In these tough times, with lockdown in effect and long days passing ever so slowly, one might feel an emotional emptiness deep inside. To best avoid this slippery slope, this downtime should be used to exercise the mind in order to keep spirits high, India and Bengaluru FC (BFC) football star Sunil Chhetri believes.

“It is important that everyone exercises their minds. These are unprecedented times; it’s easy to get bogged down. It’s key to stay calm, take care of your physical health, but more importantly, your mental health. Find things to keep yourself busy, while hoping that these days pass sooner rather than later,” Chhetri told The Hindu.

The striker appealed to everyone to stay indoors in the fight against the Coronavirus outbreak, while offering some advice on how to spend time wisely.

“Now is a great time to read that book you’ve been putting off, finally getting down to cooking something you’ve been wanting to put together, learning a language, taking a short course online — the options are plenty. And if you can squeeze in a little basic workout at home, that would be ideal. Most importantly, whatever it is you choose to do, make sure you’re exercising your mind,” he said.

Chhetri led the effort to raise funds from current and former Indian footballers to donate an undisclosed amount to the PM CARES Fund.

“All the national team boys came together and decided we needed to help. It didn’t take any forcing or coaxing. Everyone came forward willingly, and that was heartening. Even some of the former players, when they heard of this, jumped right in with their contributions,” Chhetri said.

He is not concerned about the lack of football action, as there are far bigger concerns to tackle.

Football can wait

“Football is the last thing on my mind. It’s easy for us sitting in homes to talk about what we miss doing. We’re fortunate. There are so many out there who are struggling to get meals, and don’t have a roof over their head.

“When things get back to normal, football will happen again. But you have to think about the battle faced by people who will be beginning from scratch. You have to be grateful,” he said.

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