Quara-care: Making Quarantine Productive
With the whole world grinding to a halt over the Covid-19 Virus scare, the upcoming days are going to be vital in how the world is going to deal with the Viral pandemic. With the number of deaths reaching 11,310 according to a tally by The Johns Hopkins University (at the time of writing the article), it is high time for the whole world to strictly follow the guidelines issued by the various Health authorities in their country and worldwide. These guidelines include simple instructions to be followed, but given the mentality of humans, the virus is spreading faster than a wildfire.
Photo from Incheon City Corporation website.
The virus, being highly contagious through physical contact and also the indirect person to person transmission through fomites such as clothes, furniture and other items, should be taken much more seriously than how it is considered by the public at present. In epidemiology, the intensity at which a virus spreads is given the Reproductive factor(R0), which denotes the number of healthy people an infected person can affect on average. In the initial stages of the pandemic, the R0 was calculated to be 2.28, although it is suspected to be much higher now. So, the virus spreads exponentially, and as engineering students, we know how steep the slope of an exponential function is. This is the reason why the number of cases is increasing rapidly day by day. It seemed to be a distant abstraction in China, but became a real threat in the blink of an eye, further driving the point home on how contagious it is.
Even with so many cases around, India is struggling to catch up with other countries in the testing scenario. Some countries such as Singapore and South Korea have received much appreciation internationally regarding their measures in controlling the number of cases as they started acting right from day-1. The added experience from the SARS outbreak helped these countries prepare counter-measures even before the Covid-19 pandemic had started.
India stands among the countries with the lowest number of people tested. So, the number of Corona positive people out at large in the public is still largely unclear. Limited by the number of testing kits, more kits from other countries and the WHO have been requested. With all this happening, the Government has urged people to stay at home and refrain from heading out amid this chaos. Many celebrities have also stepped in for spreading awareness about the guidelines to follow in the next 10 days. With new cases popping up every day, quarantining oneself is a crucial factor in determining if we overcome the virus or not. Like all the educational institutions, offices, public spaces, gyms, etc have been shut down, this ‘national quarantine’ doesn’t seem to have light at the end of the tunnel. Hence, here is a set of things that can be done in these days to lift your spirits in all aspects.
For a typical college-going person, this is a time where he/she can give themselves the much-neglected self-care they require. The interests vary from person to person, hence we have tried to cover everything catering to everyone’s interests.
HOBBIES- Don’t let your brain fry!
A hectic college schedule is a major reason why most of the students let go of their hobbies and interests in hopes of better academics. This break can be utilized efficiently to get back at enjoying and pursuing their abandoned hobbies. New hobbies can also be learnt like cooking, embroidery, learning a new musical instrument, etc. Any activities that can be done in the safety of your own homes are appreciated. The list of hobbies is never-ending. With the internet as a close ally, anything and everything can be learnt online.
This is the perfect time to ‘Netflix and Chill’ as well. With Media houses investing more than ever before on online content, the number of titles available to a person is huge. With the evolving world of entertainment, the options are many like Stand-up comedy, Podcasts, Audible books, TED talks, etc. Also, with the latest movies available online, there is no limit to the entertainment available.
This time is also a boon to all the book lovers out there. Just grab a book, kick back and enjoy the ride into another dimension without tensions of the Coronavirus scares. With the growing number of e-books available online, there are numerous titles up for takes. With many celebrities and News houses coming up with their lists of ‘must read’ books, it all depends on the reader. This is the perfect creative time for all the designers out there. Gail Simone, who has written for DC and Marvel is here with #comicsschool on twitter providing a 5-day course on writing comics.
There is also good info for the wildlife enthusiasts. The Arignar Anna Zoological Park in Chennai has a live Yard section on their website, allowing users to observe bison, tigers, bears and crocodiles go about in their days. The website is aazp.in. theonlinezoo.com also has a repository of over 20,000 photos of over 2700 species from across the globe.
Link here: https://www.aazp.in/live-streaming/
Most importantly, with most of us home after ages, this is a golden opportunity to spend precious time with family. With almost everyone moving out of home after engineering, this time can be treasured with family, the most important people in anyone’s lives.
