Hi Everyone! How are you all doing in your part of the world?
We are battling an invisible villain that has forced us to take shelter in our homes and having the frontliners go to war daily to fight the unforeseen foe. Most of our days now are spent at home. No more malling, no more meet-ups, no more travels, no more parties. In spite of the chaotic and scary world out there, we can’t help but noticed that that our days now are much slower, more quieter and more calmer (in a way). We are asked to stay at home, do social distancing and avoiding social gatherings & crowded areas as the best measures to fight this pandemic.
We don’t get enough opportunity for a “pause” like this in our marathon kind-of life before. Because of this quarantine period, there are people are inspired to: start a new hobby, start a skin care routine, work out , do some studying, do some cleaning and many productive activities. Though there are some people who objects to this call for productivity in this time of pandemic, namely the famous author of Harry Potter books, J.K. Rowley who condemns ‘life coaches’ pressuring people to be productive during lockdown. Some people scolds others for making people feel bad for not making most of your time this quarantine period because we are going through an overall traumatic experience. No one should be guilt-trip on how they cope with it, they said. But people approach circumstances differently. I am one of those people who loves systems, productivity and to-do lists. I feel a rush of sheer ecstasy when I tick a box of my to-do list for the day. I realised a few years ago that my level of productivity affects my mental and emotional well-being greatly. When I accomplished a few tasks during the day like cleaning my room, posting a blog post, studied 2 chapters on the Family Medicine Textbook or did my pampering session, I feel great throughout the day. I know I would feel bad if I didn’t take advantage of this opportunity and finding a bright side to this gloomy situation that we all are in. Don’t get me wrong, I also love to lounge around, relax and do nothing for hours. Sometimes I would binge-watch on my favorite Netflix series for hours, sleep-in or get lost in the latest book I am reading. But knowing myself, I prefer to give myself a time frame for my lounging around because I can be guilty of just doing that all day. In turn, I would feel bad and the vicious cycle continues. I feel better if I have adequate accomplished tasks as well as a balanced amount of rest periods as well. As much I don’t want to pressure other people for being productive in these time, I don’t want to be scolded and guilted for grabbing this opportunity to improve my well-being. To each their own. Different folks, different strokes.
So if you are like me who are loves to productivity and wellness, I think this enhanced community quarantine period (or lockdown) is the best time to try some Self-Care Wellness Activities.
I am not much of a fun of exercise like most people. But it is a known fact that exercise release endorphins a.k.a. happy hormones. It boost the mood and prevent the blues. Plus the best outcome of exercise is shedding the unwanted pounds, making us achieve our goal bodies and feeling great in the process. So I try to do some exercise at least 30mins 3x a day. Sometimes even just a short 7 minutes exercise would do fine too. Here are few ways to improve our physical well-being:
- Yoga – This is one of my favorite. I prefer isometric exercises rather than super strenuous long exercise routine. I use Asana Rebel app to do my yoga exercises. They have short 4-5 minute routines and longer 23-26 minutes ones.
- Aerobics – I love aerobics too. Don’t laugh at me but I often do the 1980’s Jane Fonda Lean Routine exercise which you can do for 15 minutes or 40 minutes or 60 minutes using HIIT even before it was a trend. I been doing this exercise even while I was still in Medical School.
- HIIT or Tabata – High-intensity interval training is a cardiovascular exercise strategy alternating short periods of intense aerobic exercise with less intense recovery periods. While Tabata is completed in 4-minute increments at a higher intensity than other HIIT exercises. Asana Rebel have Power HIIT Workout Collection. You can also try Popsugar app. They have free workout videos with HIIT or Tabata. You can also download an app for Tabata that just counts your exercises and rest time while you do your favorite exercise routine. You can also download the 7M Workout by Johnson’s & Johnson’s. The great thing about these exercises is that they may be intense but they are super fast.
- Dancing – Crank up your upbeat pop playlists and dance like no one is watching for 15-30 minutes. It is fun. It has no rules, you are just freestyling. You are having a great time while breaking a sweat.
- Walking around the house or up & down the stairs – Just move. This will still give you the cardio activity that you need for the day. If you have treadmill or stationary bike at home, use it.
I noticed when I eat a lot of processed or junk food, order a lot fast food take outs, jug down softdrinks and lots of sweet carbo-laden desserts, I would feel so sluggish and bloated. I would have splitting headaches and I don’t feel my best self. I also noted in myself that I don’t feel great when I consume a lot of meat and I would have pimples when I been eating a lot of dairy. I feel more energetic and lighter when I eat more whole-food plant-based meals. Here are a few tips to improve nutritional well-being:
- Avoid overly processed and junk foods. Try to eat clean as much as possible.
