These are dire times. We’ve watched people clear out supermarkets and pharmacy shelves, leaving little to no essentials for the needy. On our screens, we’re consistently inundated with reports of new Coronavirus cases across the world, and countries imposing nationwide lockdowns in a bid to contain the outbreak. Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has just announced the extension of the movement control order (MCO) to 14 April.
Yet for all of the world’s madness, it’s not all doom and gloom with videos surfacing of Italian people singing in solidarity on their balconies, food delivery companies doing their part to assist the elderly and the vulnerable, and Malaysian companies offering generous gestures of free food, services, and ride-sharing vouchers to local healthcare professionals.
It is these crumbs of comfort that have been keeping our spirits afloat, while working from home and social distancing have become the new normal. With this disruption in your routine, the mental health implications are aplenty. Being cooped up at home for extended amounts of time can drive anyone stir-crazy, anxious, and deflated. We recommend the following to help you stay productive and sane.
Such turbulent times will inevitably cause some mental distress, anxiety, and restlessness. Create your own spiritual retreat at home with meditation videos or apps that help you find your inner peace, including Calm, which uses soothing stories and music, and Headspace, that turns your phone into a source of serenity. As a core tenet of meditation, remember to focus on your breathing. As you practise this everyday, you’ll find yourself better able to relax, and stay calm amid the trials and tribulations of the pandemic.
You’ve probably seen the ad for Masterclass numerous times on YouTube, had your interest piqued, and decided to put it off for another time. The truth is, there is no better time than now. The lineup of Masterclass is so star-studded with the biggest players from different industries that you’d be spoilt for choice. You’ll be able to look at your career through a different lens, as you access knowledge gleaned from decades of experience, with instructors such as Anna Wintour teaching you about leadership, and bold decision-making, Dr Jane Goodall on conservation, and Sara Blakely (the founder of Spanx) on self-made entrepreneurship. Renowned chefs Massimo Bottura and Wolfgang Puck even pull up their sleeves to help you refine your cooking skills.
You don’t have to join a physical class to learn a new skill. All the information you want and need, no matter how specific, is at the touch of your fingertips. While sites like Masterclass let you learn skills that elevate your trade and day-to-day career, Skillshare is an online learning platform that feeds into specific needs, including graphic design, languages, business analytics, and photography. Offline, you can keep your hands full with what you’ve been putting off, whether it’s tending to your garden, macramé weaving, or painting.
By now you’ve probably seen the viral videos of locked down Italians exercising on their respective balconies. Take a leaf from their books and kickstart a home fitness routine to keep your body active. The options are plenty on YouTube. A quick search will take you to yoga sessions, mat pilates, 30-minute HIIT classes, and weight training for those with free weights at home. We recommend taking on a daily challenge to track your daily achievements to keep you motivated.
It’s tempting and natural to want to keep up to date with your friends and favourite influencers on social media, but remember that the spread of misinformation is prevalent. Social media is also designed to spark reactions, and looking at the same news reports can only cause further anxiety, anger, or sadness. Be conscious about who you follow and what you want to see on your feed. There’s always the mute or unfollow button.
With you spending so much time at home, there’s no excuse to live in disarray. A clean and organised space helps foster a better mental well-being, and productivity. Be ruthless with sorting your things, throwing out things that’ve gone past their use date, including food, makeup, and medicine. Apply this to your closet too. Prepare a donation pile for whatever doesn’t fit, hasn’t been worn (or will never be), and organise your wardrobe such that everything is accessible, making your day-to-day outfit planning far more efficient. Creating an office space is also paramount if you’re working at home. Go digital when you can, and put everything into place with proper storage.
Redecorating your space is bound to help you look at your home in a new light. It doesn’t even have to be a full-scale job. Simple tricks will suffice, such as rearranging shelves and furniture, turning your living room wall into a focus point with a fresh lick of bold-coloured paint, repurposing wall art. or finally hanging up pieces that you’ve been hoarding.
While we wouldn’t advise you to use this time to binge on your favourite Netflix shows, there’s no harm in making your daily Netflix scheduling a little more social. If you’re ramping up on social distancing and can’t have your gang over, there’s always Netflix Party: a Google chrome extension that lets you remotely watch in synchrony, while chatting. If you’re looking to feed your mind, the streaming platform has many documentaries in store.
If you’re in desperate need of professional help, or a listening ear, there’s no need to leave the house to seek therapy. Apps like Talkspace connects you to a licensed therapist, who will be matched with you according to your needs. You’re able to message them anytime, and anywhere of your choosing. You have all the time and space you need to reflect on your issues, and can choose to respond when you’re ready. You also never have to face scheduling issues or wait for an appointment to open up.
This article first appeared on Prestige Online Singapore