With the COVID-19 outbreak rapidly worsening, life as we know it has come to a halt in many areas of the globe. Here in the region in particular, in an attempt to contain the virus, Malaysia is now under a two-week lockdown, while the Philippines' largest and most populous island, Luzon, was placed in a so-called "community quarantine". Regardless of whether tested positive for the virus or not, everyone is encouraged to do stay at home and do social distancing. This way, we prevent spread of the disease, or in the unfortunate case that we've already gotten it, we don't pass it along to others.
These realities we're facing are truly stressful for us all. So if you're one of the few who are privileged enough to spend time at home without worrying about work, it's important that you prioritise self-care. Take this time for your much-needed break. Perhaps, being on top of your own routine will give you a sense of comfort. So ahead, we list down self-care and social distancing tips so you can care for your mind and body.
Meditate to ease your anxiety
We're lacking control of what's going on around us, so it's exactly why we should turn our focus on calming ourselves. After all, panicking and fearing for the worst will do nothing to help the outbreak. While you're stuck at home, develop a daily meditation practice. According to clinical psychologist Laura Maciuika in an interview with Psychology Today, aside from doing mini-meditations wright when stress hits, it would also help if you do it right when you wake up to set your mood for the day. If thoughts are overwhelming, just slowly breath in and out. Apps like Headspace and Calm are readily available for download in case you need help clearing your mind. Meditating will stabilise your mood so you can face the uncertainties with rationality.
Reset your body clock
Due to our hectic lifestyles, it's common for most of us to suffer from sleep deprivation. So now that we're afforded a break, perhaps it's time we overhaul our problematic nighttime habits and get optimal sleep once and for all. If you're one of the few who no longer have to go to work for the meantime, it can be tempting to just sleep in and stay in bed well until noon. But to adjust your body clock, it's important to keep a routine. Set a time for waking and sleeping and follow it strictly. Moreover, avoid doing anything else aside from sleeping on your beds. This consistency teaches your body when's the right time to sleep, therefore reducing the times when you're anxiously tossing and turning late at night.
Release stresses from your body
Yes, you're stuck at home, but it's not an excuse to not stay active. While you can't go to your gym, you can still sweat it out with the help of workout apps like PEAR and Nike Training Club. There are also countless YouTube channels to help you be on top of your fitness goals. According to Harvard Health, regular exercise helps reduce your body's stress hormones so you're left with relaxation and optimism all-day-long. And if you find your stresses manifest themselves in muscle tension, there's no need to worry! Try out the self-myofascial release, a form of self-massage to increase blood flow in your muscles. Usually, a physical therapist's expertise would be enough to perfectly and more effectively perform the procedure and relieve pain. But for minimal upkeep during social distancing, you can do it at home by using tools like foam rollers, tennis balls, or even screwdriver handles to apply pressure to muscle areas that feel sore and knotted.
Bond with your pets
These days, it seems like we've only been receiving terrible news after terrible news. But you'll be happy to know that there haven't been any confirmed reports of household pets contacting the COVID-19 yet. So as long as you're not ill, make use of the opportunity bond. Play with them or teach them some neat tricks. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America says the companionship, love, and affection from your fur-babies alleviate stress, anxiety, and loneliness — all of which we're bound to feel in this situation.
Last but not the least, give yourself some tough love and get onto working for a better self. Do it bit by bit, starting with organising. First, you can start a journal where you can jot down your thoughts, responsibilities, and tasks. If you feel like your house is a mess, make practical use of the time and start clearing out clutter. Figuring where you're at right now helps determine what you really need to do in order to be a better you. And this way, you can plan your next step in life and confidently face the world once the pandemic subsides and you're brought back to the usual routine.