5 WAYS TO STAY SANE DURING THE MCO
- March 21, 2020
- Denise Lee
Truth be told, after going through a roller coaster in the second half of 2019, I was ready to face the new year head-on. And as optimistic as I was, I knew that 2020 was going to have its own challenges but I did not expect to have to survive through a pandemic. Covid-19 came out of nowhere and started spreading across the globe at such a rapid speed it’s terrifying. Italy has been on lockdown for weeks and Europe is erupting, while young people in America are “living life because YOLO”. My country, Malaysia, is now under a Movement Control Order (MCO) because the number of cases is increasing at an alarming rate. Yet, we have dumbasses still sitting in coffee shops and driving back to their hometowns, treating this as a holiday. Many don’t understand the severity of the situation and since I’m a worry wort, I am constantly on edge. But we’re not here to talk about my worries today (otherwise I might implode – again).
Working from home has been great so far except the fact that I barely have anyone to talk to (other than my brother) and I feel lethargic most of the time since I’m sitting all day. So since my last update was my birthday over a month ago, I decided that I will spend my free time writing as much as I can as entertainment for me and more nonsense to read for you.
Today I will be sharing 5 things that I’ve been doing to keep myself sane during this time of social distancing.
TAKE A SHOWER IN THE MORNING
Since we all now working from home, it’s really easy to just go from bed to office in 5 minutes. Believe me, the first day of doing that was great because it felt so freeing but when I did it on the second day, I felt really sluggish and grumpy all the way until bedtime. Since then, I’ve been taking a shower the moment I get out of bed and it has helped tremendously. It wakes your body up and mentally prepares you for work. So try as much as possible to maintain the same habits as you would if you had to go to the office. If you don’t usually eat breakfast, like me, then don’t change those habits either. Your body has normalised to certain patterns – sudden changes will send it out of whack. And it doesn’t feel good. So learn from my mistakes and try as much as possible to follow your day-to-day routines. It maintains your sanity too because it feels like a normal day – even though it’s not.
Okay, we can’t get fresh produce as often as we’d like at the moment but the point is to not survive on instant noodles and spam like a broke university student. Once I left university I naturally weaned off instant noodles – but I do enjoy it every once in a while. Let me just say, that it was fine in your late teens and early 20s to eat a ton of these because your metabolism is like a hyperactive monkey but once you hit your mid-20s it all goes to shit and one packet of instant noodles will keep you feeling gross for the next 3 days. So try as much as possible to eat non-processed foods. For lunch on Friday, I had some leftover salad from my homemade burger night with C. And I don’t really like salad all that much but like I said earlier, I’ve been feeling very sluggish. Turns out, it was a good idea because I didn’t feel like a 3-hour nap after.
This is also a good time to be experimental in the kitchen. Personally, I LOVE cooking (I wanted to be a chef at some point in my life) but having a full-time job makes it difficult for me to cook more complicated dishes, especially on weekdays. Being at home the whole day means there is zero time wasted commuting to work which can now be used more productively. Free reign to play around with recipes we have always wanted to try? Yes, please! It’s true that you might not have all the ingredients you need right now but that doesn’t mean you cannot make a wholesome meal for yourself and your loved ones (if you’re stuck together). Besides, it’s not like you can go out on weekends now anyway. There’s so much time so don’t waste it and don’t make excuses!
Never thought I’d see the day where I would be recommending exercise. Other than playing frisbee competitively during university, I barely workout – unless you count shopping as exercise (lol). My friends know that I will only exercise when pressured into doing so. For example, going for Tough Mudder in 2014 to prove a point that I could finish it. Don’t worry, true to who I am, I regretted it the moment they flagged us off. It was the longest 4 hours of my life. I mean, even the runs I’ve been doing with my colleagues over the last few years were completely motivated by peer pressure.
Truth be told, when I found out C was going to teach spin at Aloha, I freaked out a little bit on the inside because I knew that at some point, I would have to try it. I almost died at my first class by falling ON TOP of the bike without realising and I was still pedaling – don’t ask how that happened because I have no idea either. Since then, I have been actively going for rides at Aloha and really enjoy it now. My friends who found out that I go often are shocked. But hey, people change and maybe it’s a matter of finding something that you enjoy. And now that we’re all stuck at home, I’ve had to look for alternatives. So my old friend T-25 has come back to haunt me. Old friend because at one point, we were trying to get everyone in the office to join in but we never quite went past the 3-week mark. It’s just 25 minutes of HIIT and you sweat buckets. Do I like it? No. Will I do it anyway? Yes. In times of desperation, one cannot be picky.
Also, most of the local gyms and coaches are currently doing virtual home workouts, so you can check those out too. Here are some I found:
GROW A PLANT
Fun fact – I am not great with plants and I have no green fingers. By default, plants under my care generally have a very short lifespan (I managed to kill up to a total of 4 cactuses in my lifetime). But since moving into my own place I have been keeping my 6 plant children alive, including my little pot of basil named Happy that C gifted me for Christmas. And since basil plants grow fairly easily, I decided to multiply. Junior is doing quite well albeit the roots are taking some time to grow but hopefully, I’ll have plenty of basil by the end of this to make Thai minced chicken. The contingency plan if we are stuck in a lockdown is to, at some point, grow potatoes on my balcony. My brother thinks it isn’t possible. I say challenge accepted.
LISTEN TO PODCASTS
At the start of this year, I decided that I wanted to be more intentional with my time. So I set monthly goals to accomplish. For the month of March, I had planned to listen to at least 15 podcasts throughout the month. But it’s quite difficult to do so at work because I love taking notes. Since I’m now spending all my time at home, I have the luxury of time to listen to podcasts at night after work. There’s a huge variety to choose from on Spotify but here are some of my favourites so far:
Hope you found this helpful and somewhat entertaining. If you have more fun ideas, pop me a message on Instagram (@themissnise). In the meantime, I’m currently creating more content in the coming few weeks so stay tuned!
And remember, try not to go out if it’s not necessary. We can get through this together!