Fruitful ways to spend your leisure time

Under the pandemic COVID-19 epidemic, the country has been locked down for 21 days in attempt to keep it from spreading. You are getting unwanted holidays. Aren’t you? The schools and colleges are closed. You can’t even go for your tuition or coaching classes. You can’t go for your dance or music classes. You can’t go with your friends for outings. You can’t go for movies. You are restricted within the four walls of your home. You can’t do anything. Maybe, you haven’t spent so much time at home ever, after your toddler years. Even though, studying may not be your favourite thing to do but it used to be a great opportunity for you to socialize. You are currently missing all your friends, your teachers, those gossips in between the lectures, those wooden benches that you sat upon, and everything you used to do at school or your college.


So, you may be getting bored now a days and wondering how to spend your time. But to be honest, this can be a golden opportunity for you. This interval can become the most fruitful if you utilized it properly. This can be the time in which you can deepen your relationship with yourself as well as with your family. Recall the last time your whole family ate dinner together. Maybe it had happened a long ago. Maybe on the last trip with your family. So, this is the time for your family. Too often, though, we tend to take family for granted, feeling they’ll always be there – until they’re not. So, talk with them. Have conversations about your plans and careers. Do dishes with your mom. Use this time to do something with family, for it will always be some of the best idle time you’ve ever spent. This is the time to cherish those lovely moments again.


Also, this is the time to know yourself; to work upon yourself; to get along with yourself; to get along with your hobbies. These days can help you update your version. Just like a gadget needs to be updated, you should also update yourself time to time. So, work for your new version. Only the most productive people among us see time as one of our most valuable assets. Perhaps you’re one of those who recognize that time has given you a onetime special offer of these ‘21 days’ of which one has already gone.

While downtime is vital for the preservation of our health, you cannot dismiss the fact that there are meaningful activities you can be involved in, without stressing your mind. You may be tempted to use this time just for resting in your bed, chilling with movies on Netflix or Amazon Prime. But I encourage you to think beyond that. There are other major areas of life we need to keep in shape as well. Failure in any area of life greatly affects all the other areas.


So, the very first thing you should do is, make a day wise to-do list. For instance, what new you’re going to try on day 1, then on day 2 and so on. To be successful at anything, you must first set daily goals of what you want to achieve. People who write down their daily tasks or goals are far more likely to achieve them than those who simply think about a goal, or those who have no goal at all. This will also save you a lot of time in your future life as well. If you use your spare time to clearly record your daily goals, it will eliminate other distractions and give you an objective to focus on. Hence, time that would otherwise be spent on mindless diversions will be converted into productive time. As you complete your tasks, cross them off your list to give you a greater feeling of accomplishment.


The next thing you can try is reading a book. Books are always considered to be man’s best friend and acquiring new knowledge never loses its value, and we should never really stop learning until we die. Reading for only 15 minutes a day makes 75 minutes per week, which is probably a book per month. If you are not into book reading you can simply listen to audio books. There are various platforms free of cost.


Next, you can try learning a new language. As with audio books, technology has made it quite simple to learn a new language. Gone are the days when it was necessary to sit in a classroom. With CDs, downloads, and podcasts you can begin your journey to becoming bilingual (or multilingual). As an added bonus, knowledge of other languages will make you even more presentable.


Also, you can try your hands at cooking. Cooking is not everybody’s cup of tea. But in this technological era, you can get various cookery tutorials quite easily. Everyone, young or old, can enjoy having a handy collection of basic cooking skills with a little practice and this time can be fruitful for that. Learning to cook is too simple and the same time difficult as well, if you do not have real interest. If you are a foodie you can learn faster. Try simple recipe first and share the dish with your family to know their honest feedback. They’ll also get pleased to see you cook.


If you are a music or dance freak, give your hobby proper time in these days. Play your favourite instrument or rehearse your vocals. There are few applications on the smartphones that let you record songs with many karaoke tracks. You can try your musical skills using them. If you like dancing, then also, you have a plenty of time now. Play the music and let your skills develop even more.


Another great way to spend your time is to play brain activity games. There are so many apps out there that are able to train your memory retention, math skills, and pattern recognition in a fun and easy way. Such apps allow you to stay engaged while improving your cognitive functions.


The next thing you can try is painting or sketching. Let your creativity come out on a canvas. You can simply use a white paper sheet and draw anything you like. There are umpteen tutorials on the internet that gives you certain tips telling how to sketch or paint. You can also get several easy landscapes to try.


Also, this is the best time to clean up your stuff. Your cupboard that needed to be rearranged since the past three months, and you were procrastinating it giving irrational justifications to yourself, can finally be arranged now. Clean your bookshelf. Arrange your wardrobe. Throw out the unnecessary and unwanted stuff. This will not only make you very relaxed and happy, but you’ll surely get an appreciation from your mother as well.


You can also discover the joys of playing in the dirt— grown-ups might prefer the term “gardening.” Dig up your mud, remove the pebbles, plant some new seeds and water them daily. A study published in the Journal of Health Psychology reported that gardening was more effective at reducing stress than reading a book. Another study that appeared in the Journal of Public Health found that working in a garden for just 30 minutes increased self-esteem and mood.


Practice makes a man perfect, in writing as in anything else. Play crosswords; learn at least three new words every day. This will enhance your vocabulary. If you have a hobby of writing, 15-minute period per day spent on a crossword help you refine your article, blog, etc. So learn new words and write more effective articles. I am learning to do this myself, so I can say from personal experience that it works.


You can also meditate or practice visualisation. Giving ourselves time to go within and quieten our minds is extremely valuable because some of the best ideas we’ll receive is when we’re still. We can use that time to visualise our goals and the future we want to create for ourselves.


Since you got so much to try, don’t forget that you have to catch up with your syllabus as well. A teacher is always required for guidance but the current time is an obligation. There are certain portals like NCERT’s Swayam Prabha, DIKSHA, e-PAATHSHALA, Unacademy etc that can help you to maintain a pace with your education even while sitting at home.


If you have any other ideas of spending this time in a fruitful way share them in comments. I would love to hear them, and I’m sure others would, too.

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