Life in Lockdown — then and now

This year has changed our lives in so many different ways. The amount of time that we spend in different activities has suddenly changed, forcing all of us into newer lifestyles, habits and time blocks. We spent a huge amount of time everyday in commute, work and doing household chores. Let’s reflect and see what this new time frame has brought along…

1. Commute

We spend a lot of time in commute, specially people living in Mumbai and other metropolis. Nothing is below half an hour for sure. This is the time that we get to ourselves. Though, it has a lot of talking to rickshaw-walas, buying on the go breakfasts, checking train and bus schedules; it also brings along a lot of personal time. Catching up on news, reading emails, books, planning the day ahead, meal prep, calling the loved ones and what not. That is how it happened ‘then’, the new ‘now’ has taken away all of that from us and slipped in stand-up calls.

2. Work

Earlier set up, gave us moments to meet friends and colleagues, ample tea and snack breaks, chitchat and gossip time during lunch…now, we are stuck to our screens.

work from home…workout from home…

teams and slack and google chrome….

Monetization happened to be the first step to digitization and ‘this’ is the next big leap. Every software that we use to get along, existed in the good old days too, but people still preferred in- person ways. This situation has forced them to try out all the alternatives. This seem to have fast forwarded our digital lives to a 20x.

All this has got a flip side too. The human brain is constantly building neural connections while pruning away less-used ones, and digital media use plays an active role in that process. Much of what happens on screen provides “impoverished” stimulation to the brain compared to reality. In simple words, more screen time effects the brain function. It also impacts sleep patterns. We should have a balanced approach to screen use. We have to be flexible enough to evolve with the technology but choose how to use it right. Fire was a great discovery to cook our food, but we had to learn it could hurt and kill as well.

Also, connected systems play a reverse role in our lifestyle. You cannot switch between work mode and home mode. Earlier, starting for office or leaving home used to act as triggers to these modes as it led to change in the setup. Now, everyone is just a call away which has led to ignorance of that time barrier.

3. Household Chores

Not significant, but important aspect of our life! Someone tells you, this call clashes with my cooking time. What is the first feeling? But, isn’t that important too? We spend a lot of time and energy in keeping our space nice and clean. Tidying up, doing the dishes, organizing, cooking, cleaning… Compared to work, they are least important tasks, but cannot be ignored.

“Let’s take a 20 min lunch break and regroup”. woah….Definitely, someone has done the cooking and cleaning at your home. What about rest of the team? Are all of them in the same position?

With all of us at home, I am sure mothers of every household is struggling to keep up with the love for food. And, if it is a joint set up like mine, then you have a dish for everyone on the table.

I am sure, this would have rewinded a few frames of life in your head with a ‘then’ of your own.

4. Kids Time

In midst of all the chaos, what I cherished the most is a lot of first time things that my 10 month old has started doing. Each one of you would have your stories with them too.

I once got myself in a situation where I initiated a group call with a client and my little one decided to poop then. What do I do? Clean her up? Reschedule the call? Ask them to wait? Ask the team to lead?

Do we have the right mindset for these moments? Do we realize that work from home would bring a lot of these and more?

Can you imagine the amount of time that we spend on phone calls in a day? If you keep a tap on number, you would realize it is more than the productive hours. I reached 60 max, what’s yours? And to my surprise, that is not even considered as your work.

The kids are locked indoors too. How much can you keep them engaged?Somewhere, it ends up at digital media and the screen time affect continues. Is working from home directly or indirectly impacting your family’s health too? or would you blame it on lockdown?

5. Workout from Home

Now this one is tricky! Earlier, going out on a weekday 5K run helped me keep sane. I don’t know how much workout do we need for all the ‘ma ka pyaar’ we keep gulping down every meal.

Lockdown has made us workout indoors and cure fit has made it a terrific experience. Though, it is a lot to accommodate in Mumbai like homes. I had my mother-in-law watching tv soaps, my husband taking calls, my little one playing and I working out at the same time in the same room.

Working for long hours in same position makes the body so stiff that it takes more stretching than usual to relax our muscles. It becomes an essential than a need to stay healthy.

Google recently announced an allowance for office furnitures. That makes it so simple to understand that office chairs are designed to provide comfort for longer working hours than furnitures at home that is more for our bodies to relax and be at ease.

Workout does not only mean the physical being. Our mind also needs to relax with so much chaos. We are juggling between so many things, it is difficult to stay calm.

You might also have related to a lot of this. It is not an easy situation. It needs a lot of support from family and co-workers to stand through. Hope this gets over soon and the new normalcy brings us great things.

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