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Staying afloat (and sane) during #StayHomeForSingapore

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As the virus proliferates and our little red dot goes into this one-month “circuit breaker” mode, our world as we know it seems to have completely turned upside down.

In our city, shops and malls are always bustling with life from day till night, our favorite cafes, bars and restaurants are always filled with crowds and our city’s roads are always teeming with never-ending streams of cars. The idea of empty streets and closures seem bizarre and almost unacceptable for us Singaporeans. Our lively, vibrant city has never shuddered to a stop before.

#StayHomeForSingapore

Following the national announcement by PM Lee, circuit breaker measures has been extended from 4th of May until the 1st of June 2020. We’re almost at the halfway mark into this circuit breaker period and many of us are already feeling bored, trapped or frustrated of being “stuck at home”.

But this too, shall pass; here’s our ten tips on how to stay safe, sane and happy:

1. Make your home your oasis.

This is the time when you’ll be home for the longest stretch in history – what better time to look around you and change things for the better? After all, we’d reap the benefits way after all this “social distancing” goes away.

Being at home for a prolonged period would probably also heighten your awareness to things around you that you absolutely love or hate. Spruce up that kitchen space you so love sitting in for morning coffees. A painting for the dining room. Marie Kondo your stuff.

The opportunities for home improvement are boundless. Be warned though: once you go down that rabbit hole, there’s an addiction risk of 99.192803821%.

For me, my idea of a perfect oasis would definitely be a gorgeous coffee counter and comfy spaces to lounge in (with lots of throw pillows please).

2. Have a dedicated work space at home.

Working from home brings with it so much flexibility, but it also brings about distractions. Without a dedicated work space, you’d be all over the place – you’ll probably tire out quickly, too. Having a spot to just focus and grind out work can really help increase productivity at home and help you stay sane.

As you sit down at your work desk to plan your to-do list for the day, it really sends a signal to your brain that it’s time to focus and get to work.

If you have the space, I would 100% recommend setting up a home office. It’s been absolutely a life-saver for us especially during this time, and it helps us separate work and sleep and play so that we can focus on getting things done during the day.

3. Create a new routine.

For many, weekdays have blended into weekends and you can’t quite differentiate anymore. It could lead to feelings of frustrations that days just seem to go on with no end and you can’t stave away the feelings of boredom and deprivation.

We get it, we’ve all been there. But if you’re upset your daily routine has been messed up, why not create a new one?

Set your weekday schedule for rising, for meals and for bedtime. Schedule in time for exercise. Consider what you love and what relaxes you – whether it’s tending to your little houseplant babies, listening to music or sweating it out in some form of exercise – consciously make the effort to factor them in and your sense of well-being would automatically get a boost.

I think we all need a daily ritual for ourselves that we enjoy. With an established routine, we have a sense of normalcy to settle into and we also don’t face so much decision fatigue on a daily basis. I personally feel creating a new daily routine has helped me stay grounded and take ownership of my time. My daily commute time has been slowly replaced by a 10-min yoga or Tabata practice and a refreshing shower every morning. Then, it’s on to brewing a fresh mug of flat white in my kitchen that makes me happy when I start my day. TBH, it’s a pretty amazing way to kickstart a day. What’s yours?

4. Switch up your perspective

I know many of us are accumulating feelings of anxiety and frustration at being cooped up at home. No retail therapy, no movies at the cinema, no girls’ night out and Sangria, no fun dates with your other half… yes, we get it, the list of limitations goes on.

We could go on and whine endlessly about the inconveniences we’re facing, but maybe, we should just be grateful that we’re alive. Like how your loved ones are well, healthy and alive right now – even amidst a pandemic. And that’s really all that matters right now. Those date nights and frivolous pampering stuff that we enjoy? They can wait.

5. Sweat it out to keep those muscles movin’

Whether it’s sweating it out in the living room accompanied by YouTube videos like Tabata or HIIT exercise routines or heading out for fresh air and a jog, it definitely feels great and help upkeep your mental and physical states.

If you haven’t started your home workout game, here’re a few that we love and recommend:

You can also find here the best YouTube workout videos at home to get fit and fab.

Making time to do something that energizes your body can do wonders for your body and soul.

6. Get the full 8 hours of sleep you’ve always dreamed of.

You know the spiel – we need 8 to 9 hours of good sleep every night for good health and well-being. Not getting enough shut-eye can affect our brain’s ability to function well and put us in a foul mood. Overtime, sleep loss can also lead to severe health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and dementia.

Since the only plans we can have right now has to take place at home anyway, it’s easy to schedule a fixed waking and sleeping time. No such thing as OT-ing in office till late for now. Or socializing into the AM with endless rounds of drinks. This down time now can be a good thing to help you catch up on all your lost sleep and slow down a little, to focus on the basics in life that are often what’s important.

