Cover Story

What's keeping you sane?

Published On: April 3, 2020 08:06 AM NPT By: Anweiti Upadhyay

Once upon a time, there was so much we wanted to do but not enough time to do it all. Now most of us are in a quandary as to what to do with all the free time on our hands. Life went from one extreme to another. When she first heard the news about the nationwide lockdown, Shrija Shrestha was horrified that she would have to spend all her time at home. She feared she would become anxious and bored with absolutely nothing to do for the next few weeks. Now, almost two weeks into self-isolation, Shrestha has found ways to fill her free time with a few activities she enjoys.
She has taken up a couple of online courses—one on marketing and another on fashion designing, is practicing abstract art and drawing/ painting something new every day, and as the founder and sole operator of the formal wear hub Ambassador, she spends the rest of her free time connecting and communicating with her customers through the brand’s Insta- gram account.

Like Shrestha, a lot of people seem to be trying out new activities and have taken up different hobbies to fill their free time and cope with having to stay indoors to stay safe and prevent the spread during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Model Vagya Kachhapati has been cooking multiple meals every day since the beginning of the lockdown. She reveals that although she wasn’t a big fan of cooking before, she now cooks breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snacks for her whole family, and enjoys learning and trying out new recipes with the help of Youtube videos.

Likewise, the secretary and spokesperson of the National Human Rights Committee, Bed Bhattarai, is spending his time writing songs to keep himself busy. Bhattarai mentions that although he has been writing songs for years, he has utilized his free time during this lockdown perfecting all his songs and is actually thinking about recording and releasing them once the coronavirus chaos is managed.

Entrepreneur Amit Khanal has started working out every morning. Khanal mentions that before this he would often skip out on exercising because his busy schedule wouldn’t allow much time for it. But now he has set a routine for himself and it’s the one thing that he looks forward to doing every day these days.

Similarly, civil engineer Anima Piya, 25, has taken up yoga to make good use of her time during the self-isolation period. Piya states that she looks up yoga videos on YouTube and spends about an hour every morning trying out the poses. As she is seeing improvements in her mental and physical fitness because of this, she plans to continue doing yoga even after the lockdown lifts and her daily schedule goes back to normal. Besides that, Piya finds comfort in tending to her garden and reveals that seeing the plants she propagates grow makes her satisfied and happy.

One common activity that many people The Week spoke to seem to be doing to cope with the lockdown is spending a lot of time with their families. “It’s natural that everyone is spending a lot of time with their family because essentially, we’re all holed up inside our homes and that’s our
only face-to-face contact with another human being” says Erica Rai, an engineering student.

However, Rai says that she has gotten closer to her family in the past two weeks and her whole family engages in fun activities like playing board games, watching movies together or sharing
interesting stories about their lives to pass time these days.

Likewise, Apar Neupane, who works as a representative (of Nepal) for a Singaporean consultancy, reveals that connecting with his family has kept him happy and sane during this self-isolation period. He mentions that besides spending a lot of time with his wife and five-year-old daughter, he also makes it a point to check up on his relatives and friends to know how they have been dealing with the current situation. Many individuals The Week spoke to have also turned to entertainment shows and social media to cope with the lockdown. Banker Rudra Dhungana, who claims that he rarely watched entertainment programs before the lockdown, says that he has been watching a lot of series on television these days. And when he isn’t watching TV, Dhungana is either scrolling through Facebook or chatting with his friends on Messenger.

Prathichya Chand, who just completed her Masters’ in Business Studies and is pursuing a diploma in fashion, has gotten into creating Tiktoks to keep her mind off pointless worries during the lockdown. Chand reveals that although she is very new to making Tiktoks, she is enjoying her time exploring this new social media site. Chand also adopted a puppy just a couple of days prior to the lockdown and is busy taking care of and training it. Pets can be a much- needed source of comfort during this trying time, she says.

17-year-old Yutin Tamang who is waiting for her A-Levels finals has also been making Tiktoks every day. Tamang states that she tries out new makeup looks every day and then logs onto Tiktok and, since this is a time consuming but an interesting hobby, she is having fun. “I’m honestly thankful for Tiktok these days. They give me a reason to dress up as otherwise I would have stayed cooped up in bed feeling sorry for myself,” she concludes.

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