The COVID-19 pandemic has caused Malaysians to practice public health actions such as social distancing, self-isolation and always maintaining good personal hygiene. These trying times can make people feel isolated, and lonely and can cause an increase in stress and anxiety for most people, even if they’re physically healthy and at low risk for COVID-19 complications.
If COVID-19 has affected your job and you’re newly out of work or you’re transitioning to working from home for the first time, it can be disorienting to spend too much time at home alone or in close proximity to family members whose schedules and resources vary from your own. Especially if you’re an extrovert who normally has a busy social calendar, it can be detrimental to your mental health and well-being to be forced to stay home for weeks (or months!).
Stress during COVID-19
Aside from that, stress during an outbreak can sometimes cause the following:
- Fear and worry about your own health and your loved ones’ health, your financial condition or employment, or the lack of support services on which you depend.
- Poor sleeping or eating patterns.
- Worsening of mental health conditions.
- Increased use of tobacco, and/or alcohol and other substances.
It is important to safeguard your mental health and find ways to unwind and have fun! Here are five ideas about how to invest in self-care, reduce stress, and a few healthy indulgences during the COVID-19 crisis, without harming your budget.
Because some of the best things in life are free!
Pamper yourself at home
Getting some pampering helps to deal with stressful times. Although barber shops, spas, and hair salons are open in Malaysia, you can still enjoy the feeling of relaxation and self-care you would usually get from a massage, a haircut or a day spa, in the comfort of your own home!
You could pamper yourself at home by:
- Experimenting with a new hair colour with an at-home hair dye kit
- Trying on some new makeup styles, skin care treatments or other personal care products and applying them yourself at home
- Take a relaxing spa-style bath in your own home, complete with candles and lighting. Tip: Use Epsom salt in your bath to soothe sore muscles and reduce swelling.
- Have a dessert with your spouse or roommate whilst watching your favourite tv show
Indulgence doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. Give yourself permission to unwind, use your imagination and enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures.
Going out for a jog, doing yoga or doing some exercise will help you to increase your energy levels. Additionally, physical activities can provide you with plenty of benefits such as making you feel happier, helping you burn off those late-night snacks, helping with the quality of your sleep, and even reduce your chances of getting chronic diseases and building strong bones and muscles.
The bottom line is, that treating yourself by doing any exercise is actually good to help you to maintain a healthy body inside and out.
Check out this link to see ideas for exercises and dances while staying at home.
Stay connected – call your loved ones
Even if a large gathering is off the table, there’s always a way to try to stay in touch with your family members or a long-lost friend or someone you speak to every day but don’t ever set time aside to really have a conversation. Whether it is through WhatsApp, FaceTime, or a good old-fashioned phone call, 30 minutes will feel like a gift for both of you. Ask them how they’re feeling and share your own experience if you feel safe to do so. Plus, your friend or family member will love to hear from you!
Do Something Creative
It is imperative to stay indoors during this pandemic but it doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time! Do you love to paint? Or write? Whatever you like to do but don’t often “have time for” should become an activity you do when you need a reward.
It can be really good to let loose and do something super creative. Stop browsing social media 24/7 and use this time to leave your comfort zone and get creative!
You could get creative at home by:
- Channelling your inner interior designer. Spruce up your room with some new decors or change the placement of the furniture. Tips: Choose the right plants for an optimal night’s sleep. Plants like orchids, succulents, and snake plants are excellent for the bedroom as they emit oxygen at night.
- Learn a new skill on YouTube. Take this opportunity to devote your time to valuable skill-building, such as learning to speak a new language, video editing, or digital marketing.
- Have a crafternoon – the possibilities to learn DIY projects are endless! From making jewellery to terrarium planting to makeup organizers.
Declutter and organize
Spring cleaning doesn’t sound like fun, but there is nothing like a freshly cleaned home – particularly since you’re spending a little more time at home than usual. Spring cleaning is a good way to reduce stress and anxiety and it will bring you a much-needed feeling of peace. The most difficult part of spring cleaning is getting started and most people will get overwhelmed by the amount of work they need to do.
Here are some of the things you can do to achieve that mess-free life.
- Toss out expired makeup. All beauty products, including lotions, eyeliners, soaps, and many more, will expire after any time from 3 months to a few years, based on product and usage. Spring cleaning is not just about making sure everything is spotless but it is also the perfect opportunity to find new solutions for your storage. Invest (or create) in a new makeup organizer to help you stay tidy.
- Clean out pantry items. There are plenty of pantry staples that last on end for years, but some need to be replaced regularly, such as canned goods and spices. Do a pass through your pantry and throw out everything that has expired. Make a mental note to use something with looming expiry dates.
- Declutter your wardrobe. Start to segregate your clothing items into these categories “keep”, “donate” and “discard”. Donate your items to other people who need them just make sure they’re in good shape. Only discard items that are far too broken and can’t be given to anyone.
Don’t forget to wear a face mask, wash your hands and practise social distancing!