These are troubling times, and this serious global health threat has disrupted millions of lives. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t divert your energy towards more productive outlets. Here is the time for you to finally do those things you’ve always wanted to but never got around to.
Surely a couple of things come to mind, the skills you said you’d learn, but never did, hobbies you wanted to try your hand at.
The lockdown doesn’t have to be entirely boring and you can actually emerge out of this as a highly-skilled individual. Even top companies are suggesting that their employees take up a new hobby or learn a new skill. This not only helps build your skill set but also keeps your mind busy and productive. You may wonder, “How do I learn a new skill at home?”. With so much available on the internet, the answer is simple: online classes! You can find several free beginner classes, and there are always YouTube tutorials available as well.
A little note here: if the skill of your choice involved outdoor activity, then you shouldn’t take it up at the moment.
However, there are myriads of other skills you can still learn or get better at during the lockdown. Here’s a whole list of them to help you find the one you like.
1. Learn a Language
Do you remember all the times you said you’d learn a language, if only you had the time? Well. now’s your chance! Learning a new language is not only fun but is also beneficial in many ways. For example, multilingual people are more adept at multitasking. Since such people are used to switching between the two systems of speech, this improves their ability to switch seamlessly between tasks as well.
Another advantage is that your memory improves. Think of the brain as a muscle – if you don’t exercise it, it will weaken. Learning a new language is the perfect exercise to strengthen your mental “muscle”. More advantages include becoming more perceptive, making greater rational decisions, and actually helping you improve your first language.
The next part is figuring out which language to learn. There are obvious options: French, Italian, Spanish, and the like. However, there are some others you may want to consider as well, such as Mandarin Chinese. Currently, China’s GDP is set to overtake America’s by 2030. So if you’re a businessman, learning Mandarin is one of the smartest moves you can make.
2. Take a Programming Course
Programming is a great skill to have on your CV always. Even if it doesn’t have anything in common with your current job, learning how to code can also serve as a creative hobby. Once you get the hang of it, you can learn to write programs for yourself, create entire websites, build your own tools, and more.
Coding is so instrumental in today’s world that schools are now adding programming classes to their curriculums.
Based on what your end goal is, you can decide between different types of programming languages. Generally, an excellent language to start with is Python. Python is a high-level language, meaning you can do a lot with it. It’s also an increasingly popular one among data scientists, engineers, and developers.
The internet is swamped with online programming courses. You can find some on Coursera, Udemy, Class Central, etc.
3. Try Your Hand at Cooking
Many people have taken up cooking during this lockdown, and there are several reasons for that. For starters, since you can’t go out to have your favourite meal, you might as well try making it at home. Secondly, right now is the perfect opportunity to learn a valuable life skill that every person should have.
And lastly, cooking and baking are very therapeutic for most. It encourages creativity and is known to have a calming and meditative effect. That is why you may have noticed everyone you follow on social media is suddenly a culinary maestro.
For everyone who’s working from home, cooking also helps cater to all the midday cravings you get where you’d normally head to the vending machine. You can now make healthier choices and create your own quick and easy snacks for a midday office boost.
You can find simple recipes online for whatever you want. Chefs are also creating easy recipes for beginners who are trying their hand at cooking during the lockdown. There are also videos on YouTube where you can follow along with the chef in real-time.
4. Do Some Gardening
If you’re really interested in keeping an eye on what goes into your cooking, then you can take this a step further by planting your own vegetables too. Even if you don’t intend on using your plants in your cooking, there are still plenty of reasons why you should take up gardening.
Gardening has been known to have a positive impact on your mood and brain chemistry. Certain rhythmic and repetitive movements have a calming effect on the nervous system. This is why movements in gardening, whether it’s mowing the lawn or pulling up weeds, leave you peace and calm.
You can find several resources online, and free of cost, on how to sow seeds during the lockdown and how to tend to your garden. You can easily order seeds and pots of your choice online, so what are you waiting for?
5. Play an Instrument
Of course, this one isn’t for everyone, because not all of us have a musical instrument lying around conveniently. If, however, you do have a guitar or ukulele with you, now is a good time to dust it off and get playing.
While there are many online classes available, there’s one designed particularly for the lockdown that you may want to check out. The guitar manufacturing company Fender is offering three months of free online lessons to see you through the lockdown.
The lessons include learning the guitar, bass, and ukulele. Musicians teach the lessons and you can download the videos to go over, again and again, and practice as you wish.
