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  • Raghav Sand

What to Do When You Have Nothing to Do?

Every once in a while its fine to be bored and feel out of sorts. You should neither panic, and nor pity yourself. Life cannot be fun round the clock. What we do with our spare time and how we manage anxiety defines how we feel after the lull has finally passed. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to spend more time indoors than most of us would have imagined. The second wave of coronavirus has made life more clueless than what it was this time last year.

When the first lockdown measures were announced, it took us some time to comprehend what is actually happening. As and when unlock measures were implemented in the second half of last year, all of us started lowering our guard ever so slightly. Festive season and new year went by without any major bumps, but the current state of affairs with respect to new cases and mortality is once again forcing us indoors.

The demarcation of essential and non-essential activity is a subjective topic for everyone. How did it all go so wrong that we are now staring at record number of hospitalisations due to Covid-19? Before pointing fingers at the state or central government we should do some honest and urgent introspection. Undoubtedly, the new and emerging mutations of the virus have dodged the immune system and those immunized or not.

Did the public health authorities, either by words or gesture, ask us to stop practicing Covid-19-appropriate behaviour? No, they did not. So, for everyone who feels they are a Rockstar by not wearing mask and keep going out unabatedly, for reasons best known to them, should be dealt appropriately. If government officials and law enforcement agencies try to implement harsh measures, they are labelled as fascists.

It seems we have to now spend our leisure and exercise time indoors for the foreseeable future. Suryanamaskar, spot jogging, burpees and bodyweight exercises are here to stay. Watching IPL and streaming content on OTT platforms is not everyone’s cup of tea. How can we stay socially relevant and keep our spirits high amidst all the dullness and mental fatigue due the lockdown-like measures we will adhere to voluntarily? Human intellect and ingenuity have done wonders during times of crises, and the instinct for survival will help us to ride the tide. Without being sounding prophetic, let us try to figure out ways we can adopt to engage ourselves in positive and purposeful endeavours.

Differentiate between being busy and feeling busy

The clutter and noise in our everyday life has made all of us feel busy all the time. A sense of chasing the clock has tiptoed in our routine and the resultant anxiety is sowing seeds of discord. The time and timing of our actions during a day have to be meticulously thought out. Everyone wishes to live on autopilot mode, while spending precious time without any thought is not recommended. Humans are not vehicles, but we could do better, both individually and collectively, if we devise ways to accelerate, brake, and steer thoughts and actions.

To get better fuel efficiency, motorists switch off the cars while stopping at a red light. We can try to emulate this practice by giving our brains some much needed rest between tasks or when we are not doing something substantial. By no stretch of imagination am I asking you to switch off all thought process, but the suggestion is aimed at managing instances of heightened alertness better. Being a multitasker may give you a perception of getting the most out of limited resources, though research has shown that people who perform one task at a time fare better. If the tasks are complementary in nature, then multitasking is inevitable.

From Me to We

We are all seekers of joy, knowledge and wealth. Instead of continuously thinking about self, some thought about collective good will do no harm. Thoughts lead to action and action results in change. Incremental change is better than no change at all. Do not underestimate the impact of your present thoughts and future actions. If our actions can result in betterment of society, then howsoever small it may be, it will be worth the effort.

Get Organized

Being organized is therapeutic – and it is also inexpensive. Consumerism makes us to believe that all good things come with a price tag. Those who subscribe to this thought are hyper-generalizing. Analog or digital ways and means for getting uncluttered are accessible to everyone. Pick a small palm-sized notepad or download a productivity app on your smartphone, and get started. Initially set realistic and achievable targets. Once you are comfortable with the pace and pattern, raise the benchmark to next level. Mostly, two things hinder the quest of person to put one’s house in order: first, it is the inaction and second, when people try to get too much done too soon. Being a realist does not mean you are slow or inept, but it delivers more output than procrastination.

Occasionally be Deliberately Slow

Grow and slow are rhyming words but they are rarely mentioned together in a sentence. If possible, try doing a few tasks slowly. Eating, driving and speaking slowly can be given a try and the results will speak for themselves. These may seem like obvious piece of advice, but we tend to overlook the power of simplicity. Slowly and steadily all other actions you take will transition from being transactional to transformational.

Reset and Recalibrate

If you are having too much free time too often, then you have few choices. Either you can make peace with yourself and learn to do nothing or you can do something new and challenging. Doing more of what you already do is also a popular choice. Reset does not always mean starting something new from scratch, but it can be interpreted as making a fresh start in your chosen job or profession. Having the luxury of time can sometimes feel more like a curse than a blessing.

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