The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed all of us to a whole new experience of how our lives can come to a standstill suddenly; a never thought-of-before scenario.
Due to the work-from-home situation, the boundaries between work and non-work activities are blurring in the most unusual ways. Everyone is busy and ‘on the go’; rushing through meetings, attending phone calls, ‘always’ in motion, ‘always’ doing something; tirelessly juggling between personal and professional lives.
Luckily, we do get some “downtimes”, the free moments when the client call gets delayed by an hour, network issues, free time between calls and many intermediate work-free moments. These downtimes can be wonderful opportunities to take charge of our stressful lives and lighten our mind, body and soul.
We can utilize these unproductive periods to rejuvenate and live our lives in the pandemic by incorporating these simple yet effective techniques rather than cursing the situation.
Unwind the Mind
- Doing ‘nothing’ sometimes is the need of the hour. Unclutter the mind and let it wander free; free of any thoughts.
- Limit your social media intake and do not always scroll through the Facebook updates or Twitter posts on your smartphone or tablet. Plan or rehearse for the rest of your day by making two lists. First list would have all the things you have achieved in your life or in the last week. The other list would have the things still to be achieved in future. Jotting down unclutters the mind and solutions come through easier. It helps in eliminating the negative thoughts that cause cerebral congestion. Sense of dealing with overflow of information can be overwhelming and can take a toll on general well being too. Work efficiency also gets affected in the long run. Jotting down will help in having mental clarity and living in the present.
- Pick up a real book /magazine /newspaper instead of e-reading. Indulge in the pleasure of flipping through pages, holding a real book. Ensure that it is not work or study reading though. It has its own therapeutic benefits.
- If you have been thinking of your own start-up since long, but inertia or lack of time is preventing you from making a start, use your downtimes to create a map for this journey.
- Reach Out: Nurture relationships with friends and family by putting more time aside to reconnect with them. Bonding personally gives immense pleasure and satisfaction rather than electronic smiley’s and posts.
- Train and strengthen your mental capacity by solving some good puzzles, sudoku. It is like stimulating your nervous system.
- Slow Down: A downtime can as simple as slowing down and taking notice of every chew, every move and stop multi-tasking every single time.
- One of the best ways would be to take an incredibly brief nap which enlivens the mind and makes you raring to go for the rest of the day. Refreshing the mind is time well spent.
- Once you are in the downtime, it’s the ‘me time’ an excellent moment to ‘notice the now’. Do simple breathing exercises; just calm down and relax. This will oxygenate your body and improve the blood circulation. They can be done without anyone visibly noticing you. Feel the difference in just a few deep and proper breaths itself.
- ‘Power Of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle suggests simple observation techniques and being in the present moment always to lead a hassle free successful life. What better than to practice this art during the downtimes.
- Another meditation technique is the ‘Vipaasana Way’. It suggests that one just observes each part of the body one by one peacefully. Starting from the each toe and then moving upwards to the head in a few minutes. Again this can be done when waiting for a client call or a meeting to start.
- Feeling Grateful: Think of a few people or things in your life that you are grateful for. Relive those happy memories guaranteeing a smile on the face.
- A small visit to a nearby place of worship which is pending since an era will result in a calmer and happier self.
Do some physical exercises
- Repetitive Strain Injury (RSI) has become a very common phenomenon due to constantly using your fingers, wrists and forearms while working on the screen. This has harmful, injurious and sometimes permanent detrimental effects on these body parts. Utilize your downtimes to do stretching exercises while sitting on your desk. Similarly stretch the lower body parts like toes and feet.
- Have an hour to spare!! Take a walk down to the nearby park, art exhibition, fun place, a museum, a nearby book store. Enjoy to the fullest and draw renewed energy and health in return.
- Posture correction while sitting or standing during your downtimes is essential. Slouching, back pain or general body discomforts are common ill effects of wrong posture.
- An impromptu yoga session of simple asanas or short aerobic workout which can be done within a small space are excellent health steals when you do not have enough time on hand. Keep a CD or YouTube video downloads of these in advance.
- Adding a small snack time, again a healthy habit to your downtime can work wonders on your waistline. Work this part out with your nutritionist or just remember the basic principle of small and frequent meals on a regular basis. Keep healthy dry snacks always ready in your bag.
Downtimes are to be enjoyed thoroughly in every possible way. Try keeping work related matters away during this period; especially checking mails. Successful people especially women with children need to measure their time the way one measures ingredients for a cake. So ensure your downtimes are wonderful productive opportunities to reconnect and repair the situations in life that would make you feel good about yourself!!