As I’m sure you all know, the entire country has come to a grinding halt post the announcement of a nationwide lockdown by the government. Whether or not you’re a fan, the fact is that this is the new normal. Our daily routines have been cast aside for a little while and we’re all adapting to what could potentially be a very long 18 days. The majority of us are working from home but even if you account for that, we still have plenty of downtime left to do those things that we always wanted to start doing but never quite got around to. 

Given the circumstances, I’m sure all we all want to do is let our bed/sofa consume us as we achieve nirvana through binge-watching but it’s probably not the most constructive thing to do. The time is now to start ticking off boxes in our adulting checklists.

Since we’re all in this together, we thought we’d share a list of 5 incredible habits you should develop during this lockdown.

  • Come up with a routine

Let’s admit it, most of us don’t even have this in regular life because of that random time you couldn’t sleep or that day you had to work late. There’s never been a more important time to come up with a routine than now. There’s already plenty of uncertainty in a time like this and leaving your days with no schedule in mind only creates more of what experts call decision fatigue, the overwhelming feeling that results from having too many options or choices. This is especially true for children because they are used to having their days planned out and are suddenly a little rudderless. 

So come up with a routine that would work even when the lockdown is over. Plan out when you’ll start work or have meals or pursue an activity, and stick to it as much as you can. Inevitably, there will be days when things just don’t work out. The upside to this lockdown is that there are no negative consequences to being a little late, so you can get into the habit of doing this on the regular. You’ll be amazed at how much it can help you cope with boredom and the occasional pangs of anxiety that can occur at a time like this. 

  • Exercise!

For those of you who already hit the gym and work out practically every day, firstly, let me extend my admiration for your willpower and multi-tasking skills. You have mastered what I still struggle with. The rest of you who cringed when you saw this point because you knew it would be on this list, I can relate more than you know. Whether you’re fitness freaks or owners of a family pack, we are all now more stationary than ever since gyms are out of bounds and the little physical activity we engaged in (climbing stairs in our office buildings) no longer exists.

Plan a home workout for yourself and start doing it as soon as possible. Whether you use an app or stick to the old school basics like squats, push-ups and jumping jacks, it really doesn’t matter as long as you’re on the move and sweating it out for at least 30 minutes. Not only is this vital in everyday life for your physical well being, but it also greatly contributes to your mental health.

  • Track your expenses

I’m sure there are some of you who have already perfected this to an art form. I bet you’re also the type to file your income tax all by yourself and that too well before the deadline. Needless to say, I have nothing further to say to you. This is mostly for the 85% of us who find ourselves wondering where all our money went on the 20th of each month. Given the lockdown, most of us are probably not stepping out of the house. Whatever purchases we are making are online, which is great, because it reduces physical contact and the transaction gets recorded automatically, unlike with cash.

You probably never got around to it because you’ve been hustling through your daily life, but now that you have a little time on your hands, put in that one-time effort to start tracking your expenses. Seeing patterns in your expenditure helps you stabilize your financial activity; this lets you set aside money for specific expenses and also helps you know which expenses to prioritize, like bills or loan payments, so you can maintain your credit score. It may seem daunting but it’s a lot easier to do than you think and it will really help you realize how much you’ve been spending and on what. 

  • Learn something new

So now that you have a routine, you’re exercising regularly and getting your money in order, you probably have some time left over for a little extra something. Studies suggest that the most successful adults are those who are constantly learning throughout their life. Maybe it’s time for us to board the go-getter train and learn something new too. This really can be anything from a new language to an upskilling course, but developing the habit of learning while you’re also working will enhance your productivity and can even have financial benefits in the case of upskilling.

This habit increases your self-confidence, adds to your skillset and teaches you efficiency and multi-tasking, which are a plus in any work setting. 

  • Connect with people   

The irony of the above statement at a time when we’re trying to socially distance ourselves is not lost on me. That being said, despite how much we’ve reduced human contact in the digital age, the lockdown is really driving home the fact that human beings, at the end of the day, are social creatures. We miss catching up with friends over a drink, we miss running into our colleagues in the pantry and we miss loved ones who are far away from us. It makes you wonder why you didn’t take the time out before to have a quality conversation.

Life will always keep us busy and there will be days when we’ll drop the ball on this, but we should all make it a point to keep in touch and connect with people we care about, whether it’s your parents living in your hometown or your friend who is living abroad. This lockdown will be a lot easier to bear when you’re constantly being reminded of how much you are cared for and appreciated. So, stay away, but get in touch!