Mumbai: Ordinarily, Mumbaikars would be thrilled at the prospect of avoiding the rough and tumble of the daily commute to their workplaces. They would pounce at the chance to spend time at home with their family.
However, the lockdown in the city amid the coronavirus pandemic has brought with it an unexpected set of problems. Cooped up at home for days on end -- it’s an experience those accustomed to the hustle and bustle of the daily grind in Urbs Prima are not accustomed to.
Many are finding it hard to adjust to the drastic change in the pace of life. Nikita Jaisinghani, a tour manager, said, "I am constantly travelling within India as part of my job.
But now, I feel so helpless because I am stuck at home. It is affecting me psychologically, as it is quite frustrating to be locked in; and also physically, as I am slipping into laziness. I have tried to keep myself busy by completing household chores, but I need some distraction."
Priyanka Joshi, 26, is a corporate communication professional. Her job involves dealing with clients and meeting new people every day. However, it has been five days since she has been indoors, and this has already taken a toll on her.
"Since Friday, we haven’t stepped out. This feels mentally draining as I am not accustomed to this life," Joshi said Marcus Machdo, a hair stylist, said, "I have never spent so much time with my family. It is tough to live at home without meeting friends. I want to go out and chill for some time as it is not easy to sit in one place doing nothing."
"This home quarantine is something we are not used to. We wanted to go for an immediate getaway outside the city. But seeing how policemen are strictly tackling the situation, we resisted,” said Rishi Jadhav, 29. Jadhav said his nineteen month old son gets restless at times, which was becoming tough to tackle while confined at home.
“Our housing society has strictly notified us to not go outside. We can’t take our child out for a walk.” Alka Sawant, a Bachelor of Commerce student, said, "In the past three days, I have tried drawing, sketching and writing to pass time.
Now, I am bored, and I want to meet my friends. I am scrolling through Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook all day, and it is mentally straining. I am planning to go off social media for a while."
Rahat Lookmanji, who holds a Master’s degree in clinical psychology, said that feeling anxious and stressed out, or feeling that things are going out of control, is normal in such a situation. "It is an environment that we are not comfortable in. If I take a day off, I may be okay with staying in my bedroom.
But now, circumstances have forced me to stay at home." she said. “What we can do is try to think rationally that we cannot help how the virus spreads, but at an individual level we are doing what we can by staying indoors.
This is a great time to play indoor games such as card and board games with family and connect over the phone or email with those you may not have found the time to connect with.
We don't really spend so much time with family and friends otherwise," she added. Lookmanji said exercise, even indoors, is helpful as it releases hormones that relieve stress and make people feel positive.
“Yoga, guided meditation and breathing exercises also help. Repetitive acts such as colouring, knitting and embroidery, drawing -- any creative outlet -- is helpful.
If you have a balcony, try to soak up some sunshine and do gardening if you have plants at home. Even being out at the window or in balcony can reduce the sense of claustrophobia," she added.
Offering some advice to those who were struggling to adjust to the changes, Jaini Savla, a psychologist said, "The irony is that we are getting a break when we always say we need a break, but we are not able to accept it, because it did not come at a time that we wanted.
This is the time when we can make full use of technology and the internet - maybe learn a new style of cooking, a new art by using tutorials on YouTube. You can use the time to read books or start doing things you always wanted to do."
From connecting with old friends over the phone, or playing indoor games with family members, to binge watching shows on television -- Mumbaikars have been finding different ways to spend time at home.