The worst segment of being locked within the four walls is that as the lockdown stretches from weeks to months, the security and comfort of home gradually dissipates until one yearns for the outdoors. I remember us students rejoicing when the official notice of exam cancellation fluttered to our inboxes. I remember for the first eleven hours after receiving the official notice from the school and confirming with friends, I did not leave my PlayStation 4 alone.

And now, with the monotonous routine of online school, coupled with more assignments and a general sentiment of laziness, teenagers are feeling more unproductive than ever.

“Refuse to come out of the lockdown being the same.
Its either you will appreciate things, people, your job and life more.
Its either you would have acquired new or more skills, knowledge ,information or you have improved in them.
Its either you saw what you were doing wrong, what is important in life and what you should focus on.
Its either your saw which people to be with or which ones to avoid.
This lockdown has enough me time to help you to get your life together. Refuse to come out of it being the same.”
― De philosopher DJ Kyos

Most like myself have taken this opportunity to actively maintain their physique by home exercises and calisthenics, however, it can only satiate the craving of the fresh iron of their regular gym to some extent. Others have attempted to continue to train their hobbies to keep them occupied, yet the curl of the ball or the twang of the string can only cover so much, and eventually it becomes a chore.

A period of time universal to all teenagers is lying back with snacks and Netflix, but even that becomes a tedious task as we’re plagued by the consciousness of our unproductivity. This consciousness was the driving factor behind the plotting of my personal exercise plan. I allocated five days of the week to high-intensity sets coupled with resting days over the weekend. Most of you know how satisfying the post-workout sore feels. Like myself, a lot of my friends show an active commitment to exercising, some routinely going to their local gym while others cramming a mild yoga session in the mornings.

The lockdown shouldn’t hinder growth, learning, and enjoyment. Having a daily routine pre-planned the night before helps overcome the daunting schoolwork while allocating time for leisure. For instance, I used to struggle with managing time and felt as if I had little time to study. However, issuing less than an hour of exercise in the 24 hours is rewarding and fulfilling in the long run.

 I have utilized this by spending mornings for all remaining deadlines. Next, between lunch and exercise is six hours, of which I take away two for relaxing. For the rest of the day, I work on projects as a source of productive entertainment such that the poisoned boredom is deterred from my routine.

For instance, I personally have started journaling during quarantine to keep a record on time and jotting notes on the day’s events to stay proactive and hopeful, and I suggest readers to do the same. It’s important that the mind is constantly engaged. After finishing all deadlines, I have more time on your hands to do what I love, and so I can enjoy my hobbies to the fullest without pressure. Eating high protein and nutrients, as opposed to carbs and sugar, improves the mind as well as the body. As we are unsure of the duration of the lockdown, it is imperative that mental health is well maintained. 

The past eight weeks in lockdown were difficult to cope through at first. It took time before I began to adjust to the cushy lifestyle of working from home. As I personally prefer to study in an environment bustling with activity, the transition from dressing up for school to working in my pajamas was tricky. It was about the third or fourth week when I began to understand just how much we take for granted in our everyday lives, especially as teenagers.

We continuously measure our lives through the lenses of the future. “What do I want to do next?” “What do I really want to major in?” “Why can’t I cross 80%?”

However, this period in isolation has allowed me to reflect on my days. As I count down the days spent in lockdown, I have a natural inclination to think critically about what I accomplished and what I need to work on. At the end of the day, I jot down all the activities and tasks I completed. This can range from schoolwork to leisure, such as a maths worksheet or another tempting episode.

Even this article was meticulously planned and documented every night. I also consider unfinished tasks to avoid procrastination and to keep myself occupied for the next day. Being mindful about the present and preparing for the future is a valuable trait to have under lockdown.

We often associate boredom with negative connotations such as laziness and incompetence, yet when married with an abundant supply of time, boredom can bring forth the DaVinci or Mozart in all of us. Treat the lockdown as your stage, as your stadium, as your scales. This time to excel and sharpen skills won’t come back again. Consume less and produce more. 

 

A Monk’s insight into happiness in A Lockdown

“Everything is impermanent, transient, and interdependent. It’s a passing phase. It is unreasonable, even foolish, to expect that time will always be “good”. Time, like nature, like everything else in our infinite universe, moves indiscriminately. Sun doesn’t say I’ll shine brighter here or lighter there because this is what people want, or because this is what I want. It just shines.

In a busy marketplace, Mulla Nasrudin sold his aging donkey to a young man for thirty dinars. The new buyer began auctioning the animal right away.
“Here’s a chance of a lifetime,” he hollered. “What a beautiful donkey! Quiet and hardworking! Look at his strong white teeth! Ah, these soft eyes!”
He continued to glorify the donkey with unearthly praises.
“40 dinars!” A man shouted in the crowd.
“45 dinars!” Another voice came.
“50!”
“60 dinars!” Yet another one cried.
“70!”

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Mulla stood there stupefied. “How dumb of me to think it was just another donkey,” he thought. “Look at how these people are desperate for him.”

“80!” Someone yelled as the bidding progressed. Everyone went quiet at the high bid.

“80 dinars going once… 80 dinars going—”
“100 dinars!” Mulla roared. “I must own this magnificent creature.”

Sometimes life feels ordinary, time feels bad because it’s not going our way, but just when we are about to part with it, we begin to see its real value. It’s the same life, it’s the same donkey. But, because someone else is placing a higher bid on it now, we up the ante too. Our stance changes, our priorities shift – we want it now…”

Read the complete story here.

managing mental health in lockdown covid19

Want to delve deeper into exploring ideas on how to take advantage of the lockdown? Here are some blog posts you might find useful:

Ekanta- The Practice of Solitude

“By solitude, I do not mean that you live in a remote place but have access to TV, books, the internet, and the rest of it. By solitude, I mean that you are just by yourself. You in your own company. The only person you have to talk to you is you, the only person you have to listen to is you, the only person around is you. The only object of engagement for your mind is you.

When you are bored, you go back to yourself and when you are happy, you share it with yourself. During the practice of solitude, you do not even see others, let alone meet them or talk to them. The only person you get to see is you…” Read More

 

Give a Damn about Something

“As a philosopher you might ponder over the meaning of life, but if you want to be happy, it’s the meaning in life that matters. 

Call it the mid-life crisis or a higher calling, at some point in time, every educated mind is faced with the most important existential question of their life: why am I here?  What is my purpose in life?

I get it all the time from some of the most intelligent people. They ask me, how do I know the purpose in life, how do I find it?…” Read More