- Drink around 8 glasses of water (at least 3.7 L for men and 2.7 L for women). Avoid drinking softdrinks and artificial juices.
- Increase intake of vegetables and fruits
- Lessen intake of dairy and fatty meat
- Replace simple carbohydrates with complex carbohydrates and white carbs to brown carbs, like instead of white rice, choose quinoa, brown rice or couscous; instead of white bread, choose brown bread, sprouted, whole grain bread.
- Try intermittent fasting. The best type of IF to start is 16:8. That is a eating window of 8 hours and 16 hours of fasting.
- Make sure to eat less at night and preferably at least 4 hrs before sleeping.
- Plan your weekly meals or meal prep so you don’t revert to eating the convenient unhealthy choice.
Staying in means less exposure to the sun, allowing our face to breathe from cosmetics and opportunity to be hidden from the public for downtimes from chemical peels. Here are few things that we can do to improve our skincare:
- Drink and eat skin-boosting drinks & foods like green tea, celery juices, avocados, sweet potatoes and salmon.
- Add in Korean serums in your beauty regimen
- Exfoliate your skin every other day or at least 3x a week with Alpha Hydroxy Acid or Beta Hydroxy Acid Solutions. My favorite is the Paula Choice 2% BHA Skin Perfecting Solution.
- Use Korean Face Sheets at least 2x a week
- If you don’t have sensitive skin, try face scrub like Skinfood Black Sugar Face Scrub 1-2x a week. Don’t overdo it.
- Don’t wear makeup at home. Let your skin breathe. Instead lather with your favorite moisturiser or facial oil and put on your sunscreen.
- Try facial massager tools like jade roller or Refa or your trusty fingers can do the trick
- Use silk pillows and sleep prone to avoid wrinkles.
MENTAL / EMOTIONAL WELL-BEING
I believe mental health is so important. It is one of most overlooked aspect of our wellbeing. We neglect and ignore it until we feel disconnected and out of touch with ourselves and our surroundings. Here are some tips to strengthen our mental / emotional well-being:
- Carve time to do a hobby that you have been neglecting because you don’t have the time or time to start a new one
- Just because you are social-distancing doesn’t mean we should be emotional distant, so connect with your family, loved-ones and friends constantly. Create groupchats with your families and different cliques. Give updates on what has been going on in each others’ lives.
- Practice mindfulness and being present & aware.
- Do some journaling and make a gratitude list by the end of the day.
- Spare some time, at least 1 hour per day, to study to improve your knowledge in your current profession or a new profession you are hoping to shift into or your side hustle. Take some online courses if you want.
- Build morning and evening rituals to establish a calming predictable norm.
- Practice good sleep hygiene by having at least 7-9 hours of sleep daily with 15-30minutes naps during the day.
- Stay home doesn’t mean indoor all the time. Wear sunblock, go outside your backyard or lawn and bask under the sun for a few minutes for some needed Vitamin D that will do good for your moods
- Take time to answer these questions:
- Have you taken a deeper look into yourself, if there are anythings you want to improve or change for the better?
- Have you taken necessary steps to be the person you envisioned to be?
- Have you checked your 5 year goals & plans and strategies on steps you haven’t achieved yet?
Another neglected aspect of our wellbeing is our spirituality. Whatever our religion may be, every person has this need for connection to something greater than themselves and having set of values, principles & morals that provide a sense of purpose & values that will guide their actions in life. Here are some spiritual wellness activities you can do:
- Do some personal reflection and write it down in a notebook. Find your life’s purpose and meaning in life. Jot down what are your core values you truly believe in.
- Practice meditation. Try different meditation apps like Headspace, Calm or Simple Habit. If you want a more Christian-centered meditation, you can try apps like Abide or Soultime. For me, I allot 15 minutes in the morning to read the morning scriptures in my Laudate app then reflecting in the verses of the bible reading that struck me. I would converse with God or have minutes of silence to hear God’s voice in my heart and end it with a prayer.
- Do good works or acts of volunteerism during this pandemic. You can do it at home by contributing your talents like sewing cloth masks or give free lessons of whatever you are good at online. You can create food packs or have feeding programs and donate to those who need it or frontliners. You can raise funds to aid in the needs of the community that has been affected by the pandemic.
- Strengthen your prayerlife and relationship with God. If you are a Catholic, do your Sunday mass celebration online.
- Read the Bible or other religious/spiritual books.
These tips may be too overwhelming but this is just a guide. You can choose to pick one or two tips in each category or concentrate on only one tip to master and consistently do throughout the quarantine period. We make do of the things we can do in this time of crisis and look at the silver lining in circumstances like this.
All the best to us!