By Nor Izmawati Mostapar, Vice President, MII Corporate Communications and e-Learning at MII
Since the pandemic outbreak and nationwide quarantines out in place, have you woken up feeling like your life has been turned upside down?
Here are some tips to help get through these unprecedented times, no matter what your age.
1. Create new routines
Establishing daily routines is especially helpful for better time management in our everyday life. With the new quarantined life, we now have to create new routines to factor in kids and home schooling during working hours and within the same allocation of space and time.
To successfully create new routines, we must understand the needs of others and set boundaries. The new setting must be shared and agreed by others in the household. Communication is key, not only amongst your colleagues, now more so amongst your family.
Plan your week ahead. From house chores to work deliverables, make sure you have it all planned out. Save time by preparing early. For example, your family’s three meals a day and snacks in between. Know ahead when it is time to enjoy home-cooked meals and time for take outs. Allocate 30 minutes at night to prepare meals for tomorrow. For those who live alone, connecting with the outside world is a good routine to establish. Whether via computer or telephone, make it a point to reach out to others each day. You can schedule your friendly meetings and videocalls ahead of time too, just as you do for work meeting.
Above all else, a consistent sleep routine is essential. Make sure you get enough sleep. Now that your life is homebound, you can afford an hour’s nap during the day when you feel the need to reenergize.
2. Ask yourself: Are you really hungry?
When humans are under stress, we go into self-soothing strategies. Self-soothing strategies are ways that we calm ourselves down when under stress. Indulging in unhealthy self-soothing strategies will lead to overeating, which creates a temporary calming effect – until the next wave of stress washes over you.
Before opening that refrigerator door again, consider what you might do instead: Call a friend, work on a puzzle, or browse through old photographs. For those who are on restricted diets for health issues such as heart disease or diabetes, these tactics can prevent you from swaying during stressful times.
Do not stock up on unhealthy snack options. Of course, candy, chips, soda are fine but all in moderation. Go for healthier options like dark chocolate, fruits, nuts, yogurt, and cheese. To boost your immune system, increase fluid intake. Drinking plenty of fluids helps keep your body hydrated and flush out toxins. Some of the best choices are water, green tea, and clear soups.
3. Move it!
Exercise is easier said than done. One way to treat exercise as a less burdensome chore is to just not use the word. Instead, think of it as “moving your body so your muscles won’t go stiff”. There are so many ways to accomplish this. Move your body by cleaning your house or do some gardening. Ramp up your favourite tune and dance to it (get your family to join in, so you can laugh at one another and release stress).
Set a certain time in your day for this. Allocate as much time as you can afford but make it a habit.
Those with health conditions such as heart issues or diabetes need to keep moving, too. Do not be too enthusiastic and take on strenuous exercises. Just remember to get your body moving as much as possible, do not turn into a couch potato.
For those who work long hours in front of the laptop, make an effort to look after your back and posture. Stiffness can make your life a bit more unbearable than it already is! In short, avoid damaging your body. It is important to stay active to enhance your well-being and your immune system.
4. Ask for help if you’re struggling, even a little bit
Reach out to others when you feel you need help. Whether family, friends, neighbours or the authorities, it is important to let others know you are in trouble. And get help before the problem gets bigger. When you find solutions to your problems sooner, it will help you mentally and emotionally, to carry on with your daily life.
If you do not live alone, your mental state will affect others around you. If you live alone, you need others to know ow you are doing and what you are feeling. We need each other, especially at times like these.
5. Do what you love
Make the most of your time at home, confined in your personal space. Do what you love to do. If you do not have a hobby, find one! There must be something that you have always wanted to do but never found the time for it. Well, this is your chance.
Learn a new language, write a book, start a diary, read comics, learn to bake, start a sewing project, paint, decorate and binge on F.R.I.E.N.D.S – whatever it is, if it makes you happy, if it lightens your mood and makes you smile, just do it!
A day will come when you will look back at this phase in your life and actually miss being quarantined!