Lessons in lockdown: Five skills to learn during the coronavirus crisis
As the world continues to struggle against the coronavirus pandemic, the majority of countries and cities remain hesitant to relax any lockdown measures, keeping everyone indoors. The addition of furlough schemes for various industry workers has also meant that many people suddenly have much more free time than usual. If you’re one of those people who suddenly have a lot of extra time on your hands, why not use the time to learn something new?
Picking up a new skill doesn’t have to be difficult. You could always start small, giving yourself a solid foundation of knowledge to build upon once lockdown is lifted. Here, we’ve put together a list of things that will occupy your time, give you a helpful new skill, and may even change your life for the better in the long run.
1. Learn how to cook
According to recent figures, only 34% of adults prepare a meal from scratch on a daily basis. While this statistic has increased over the past decade, it still shows that many people are relying on the convenience of ready meals, takeaways, or dining out. However, with lockdown in full effect, it can be difficult to get hold of your favourite takeaways, or even find your favourite food on supermarket shelves. Learning how to cook meals from scratch gives you an invaluable life skill, allowing you to be even more self-sufficient and, in most cases, save money in the process.
Businesses are now starting to help people with their lack of culinary know-how by offering up easy-to-follow recipe packs. This allows everyone to tap into their inner Gordon Ramsay, crafting delicious meals from fresh ingredients. Food subscription companies offer everything needed for a week’s worth of dinners, complete with recipe cards, so you don’t have to worry about the shopping. But if learning a bunch of recipes in a week is too daunting, you can start smaller with a single dish. Pasta Evangelists, for example, offer a gourmet recipe box with all the fresh ingredients you need to serve up a truly mouth-watering Italian meal. This gives any novice chef the opportunity to spend time perfecting one dish, before moving on to conquering another.
2. Learn a new language
There are a huge number of benefits to being bilingual, including improved cognitive performance, protecting your brain against Alzheimer’s and having an easier and more authentic experience when travelling. But there are also professional benefits to learning a new language, such as being able to market yourself more easily to prospective employers. As the world becomes more global, businesses will need to keep up and market their services as widely as possible, including to an international market. Having your bilingual skills on board can make you irreplaceable within the workplace, and could even earn you a higher salary from businesses who want to keep you on board.
Learning a new language is no easy feat though. It’s often a good idea to start with a language that is less complicated. Some of the easiest languages for English speakers to start learning include Spanish, Italian, and French. There are plenty of subscription-based apps or websites available to help kickstart start your bilingual journeys, such as Duolingo, Babbel and Rosetta Stone.
3. Practice yoga
Yoga offers plenty of benefits for both mental and physical health. Even as little as 15 minutes a day can help to elevate your mood and boost your health. Regularly practising yoga movements gradually improves your posture, stature, flexibility, and even offers some strength training. This is because many of the movements work with and around your own body weight, requiring strength, balance, and focus in order to hold the poses for as long as you need to.
There are plenty of wellness and mindfulness apps available that can teach you the basics of yoga, but many people are opting for free classes on YouTube. Perhaps the most famous of these online yogis is Adriene, who has been dubbed as the “patron saint of quarantine”. Offering easy-to-follow instructional videos, Adriene has been busy creating content for various specific ailments ranging from improving movement and flexibility to dealing with anger and stress.
4. Learn how to cut your hair
Most people rely on semi-regular trips to the salon for a trim. However, with social distancing measures seemingly going to be in place well into the summer, many extreme hair measures are being taken. From going peroxide blonde or sporting a bright orange mohawk to taking the plunge and shaving it all off, people across the country are sharing their own lockdown DIY hairstyles, for better or worse. But it doesn’t have to be so dramatic.
It’s much easier to avoid a dodgy bowl cut than you’d think. All you really need is a pair of good, sharp scissors and a comb. Remember that smaller tweaks lead to smaller mistakes, so don’t go overboard. Giving yourself a trim to keep your hair healthy or remove split ends is acceptable, but trying to perfect an entirely new look by chopping off a few inches is probably not a good idea.
If you have longer hair, this article recommends plaiting it to one side over your shoulder and making small vertical snips to trim the ends of the longest hairs. Then undo your hair, give it a quick comb, and do the same on the other side. Making these vertical cuts means you won’t be cutting straight lines which can lead to less subtle results. Meanwhile, for those with shorter hair, simply keeping the edges and sideburns trimmed and neat works wonders for your overall look. This can be easily achieved with an electric trimmer and a steady hand.
5. Learn new career skills
CPD (continued professional development) is important in any role, but many professionals feel like they never actually have the time to develop their skills on top of working a full-time job. However, now that so many of us have more free time than ever before, it’s a perfect opportunity to learn something new to add to your CV.
Some of the most sought-after hard skills recruiters look for on a CV include computer software programming, data analysis, copywriting, project management and marketing. In an increasingly digital world, it’s important to have the skills and knowledge to help a business adapt to new technologies and thrive in the digital landscape.
One of the most important skills that businesses need is the ability to code. While you aren’t expected to learn how to build an entire website in just a few weeks (or months), it’s still handy to have an understanding of the basics. There are plenty of online coding courses available, some available for free and others on a subscription basis. If you’re serious about learning, opt for an official course that offers certification so that you can showcase this in the future to recruiters and prospective employers.
The editorial unit