The Prophet Muhammad (SAW) said “There are two blessings that many people waste; Health and Free Time” (Sahih-al-Bukhari).
As the world gets scarier by day with news of millions getting infected with the novel COVID-19 virus, we are becoming more inclined towards maintaining the social distancing further. It has been more than two weeks since the Prime Minister Imran Khan announced partial lock-down across the country and therefore, fewer industries are operating, bringing economic and social activity to a halt in the country.
Increased Stress during Quarantine Time
During this quarantine period, masses are feeling agitated with restrictions on outdoor activities and kids, students and working parents are all complaining about how there is nothing to do at home now except for house chores. However, what we fail to see is that time is the same luxury that we could not afford during our regular routine before and how this quarantine time can be utilized for the best possible activities that seems impossible on regular days.
Here is the list of activities that you should consider pursuing to stop wasting time and refresh your brain.
- Learn Something New
Under normal circumstances, how many of us would consider taking online classes to learn a foreign language, piano lessons, and photography (Check free courses offered by Nikon here), drawing/painting or even cooking/baking? Very few. This is because the chaos and hustle bustle of daily life from going to office to pick and drop kids to schools, from dealing with domestic staff to shopping activities consume most of our time, leaving us tired and exhausted. In this quarantine time, check out millions of free courses available online to develop a new skill of your choice.
Learning a new skill is not just a way to pass time or pursue your passion, but studies show that it is extremely effective in strengthening your brain muscles as well. According to CCSU Business & Development, learning a new skills increases the white matter (Myelin) in our brain which stimulates neurons and makes electrical impulses travel faster across neural pathways. So instead of vegging out in front of TV or glued to phone screens, dedicate your free time to learning and exploring options out there. Start by checking some ideas here.
- Update your Degree
Economically, Pakistan is struggling to get hold of its fragile structure and already a number of companies have started laying off employees or cutting their salaries by 50% or more. According to a report by CNBC, Federal Reserve in US estimated job cuts by 47 million due to the pandemic. The situation in Pakistan is also very grim as the Ministry of Planning estimates job cuts of around 18.5 million due to coronavirus. At the same time, there is a great opportunity for working as well as non-working men and women in Pakistan to upgrade their degrees by adding professional diplomas or courses to their credit and update skill levels.
There is still a rising demand for several jobs in Pakistan and abroad and you can easily access institutions offering these online courses and certifications. Some of them include Certified Teachers and Educationists, Language Teachers, Certified Coding Specialist, Chart Reviewer, Database Administrators, Front and Back End Architects, Call Center Representatives, Curriculum Developers, Sales Executives, Account Executives, Fitness Coordinators, Accountants, Book Keepers, Digital marketing, Mobile Interface Designers, SEO managers and many more.
- Plan New Businesses
The work-from-home, online education and Tele-medicine strategy may seem like a temporary arrangement for now. However, it is surprisingly working well for corporate and education sector even in Pakistan. It will be no surprise that when this pandemic ends, we will see a lot of businesses aiming at operating from home. The death of brick and mortar businesses is already on the way and small businesses are definitely going to replace traditional business setups.
Tap on this opportunity and analyze the demand for services that can be provided from home after the economic activities resume. Online school setup, for instance, holds a huge potential in a drained economy like Pakistan where private schools are already a huge burden on income. Since people will still want to gather and socialize when this pandemic ends, small entertainment setups will also get attention like small setups for children activities instead of huge play areas. Less congested areas for sports and outdoor activities for both children and adults will also receive immediate attention of survivors after this horrific episode of COVID-19.
- Read, Read and Read
Even if you are not a book worm or have that thirst of knowledge in you prior to Coronavirus bout, it is high time to change this habit. A survey by Gallup and Gillani Foundation in 2019 found that around 75% of Pakistani students do not read any books except for course books. The overwhelming influx of information from social media and television are another reason for this behavior. The reading culture defines behavior and traits of a society. This quarantine time has provided us with an opportunity to change our learning sources and instill reading habit in ourselves and people around us. This activity is recommended even if you have adopted other time consuming activities during this quarantine time as it will always supplement your personal and professional growth (Check out these 19 techniques to build reading habits).
- Ensure a Fixed Work-out Routine
Whether you are working from home, studying online or a homemaker, now you are more aware regarding significance of health. The quarantine time has restricted our physical movement and people are feeling sluggishness seeping into their daily routine. While social media memes related to increased food consumption and resulting obesity, during quarantine time, are hilarious to watch, they need to be taken more seriously than we realize. It is extremely important to dedicate few minutes daily to an exercise regime, whether it is walk around your house, skipping, yoga, extensive workout or just dancing! In addition to basic health, any kind of work out is guaranteed to boost your immune system which is declared to be a significant preventive measure against COVID-19.
Your time in quarantine is the best time to explore your passion and interests for things and activities. When you start pursuing anything with consistency, this learning process will not seem like unrealistic task or inconvenience but a worthy investment of time for personal and professional growth.