Music has always been known to help reduce stress and put you in an uplifting mood, leaving you happier than before. Since we’re all stuck at home, you might as well make some noise!
6. Get Creative With Photoshop
Graphic design is always an in-demand skill to have. You can easily turn this hobby into a valuable skill as well by freelancing on the side to earn some extra income. Once you learn how to use Photoshop, your creativity will know no bounds.
There are courses you can take to learn everything, from the basics to a more advanced level. However, if you don’t want to enrol in a course, you can easily find online tutorials on YouTube. If you want to create a logo or a business card, or simply edit pictures with different effects, there are tutorials for everything.
Adobe itself also offers tutorials, so you can learn right from the creators themselves. Another benefit of taking up Photoshop is that it doesn’t limit you to your laptop. You can also download the app on your phone or tablet and continue from there, on the go.
Once you’re adept at it, you can start creating your own art and eventually even sell it.
7. Work on Your Soft Skills
Since you’re in isolation, now is a great time to work on yourself and your soft skills. There are courses such as “Creative thinking: Tools for success” and “Improving communication skills” that all of us can benefit from.
Employees who undertake such courses are certainly going to benefit at their jobs as well. Businesses always recognize and value individuals who proactively seek to diversify their skill sets during downtime.
With such skills, you can improve your confidence, learn how to command a room, and dazzle the audience. Your CV isn’t the only thing employers focus on in an interview. They’re also looking at you as a person; how you talk and formulate your thoughts. If you improve such soft skills right now, your chances of employment are bound to improve.
8. Try Creative Writing
Have you always wanted to start your own blog? Now’s your chance to! You can find great resources online about how to do just that. And with all the ample time on your hands, you can put your creative juices to good use. Writing helps you express yourself and it’s a great way to unburden yourself by leaving it all on the paper.
Some of the best writers in the world only produced their best works when they were left in isolation. As you find yourself in a similar situation, nothing is stopping you from writing now and joining their ranks!
Even if you don’t intend on starting a blog or writing a book, you can still benefit from writing. It will eliminate stress and help you communicate with greater clarity.
Many successful writers offer online courses to help you find your writing style. You can learn all sorts of techniques about how to develop a plot and create suspense. There are also countless interesting writing prompts available online.
9. Start Doing Yoga
In such times of turmoil, all of us need a combination of physical and mental exercises – yoga is just the answer. Yoga is for everyone, irrespective of what age group you’re in. It helps keep your body flexible and active while calming your brain as well, detoxing all the negativity of the day.
Don’t let all the yoga terminology and fancy named poses intimidate you. You will easily get a hang of everything once you start watching some tutorial videos on YouTube.
The important thing is to focus on your posture and breathing techniques. If your posture isn’t correct, then the yoga exercises may do you more harm than good. For this reason, it is important that you stick to watching videos instead of reading blogs.
The benefits of regular yoga are wide-ranging. It helps keep your back and joints healthy, improves your posture and balance, and strengthens your muscles. Relaxation is built into every yoga session, so you will find yourself much more peaceful by the end of it.
10. Video Editing
I’m sure everyone has always wanted to capture a beautiful video to remember important memories, complete with the perfect soundtrack and seamless transitions. However, video editing just wasn’t as easy as it sounded so you never got around to pursuing it.
Now is your chance to learn how to create beautiful, quirky, funny videos. Learning how to shoot and edit videos requires time and patience. Luckily, you have ample time on your hands in this lockdown! You can watch online videos on how to edit videos, which software to use, and tips on what to do and not do.
Video creation is relatively easier than video editing. Video editing requires you to have an eye for detail. This means you have to notice and fix the smallest of things such as the alignment of elements, etc.
Once you get the hang of it, you can also start taking on freelance projects. Companies are always looking for freelancers who can edit video content for various platforms. If you want, you can even narrow yourself down to either an online video editor or specifically as a social media video editor.
Time to Pick a Skill!
While a certain situation of uncertainty prevails, we can still focus on the few positives of the situation. We now have time than ever before to focus on developing ourselves and our skills. If we don’t make efficient use of this time, we’re going to regret it later on.
Picking up a new skill is bound to help you set a routine during this new reality everyone is trying to venture through. With something to divert your attention, you won’t constantly be anxious and stressed out about the pandemic. It’s best to reinvest the time into something productive instead of binge-watching shows. Any kind of knowledge is only helpful and will serve you well.
Remember, stay safe and stay at home!