As we make our way through the circuit breaker, a mama who’s already been through quarantine shares her top tips for staying positive while we all stay home
With the Singapore ‘circuit breaker’ in full force, we are facing at least
four eight weeks of relative isolation – apart from a quick food dash or some much-needed exercise relief. A scary and daunting prospect for us all compared to our former carefree lives. Whether being stuck in close quarters with family is filling you with excitement or causing you to pour gin onto your breakfast granola, we must all stay as sane and positive as possible to get through it!
Having already spent the first two weeks of March under a strict quarantine order – after sitting near a COVID carrier on a flight from Dubai to Singapore – I understand how hard this is! However, during my QO, I was confined to my bedroom alone, unable to leave for any reason. So, I am actually feeling quite spoiled about having the whole apartment to roam around and being able to take a stroll outside!
So, how can we remain calm and happy, and not emerge as stressed-out, raging alcoholics with curvacious ‘COVID curves’ during this circuit breaker?
Here are my top tips – I’m sure you also have your own to add:
1. Have a routine
This is key! Get up at the same time each day and stay productive. Create a plan that includes work, time with the family, exercise, hobbies etc and stick to it as much as you can.
2. Do exercise every day
Whether morning or evening. We are allowed to leave the house to get fresh air and go for a bike ride or run. However, if you don’t want to go outside or can’t, there are lots of free online options. I have heard of Yoga by Adrienne on YouTube, I signed up for a free trial with Glo. It’s an excellent opportunity to try something new and start some sort of exercise regime if you don’t already have one.
It’s so easy to roll out of bed, leave on your pajamas all day and let personal hygiene go to pot! Make sure you still have your morning/evening shower (or both). It really does make a difference to your energy levels. Even take a long bath (if possible) with candles and music – when was the last time you could do that? Don’t avoid washing your hair – unless you want to test the theory that not cleaning it for weeks self-cleans it (and let me know how that goes, never dared to try it myself!). Also, blow dry it; it makes a big difference in helping you to feel ‘normal’ – and takes up some time. Some days I even went as far of applying a bit of make-up – you never know who might zoom chat with you last minute!
4. Working from home
Create a space for your desk area that is bright and quiet (or as quiet as it can be, especially with kids around). Focus and set yourself goals if you are not used to working from home, it can take time to get used to. For example, once you complete a document, you can spend 15 minutes playing a game with the kids, do a quick face mask or 20 squat jumps etc. (yes, some people see that as a reward!). This may seem crazy but after a while of spending too much time indoors it does affect your concentration levels. Or just take a break and do something to distract yourself before going back to it – you’ll achieve more than merely getting stressed about it.
5. New hobbies
Use this as an excellent opportunity to do something that you don’t usually have time to do. Play that 3-hour game of Monopoly(!), bake yummy treats, cook new recipes, purge the wardrobe, redesign a room or finally do that DIY project. I discovered a love of puzzles, and it was a great distraction. It’s also something you can start and stop at any time and do on your own or with the family. Also, reading: if like me you only get to enjoy it on holiday, this is the perfect time to get lost in that page-turning thriller! This may be the first time in a very long you actually have the opportunity to do it, so take it!
6. Virtual chats
Enjoy having the time to FaceTime and chat with friends and family. Why not do it over a coffee, meal or wine? I had several zoom /houseparty nights with friends – I even washed my hair and got dressed up for them!. Why not jazz it up and add in a fancy dress theme or organise a quiz night? Check out free games on houseparty or options on Xbox that you can play against other friends in other parts of the world at the same time. Chats with family and friends and sharing funny messages and memes on Facebook were one of the main things that got me through, and many from those people I had not connected with in years! We all just have to be more creative about how we communicate with people.
7. Watch Netflix
This is an obvious one, and there seems to be a host of new shows or even old ones that are four series in but you never started watching – now is the time to do it! Also, discover online screenings of West End musicals and concerts, and virtual tours of museums!
8. Keep your sense of humour
This is the most important thing. Yes, terrible things are happening in the world, but that does not mean we can’t laugh. A really good belly laugh does lift the mood and bolster positivity! Being alone in my room, I created silly scenarios, danced to loud music, watched funny videos and joked with friends and those silly times and giggles really lifted my spirits.
We are living in a crazy, surreal world, and we have to be thankful that we are safe and healthy. So, the main thing we all need to do in lockdown is to keep positive, see this as a chance to breathe a little, re-assess our lives and spend time on what’s really important. And of course giggle lots!
Stay safe, stay home and save lives!