make another account and it’s secure.
If you don’t have an iPhone or just want an alternative, Google Duo is your best bet. The service is secured by end-to-end encryption, the video quality is really good and you’re able to have video calls up to 12 people.
Unless you’re a massive nerd like me, I wouldn’t worry too much about trying to find the best video calling app, as video calling is already a standard feature in most messaging apps including Instagram DM’s and WhatsApp.
At the end of the day, we’re in the middle of a pandemic.
The burden of responsiblity has doubled on our shoulders, perfection is impossible right now. It’s fine to take a day to sit, let go of that responsiblity, breathe and just ‘live’ for a bit.