Mental and physical health - long overdue
Cities are going on lockdown. Movie theatres are closed. Travel has taken dips. Socializing is down the plane more than ever! Amongst this social recession- the very enabler of declining mental health, all your social plans failing would be surely boiling your brains. However, one needs to relax and check your mind going haywire. The biggest indoor enemy is letting your day be monotonous. And maybe meditation is the first line of defence to the poniards of a chaotic mind yet life has to be sauced! So, we have compiled for you a list of cool activities that keeps your minds hooked. It is important to realize that your mental health that would have been long overdue to be taken care of and even more pumped to fight anxiety induced by isolation. Here’s how:
- Fall back on connecting with people you long lost touch with- this includes talking to your parents, helping your siblings (catfights can also pass your time), meaningful conversations with long distant friends and pamper your pets! (who can deny the positivity around lovely pets). Remember, it is not just a period of self-preservation but also a tough time for people around you going through a similar mental draining.
- Exercising and meditation (though we mention second) are indispensably the most helpful way to keep the mind relaxed. Make it fun with some Zumba music and ask your family to join in and if laziness creeps in at least practise breathing exercises.
- Good food, good life- nothing beats a healthy diet and a hydrated self. Try cooking food and discovering your secret recipes (it is alright if something goes over or undercooked- remember Rome wasn’t built in a day). Follow a regular time slot of fluids intakes.
- Complete a puzzle: Try a Rubik’s cube. More of a word person? Crossword puzzles are always handy.
- Take brisk walks in your garden. Do not be seated in one place longer than a couple of hours. Also, consider downloading a curated workout app.
- Sleep adequately for the best of 8 hours.
- In addition, the world health association(WHO) has also addressed this issue on various channels.
Dealing with unproductivity? Be productive!
As difficult as it is to change a routine, it is also necessary not to give up in spare time. There’s an open door to work on a constructive persona one step at a time. Just as every cloud has a silver lining, the ensuing quarantine can even prove to be a leaf-turner per se. Engaging in lost talents or even building on new ones requires nothing more than sheer will. The silver lining on this aspect is the fact that one doesn’t have to engage in a ‘race to the finish’ or worry about any sort of competition rather do it in pure self-interest. This might include:
- Learning to code or following online lectures on the subject of interests like economics, sociology or quantifying methods of science. Probably, the right time to developing a soft-skill set for internships. Completing long-pending deadlines on assignments that were otherwise on ‘extending deadlines’
- Engaging in qualitative writing- ever critiqued reviewers on their critical pieces on movies and songs or philosophy? Be a self-pressed critic to write a review version for a movie after watching one or a song or even a book you just finished! Sharing your work among peers to re-review can also open discourses on themes and help widening perceptions. (And an efficient time on social media!)
- Starting a journal or a blog- spanning from chess to cheese or learning photoshop!
- If it won’t bother neighbours- do consider learning a musical instrument or dust off an old one to play your heart again!
- Teaching yourself a foreign language (consider downloading Duolingo app) or better try assessing International Relations (use facts and stats without fail)
- Trying a hand at calligraphy (YouTube always helps) or a short story. To make it a group activity, ask your friends to join in for a competition and grade each other’s work (the winner gets to treat). One can try memorizing the periodic table.
- Last, but not the least availing free trials on streaming services is the need of the hour.
If you want to take a note from Rapunzel in the movie ‘Tangled’ (that was years of isolation), do not hesitate to try your hands at ventriloquism, candle-making (papercraft would also suffice) and the ever-not-indispensable-creativity of making paintings! And if even that anyway tends to make a day still monotonous, switch on a favourite soap-opera or TV series, mute the sound and enact the characters by constructing their dialogues.
Being productive can also include introspection and reconciling with the most troublesome aspects of life. Reflecting on a previous year, the many fails and accomplishments only help setting goals to better oneself. Finding answers to career questions and planning a year also can keep productive engagements. And just to escape homely retorts- do not forget rearranging shelves and clearing out drawers of expired bottles and old products (What we would call an indoor scavenge hunt!). Aside from all serious stuff, make fun games to indulge in and let out a comical (not so cynical) side. Here’s our suggestion:
- Try a bubble bath!
- Reproduce something that’s on Pinterest (Probably fail but try again)
- Construct alternate endings to movie plots and series- Game of Thrones might be mostly a first choice!
- Go about attempting writing with the non-dominant hand. Probably get frustrated.
- Try newspaper cuttings to make a hand-crafted comic strip and proudly flaunt them in social media.
It is important to remember in times of despair that hope should be undiminished and discovering oneself only reinforces that idea of hope, that things can always take a turn for good only if we try.
Team MM wishes everyone a safe and worthwhile quarantine! Our hearts go out to everyone suffering and them that suffered in this pandemical outbreak.