Merchant of Venice
Well Being

What Lockdown is Looking Like for Me – Keeping Sane in Quarantine: Part 3

Read Part 2 here.

Working Out

Since I get this asked often, I have been meaning to do an entire post about my work-out routine and why exercise is a vital part of my life. But I haven’t been able to come around to it with so many other things going on that I have been sharing with you here. I will write that post down soon. So, I won’t give out the details here.

Anyway, quarantine or no quarantine, exercise is a regular part of my everyday routine. An hour a day, five days a week. I distribute this hour throughout the day. I don’t go to the gym because I have been exercising at home since the beginning and that has worked well for me so far. I follow some channels for my free-hand exercises that have given me really good results. Of them, I’ve been sticking to HIIT Burn unanimously for some time now. Check out their intro video below.

Truth is, I love working out. It gives me a sense of accomplishment and it always lifts my mood. So, I schedule 70% of my exercise routine in the morning. It helps me start my day with a fresh mind and enables me to stay positive throughout the day. This has been especially useful during this lockdown. With so much bad news doing the rounds, working out is helping me maintain my mental equilibrium a good deal.

Exercise has been super beneficial for my emotional well-being. The hour I dedicate for my cardio is my very own time. I am completely in touch with my thoughts during this time. I think analytically, reason best, find answers and even have creative epiphanies.

Most of the acknowledgment that I talked about in the first post of this series happen effortlessly during this time. For the rest of the acknowledgments, I have to put in extra effort because it’s really difficult to pull your mind out of the quickly thickening cobweb of pandemic thoughts. But exercise helps. Actually, every little movement counts, be it a moderate-intensity workout or a 10-minute stroll.

That said, one thing I miss most from my pre-pandemic days is walking. I used to alight from my ride to office about a kilometre from my workplace and walk the stretch. And then walk back the same stretch in the evening to avail my ride back home. The sudden halt to my walking schedule has put my mind off-balance. I’m still trying to adjust to that through alternatives but I miss walking terribly.

Online Course

Since I have been spending all of my time at home, I can see that I have a lot of time in hand. This is primarily the transportation time I’m saving by working from home. So I decided to start something new in this extra time. And I took up an online course.

Actually, I have Tathagata to thank for the idea. Sometime in the middle of the lockdown, he had shared a link containing a list of online courses that Harvard is giving out for free during the quarantine. So I was going through the list and I found some really interesting ones. I knew right away that I wanted to take up Shakespeare. There was ‘Merchant of Venice’ staring me right in the face. We had ‘Merchant of Venice’ in our seventh or eighth standard curriculum in the form of a story. Not the play. And I’ve always felt that I was too young to grasp its true meaning then.

Merchant of Venice - Trial Scene
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Naturally, I jumped right into the online course. The best thing about it is that it’s self-paced. So, you can easily juggle work, course and your daily activities without following a tight schedule. I have been putting in approximately four hours a week for the course and I am nearing the end right now. To be honest, I’m thoroughly enjoying it. There are video guides shot in the location of the play, discussion with experts on its significance, the play itself for you to go through, discussion forums for when you want to talk about your interpretations of the dialogues/setting/etc. or help someone out with their doubts, Q/A sessions to assess your progress and so on.

This course comes with a globally-accepted certificate if you purchase it for $49. For the free version, you won’t be able to access some of the tests and won’t of course, be awarded a certificate, but it’s not a big deal. It works for me since I’m taking this just to feed my love for Shakespeare and to try and understand the play that I could only half-comprehend in school. So, this is like closure. Literary closure.

If you prick us, do we not bleed?
if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison
us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not

I have my eye on a couple of other courses to jump into once I finish this. You can check them out. Go here. It’s a productive relief from the continuous pandemic stress.

Read Part 3 here.

I love lazy afternoons, sunsets, tea, the smell of old books and oxblood staircases. I'm a bit of an old soul discovering life and adding more elements to my identity as I go.


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