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COVID-19 Quarantine—Locking Down New Skills

After being locked in for days on end, it comes as no surprise when we are left feeling tired and unproductive at times. It can be difficult to come up with housebound activities to keep ourselves busy and motivated through this quarantine period. Here we have compiled a list of skills, with resources and quotes from professionals, that beginners in the field can take up at home while staying safe and healthy.

1. Cooking

Design Credit: Vibha Bhat

Cooking, a simple yet life-saving skill has been around for generations, with new techniques and dishes being invented every single day. What initially started as a caveman experimenting with fire has now grown into an essential skill that helps employ millions of people around the globe, and wards off hunger in the process.

During quarantine especially, with all restaurants closed and delivery services unreliable, cooking is the most important skill to master for maintaining good health and nutrition. Whilst delivering and eating out is certainly a less tedious alternative, cooking at home is much cheaper, nutritious and healthy.

While many people take cooking up as just a hobby or an essential life skill, popular food-blogger and Sattvic Cooking advocate, Anushruti RK left the corporate world to turn her passion into a career.

In her words, “I had the opportunity to get into a corporate career. I had specialised in quality management. At that time, Mumbai was new to me, and I had a kitchen to myself. It was like a melting pot of cultures. I had access to so many ingredients. I actually started cooking because I was very inspired by the taste a few ingredients could produce, and I wanted to take that taste outside my kitchen to the people.


Basics With Babish: Season 1 (YouTube Series)

Basics With Babish: Season 2 (YouTube Series)

Divine Taste: Back to Basics by Anushruti RK (Website on cooking including tutorials and recipes)

Kitchen Stories (Android app providing step-by-step video instructions and recipes)

Kitchen Stories (iOS app providing step-by-step video instructions and recipes)

2. Graphic Design

Design Credit: Trupti Tripathi

Discover another outlet for your creativity by picking up one of the most exciting, challenging and sought-after skills in recent years. Increasingly becoming an essential tool in the world of advertising, graphic design has taken the world of marketing by storm.

Take this time off to equip your arsenal with this incredibly interesting, creative skill. With these easy-to-follow tutorials and guides, you are sure to be creating stunning posters and designs in no time.


Vector Slate | Graphic Design Tutorials (YouTube Channel)

Gareth David Studio (YouTube Channel)

Gigantic (YouTube Channel)

3. Painting

Design Credit: Ansuman Nayak

A terrific form of expression, painting is a fresh and therapeutic way of passing time. It fuels both creative and emotional growth in those that choose to engage. Painting requires limited supplies that are readily available in most homes. Along with traditional painting methods, there are plenty of novel techniques to be explored. Spray painting, pouring, and string paintings are avenues worth exploring.

Many art bloggers and YouTube channels exist for the sole purpose of providing inspiration to budding artists. They also assist novices in exploring the field on their own terms.

The best way to hone your skill is to attempt what the masters did. Recreate what gets you inspired! Remember art is not just what you see, it is the story behind it”, says Viral Tiwari, founder of Fankaar Arts.


Pinterest (Online platform for design and art ideas)

Bob Ross (YouTube)

My Modern Met (Modern artists and their techniques)

4. Origami 

Design Credit: Ashwin Mathur

The art of paper folding is a snappy skill that a lot of us can pick up with all the time we have while the curfew lasts. Origami consists of making paper sculptures, only by folding them. This popular Japanese art form has been popular for centuries and allows you to create models of frogs, aeroplanes, butterflies, and multiple other objects and animals.

Origami may seem like a trivial activity, but it helps us develop hand-eye coordination, spatial skills, memory and also builds patience. On the internet, multiple YouTube channels and websites have step-by-step instructions on how to make interesting Origami models, from the traditional crane to the modern-day Yoda.

“Paper folding has given me so much joy. To realise that you can make so many things with only a piece of paper is fascinating. It is a wonderful skill to learn when we are all at home and are running out of things to do”, says Tavin, the owner of Tavin’s Origami, a YouTube channel for Origami beginners.


Tavin’s Origami Instructions (YouTube Channel)

Jo Nakashima – Origami Tutorials (YouTube Channel) (Website with simple instructions and diagrams)

How to Make Origami (Android app with animated and replayable instructions)

How to Make Origami (iOS app with animated and replayable instructions)

5. Reading

Design Credit: Parth Nagpal

Books are said to be the window to the soul and the gateway to an abundance of emotions. They open one’s eyes to a variety of ideas of fiction and reality. Taking up reading as a hobby is incredibly easy and can be moulded to the taste of the reader. Spending an hour a day pursuing this activity can stimulate the mind, reduce stress, and improve memory. Self-help books and autobiographies can provide inspiration and motivation. Reading need not just be limited to books, as many world-class writers take to online articles and blogs as their medium of choice.