That said, it can be challenging if you’re the sort that often suffers from insomnia. In fact, women are more prone to sleep disorders than men, largely due to reproductive hormonal changes associated with menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. [1] Adhering to the same rising and sleeping schedule every day, keeping your room cool before going to bed as well as having a relaxing routine (without your digital devices) can be helpful to coax your body into sleep mode.

7. Know what is going on but don’t obsess.

 Tune in to speeches from our PM, read The Straits Times and the Ministry of Health’s website for real-time updates on the COVID-19 situation. Even sign up for Gov.sg Whatsapp updates for the latest information on what’s going on in Singapore. If you’re overseas right now, you can also subscribe to Gov.sg updates here.

Be updated, but make sure you’re consuming content from reliable sources and not, y’know, a Whatsapp chain message sent by goodness-knows-who. Don’t get anxious and worry obsessively over the specific number of rising covid cases since it won’t be helpful nor healthy for you. Take in trustworthy information in order to act sensibly and take precautions accordingly. We’ve also included a whole list of resources below in this article.

8. Practise self-care at home.

Good self-care and well-being focus on not just your body, but also your mental and emotional health, too. Whether it’s taking a long, hot bath, reading a magazine that you love leisurely for an entire hour or indulging in your 7-step skin care routine, it’s your way to recharge and restore.

The thing is, self-care is not something that will happen unless we intentionally make it happen. But with just a bit of effort and a little bit of self-care sprinkled here and there in your daily routine, you can instantly feel the difference.

But when spa days and pedicure seshs are off the menu, it can take some time to find something else that you can do at home which works for you. Here are 25 ideas of stay home self-care you can start putting into practice right now.

9. Make eating well your priority. That means nutritious, yummy home-cooked meals.

Now that we’re all wfh, hurray for more time to spend more time in the kitchen to whip up wholesome, good-for-you meals at midday – home-made café brunches err’ day, anyone? It doesn’t have to be complicated or time-consuming and brunches are one of the easiest things to make – you really can’t go wrong with a breakfast fry up.

But if you’re the sort that is enthusiastic at the prospect of upping your culinary level, now’s the best time to upgrade to a masterchef in the comforts of your own home.

By the time the circuit breaker ends, you’d have nourished your body like you never would have and become a really good cook. Just in case you’re thinking it, no, cooking instant noodles doesn’t count.

10. Support local food businesses.

Sometimes, helping others is the best way to help yourself. Remember that warm glow of positivity or joy you felt when you did something good for someone? It’s real and as Anne Frank says it, no one has ever been poor by giving.

You may not be able to dine out during the circuit breaker period but you still can help support local F&B establishments by ordering a meal with them. Or you could also buy a gift card at your favorite local F&B store to help tide them over this difficult period. F&B is already notoriously difficult to operate and this circuit breaker period could possibly spell trouble for many of them with killer overhead costs.

Many of our local F&B restaurants offer wholesome meals that are available for delivery islandwide and they’re dishing out discounts, too:

  • Nude Seafood: Their Grandpa’s Promfret Soup, Bouillabaisse Seafood Stew sound amazing. There’s even yam orh ni for dessert available. They’re having 20% off till May 4 and free islandwide delivery for orders above $80. Order at: http://www.nudeseafood.com/delivery
  • Kam Roast: For their signature Roast Duck, Crispy Roast Pork and Toro Char Siew meats. Use the promo code “NEWFEAST” for 20% off orders, islandwide delivery at $5. For every order, they’re also giving away a portion of their Immune Boosting Herbal Soup, FOC! Order at: https://kamsroast.oddle.me/en_SG

If you’re still not sure of what you can and can’t do during this circuit breaker period, check out https://canigo.sg/ – a citizen initiative, it tells you all the things you can or cannot do in Singaporean speak, until the circuit breaker ends on May 4.

Until we can share a pint or two at our favorite bar or huddle in the cinema to catch a movie together, let’s stay home and be safe.

Resources to tide us through this Covid-19 pandemic:

To subscribe to real-time updates on Covid-19 via Gov.sg Whatsapp
Local: go.gov.sg/whatsapp
Overseas: go.gov.sg/whatsapp-overseas

To find a PHPC clinic
www.phpc.gov.sg

To find where to collect mask
www.maskgowhere.gov.sg

To check for Covid-19 symptoms
www.sgcovidcheck.gov.sg

To seek emergency clarifications on Covid-19
Call MOH’s Covid-19 hotline at 1800 333 9999

To help in the nation’s contact tracing efforts
www.tracetogether.gov.sg

To check how crowded parks are before going
safedistparks.nparks.gov.sg

To apply for exemption for circuit breaker period (for business owners)
covid.gobusiness.gov.sg

References:

[1] Nowakowski, S., Meers, J., & Heimbach, E. (2013). Sleep and Women’s Health. Sleep medicine research4(1), 1–22. https://doi.org/10.17241/smr.2013.4.1.1

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