December 31, 2020 - Tahmida Shimu
With the global outbreak taking over the entire world, you are most likely reading this article from the comfort of your couch. The epidemic has not only disrupted our regular day-to-day routine but introduced us to an unprecedented social dynamic we never knew could exist, being in solidarity from distance. Living in the era of social media, the most challenging demand has been the directive to stay at home in quarantine. This article covers some of the smart ways to use this gift of time. So, keep reading and find out how to be ahead of your game by practicing social distancing.
The world goes into a lockdown and even the most extroverted of us is forced to stay inside the four walls of our houses. It is not surprising that the mobile networks and broadband internet providers are experiencing a surge in online traffic. At the beginning, it was okay to catch up on TV shows or movies we have been looking forward to for a while. Doing a little TikTok, meaningless Facebook challenges, and obsessing over hyped up new song releases should all be done and over with by now. While many of us are still working from home, without those extra hours of commute and hangouts, the days seem longer. The weekends are especially giving us cabin fever. The fact that this uncertainty that can last for weeks, or even months is starting to get into our nerves, and every one of us is feeling restless. Instead of sitting at home and putting on those extra pounds while losing our sanity, it’s time to gear up and start utilizing the rest of this quarantine time being productive.
Pick up those books from your shelves collecting dust for as long as the age of the internet and spend some time reading. For those of us who don’t have the attention span to turn into an avid reader in quarantine, listen to podcasts, audiobooks, newsletters, or magazines, whichever floats your sinking boats. This is the time to start developing a habit of reading, especially the non-fiction ones, and open ourselves to the unending adventure of knowledge and cultivate new-found perspectives.
For those of us who want immediate results from our efforts, a smart way to use this time would be to start building professional skills. Take online courses on topics of your chosen career or something you are passionate about. Check out the links to some useful online courses at the end of this article.
Create your LinkedIn profile if you don’t have one, or update it to make it stand out among your professional network and recruiters. Note that hiring is going to slow down for a while with the overall decline in economic activities (of course, some companies are sailing against the tide and hiring people in bulk like Amazon). This is still an excellent time to start chasing your dream job as the recruiters and staffing consultants are stuck at home like you and looking out for their next hire. Work out an award winning résumé and keep your fingers crossed. The economy is going to pick up its pace and it will all be okay again.
Once you are done being intellectually and professionally amazing, try giving attention to your health. Take up a habit of meditating or yoga. There are many exercise videos on YouTube that teach how to work out without any gym instruments, try those. Create a diet chart for yourself and your family, and get rid of the habit of adding extra sugar and salt to your daily food. One thing this pandemic has taught us is that when health is in danger, nothing else matters. If we are physically and mentally healthy, only then we can fully enjoy the taste of being alive.
Invest in relationships that matter. Take this time and reconnect with your parents. Set aside all electronic devices and talk to your kids. Reach out to your grandparents or distant relatives, and ask about their wellbeing. Call an old friend and reminisce about good times. Don’t chase people just because you are bored. The stress of quarantine can make any man Jane Austen’s Mr. Darcy, and any woman Elizabeth Bennet. That doesn’t create a soul-fulfilling relationship when everyone is out of their houses at the end of the isolation period. So, focus on yourself and divert your energy to spreading only positive thoughts. Help out someone in need by donating and practice sensibility and mindfulness.
I am Tahmida Shimu, graduated from Texas A&M University-College Station with an MS in Civil Engineering. I am a recipient of the prestigious Fulbright Scholarship (2017- 18) from Bangladesh. Currently, I am working as an Engineer-In-Training for a consulting firm in Texas. I am passionate about raising awareness on mental health issues and overcoming the stigma associated with it. In my leisure time, I like reading, working out, talking to my friends and family, and spending time with animals.
Links to Online Courses (Compiled by: Zahid Aasha)
1. CS50's Introduction to Computer Science by Harvard University (starts 30/03/2020). Link: https://www.edx.org/course/cs50s-introduction-to-computer science
2. The Science of Well-Being by Yale University (starts 30/03/2020). Link: https://www.coursera.org/learn/the-science-of-well-being#syllabus
3. Preparing to Network in English by University of Washington (starts 30/03/2020) Link: https://www.edx.org/course/preparing-to-network-in-english
4. Rhetoric: The Art of Persuasive Writing and Public Speaking by Harvard University (starts 30/03/2020). Link: https://www.edx.org/course/rhetoric-art-of persuasive-writing-public-speaking
5. Business Courses on
∙ Finance Fundamentals
∙ Project Management
∙ Leadership and Entrepreneurship
6. Learn the Soft Skills Needed to Advance Critical Thinking by Rochester Institute of Technology. Link: https://www.edx.org/professional-certificate/ritx-soft-skills
7. Google Courses on IT Support, Automation, Machine Learning, Cloud Architecture, Cloud Engineering, Data Engineering and many others Link: https://www.coursera.org/courses?query=google
8. Google Courses on Microsoft Excel, Word, Python, AI Application and many others