Amazon is a notable place to order a copy of any book. The highlight of this site is that along with hard-copies, soft-copies are also sold for a lower rate which can then be accessed via Amazon Kindle. Goodreads is a popular website for getting a gist of the latest books and delving into options of any particular genre. The Guardian and Harvard Business Review are wonderful places to explore new articles.


Amazon (For purchasing hard and soft copies of books)

Goodreads (Books compartmentalised into sub-genres to decide what to read next)

List Challenges (Lists of books to read)

Wattpad (Story-telling platform for budding writers, including a plethora of fan-fiction)

6. Writing

Design Credit: Sara Dharmik

The gift of communication is perhaps the human race’s most vital asset. Being able to efficiently express our thoughts and share our ideas with our fellow beings is what makes us different from the rest of the pack. However, just stringing together coherent words with barely enough context isn’t enough in today’s day and age. Eloquence is a sought-after trait, and one should strive to be a better writer for it not only enhances one’s ability to foster brilliant ideas and refine them, but it also helps in putting one’s point across in a convincing manner.

With the advent of the digital age, we have access to countless resources to help improve this vital life-skill, a selection of which are listed below.

Note: Students can access Grammarly Premium through their learner id.


HyperGrammar (Grammar course and resources at the University of Ottawa’s Writing Centre)

Grammarly Blog (Tips on how to improve your writing skills)

EdX Courses (Multi-domain English language courses)

7. Musical Instruments

Design Credit: Swara Singh

Music has long been beneficial to us with its ability to help us relax, feel motivated, or bond with each other. The act of playing an instrument takes these benefits up a notch and lets us exercise cognitive abilities such as memory and spatial reasoning, all while serving as an excellent outlet for self-expression.

Yousician is an educational app that gives users the ability to learn an instrument and musical theory with step-by-step programs that feature a multitude of exercises and instant feedback. E-Chords is a website that features the chords and tablature for a vast number of songs, along with lessons for learning the guitar and complex musical pieces.

“Jamming, or practising with other people is one of the best feelings a musician will ever have because it firstly tests all your skill and the work you’ve put into an instrument, to be able to pick up a song easily, and secondly, it’s a chance to be a part of something bigger, and that’s a feeling you don’t get much elsewhere”, said Sharan Aditya, a 2nd-year guitarist at Chords&Co.


Yousician (Android app used to learn instruments and vocals)

Yousician (iOS app used to learn instruments and vocals)

E-Chords (Website offering chords and tutorials for songs on different instruments)

JoyTunes (Blog on learning new instruments)

BulletProof Musician (Website on motivation and making progress)

8. Languages

Design Credit: Mayur Bhoi

The world is connected now more than ever through social media, online forums, and various other platforms. With new international career and education opportunities popping up every day, learning a new language can be an excellent skill to master during this lock-down. There exists a multitude of reliable resources at our fingertips to learn languages free of cost. 

One of the world’s most popular platforms—Duolingo, serves nearly 300 million users across the globe. Their application is quite easy to use, offers stress-free learning and exceptional material combined with visual aids and accents.

“Each language is a half-open door to a whole way of living and thinking. So learning a new language is to push open that door, enter a new world and see how people who are speaking that language, view, and fashion the world at large for themselves”, says Aravinda Bhat, Assistant Professor, Department of Languages.


Duolingo (Website and app for learning new languages)

Live Lingua Project (Free public domain for learning new languages)

MIT OpenCourseWare (Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s open course on languages)

9. Exercise

Design Credit: Abhijit Vinayak

As we remain indoors and relax at home during the unexpected quarantine, our body spends a huge portion of the day in some form of rest. Thanks to the internet, we have access to resources that can help us stay fit when we can’t sweat it out in the gym or go for a jog in the park. There are multiple ways one can keep in shape, even during a nationwide lock-down. Multiple pages on social media like The Training Manual(on Instagram) demonstrate certain exercises with step-by-step instructions which help keep the body healthy.

“As we can’t go outdoors,  the best way to keep healthy and stay fit is by controlling our food intake and making sure we follow a balanced diet. As most of us use social media, there are pages that demonstrate exercises for beginners and help them improve their fitness”, said Pranay Pushkar, the president of Evolve, the only student-run fitness club in Manipal.

Resources :

Rebecca Louise (YouTube Channel)

The Training Manual (Instagram Page)

Squat University (Instagram Page) (For articles and tips on keeping fit)


Featured Image Credit: Aditya Gunturu

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