The world is at a standstill. The coronavirus pandemic has left millions under government-imposed lockdowns, bringing empty highways, desolate neighborhoods and an overcast sense of anxiety. As families self-isolate, they are looking for ways to express the diverse emotions that come with mounting worldwide infections. I, for one, have been struggling to cope with the abundance of time we now have on our hands, and the desire to constantly be productive continues to nag at me. My family and I spent a lot of time exploring the vague term that is ‘quality time’ before we found activities that interested, engaged and built us to be stronger together.
The pandemic has meant that people, specifically those vulnerable to anxiety and mental illnesses, are having a tough time finding ways to engage themselves productively and healthily at home. With public parks, gyms and pools closed, many have resorted to traditional games. From improvised indoor badminton to the ever-loved ‘tag’ – people are looking for ways to stay fit during these difficult circumstances. Many families have even begun inventing their own games from the resources they have at home. This too has brought a great change of perception, with everyone realizing the value of creativity as a means of being happy together.
Sadly, cooking is an art often thrust upon one member of the family. However, with all my family home, cooking together has been an excellent way to take a break from screens and work together constructively. A few weeks ago, my family and I spent time together making dinner; this not only helped us build a healthy working relationship, but also allowed us to explore our creative sides during a rather dark time. In situations like this, it is easy to feel confined and suffocated, and cooking is a great way to release this stress. Furthermore, recipes are aplenty over the internet and many restaurants have even provided ways people can enjoy their foods without having to go out. This time has truly brought us to reflect upon how greatly we misinterpret the meaning of life to be one of constant movement and action, whereas in reality, it is a simplistic, slow-paced journey.
Many have also realized the value of tangible objects over superficial images and screen-ridden utopias. Time seems to be travelling in reverse chronology, with old-fashioned, team games back in the picture. Scrabble, Taboo, Ludo and others have had dust rubbed off them and are seeing daylight after years, helping people cope with lockdown. Games as such are likely to bring a sense of unity and joy to the family, reiterating that all hope is not yet lost.
Above all, however, our new way of life has changed our perception towards people. We have realized the impact that people we take for granted have on our daily lives; whether those are school friends who we now only ever see via hour-long video calls, or grandparents who you often ignored, their value has come to light. Maybe they are the people who you do not know, but whose work you are grateful for: the mail deliverers, the cashiers, the waste collectors, the medical workers, the pharmacists. Today, all we can do is try our very best to communicate with those most important to us, making sure to keep those struggling in lockdown at the pinnacle of our care and attention, and keep those without the privilege of lockdown in our respect. It is also absolutely imperative that we all continue to support healthcare workers and follow all their advice – we have the choice to stay home, they don’t.