Wednesday 15 April 2020

#MCOExtended: Self-Care & Resilience amidst the Covid19 lock down

As the Malaysia's Movement Control Operation (MCO), a more optimistic word than "lock down" which we are so looking forward to end on the 14th April has now been extended for yet another two weeks. At this point it should come as no surprises to many of us as this is a mandatory move to curb new clusters.

I had been looking forward mostly because it meant that people who make daily living could revert to opening their businesses. The good news is while the MCO is still in effect, some small business owners can operate again and several e-commerce sites are now available to assist them. Thumbs up for that!

I was initially feeling really restless having to be trapped in my own rented room but this MCO had presented some opportunities in a way I get to finally do things I always told myself to do. Some of the new things I attempted since the start of the MCO on March 18th includes finally working out, meditation and I learn to sign the alphabets last week!

But then there are some who probably feel stressed up with this whole extension _some of us who have so many roles to play and suddenly there are almost zero time out from each and every roles, it can get suffocating. Others are stressed out due to lesser to no income, some the possibility of losing jobs. Others are simply overwhelmed because we feel powerless by this whole situation. By now you've seen a few guides on how to manage stress and keep our body & mind occupied. These below are my tested & preferred ways to keep a positive mind & healthy body throughout the MCO:-

#1 Move your body!

HIIT, tabata, pilates and yoga are the keywords you are looking for. I find them quite similar to one another and equally effective.

The fitness Youtuber I am following religiously is Emi Wong. Her workout videos are short ranging 10-30 minutes long where she switches up poses every minute _ 45-second of exercise or stretch followed by 15-second rest which meant a you only spend 3.25 minute exercise for every 5-minute workout. And seriously, if it's only 3-minute long, you kinda run out of excuses not to do them!

After just several days doing consistently, I definitely feel stronger physically, my posture better, my body less achy or stiff, I can sleep so much sounder at night and feel happier _ anger has been something of a personal issue on weeks leading up to the lock down. Only recently I realized this is because I had to deal with things that I have no control of but they took up so much of my time & mental space and I didn't have outlets to express my anger so it bottled up. So yes, the kicking and punching with alternate lunges are amazing!

Best of all, I think I loose a few centimeters all over and flabby meats are now replaced with leaner muscles. Loosing weight for me hasn't come easy despite occasional diets and my consistent endurance jogging. Like, why haven't I discovered these workouts sooner?? I also thought signing up for the gym would be the only sure fire way to get results but after this MCO, I may just stick to doing my own workouts at home or in the park.

I challenge you to increase the number of videos and perform more reps in a single day! Start with 1-2 videos (10-20 minutes each) split between day and evening in one day and then increase to 2 videos (30 minutes) continuously in a day and then maybe an hour workout twice or more times a week.  By the way, you don't need to work out every parts of your body every single day! My favorite is the legs workout which I try to do up to five times a week. On alternate days or when I am bored of watching the same video, I will challenge the full body fat burn and abs. You can switch up your routine for variety and to focus on other target body parts.

If you prefer something light, consider yoga. Here's a Youtube my newfound workout buddy has shared with me. I have not attempted because I'm super happy with the results from Emi's videos but one thing I discovered was how similar they are, albeit yoga being more slow & relax but enough to make you sweat apparently.

#2 Meditation

Similar to exercise, it took a lock down for me to discover you would not need to spend a long time meditating. The 1-week meditation challenge a friend shared by the same Youtuber "Yoga with Tim". Since it takes only 5-minutes each day, I am totally in! Though after trying this out, I am actually considering to attempt longer meditation sessions.

#3 Deep Breathing

This was something I came across attending the virtual wellness talk held by my company where one recommendation was deep breathing. I find this is somewhat similar to meditation where you are mindful over your breathing.

Point #2 & #3 are simpler exercises and I do notice how I'm calmer after I do these. However, I attribute my feeling happier as a result from the physical workouts. Seriously do the air punches and kicks, they're so good!

#4 Eating healthy

Probably the worst advice I can give because I cannot cook since working from home meant that I am still occupied with work and without much fridge space (selfish housemates issue) I cannot store fresh groceries. In the first few weeks of MCO, I have no choice but to have instant noodles for most meals because most stalls and kopitiams nearby weren't open until recently.

However, I make sure to incorporate sweet potatoes, chickpeas, eggs and fruits and when I can get wet groceries, some simple, hearty & healthy one-pot meals. I also consume daily multi-vits to boost my immune system besides giving me the sufficient daily dose of nutrients. On top of that, I totally skipped out instant coffee throughout MCO and brew my own black with way-y lesser sugar than what I used to include. Still hate it when my coffee is bitter but mildly bitter is fine and when taken with breakfast of flavored biscuits, it's much acceptable.

For those luckier to be at home and can stock up on fresh ingredients, do have a more wholesome meals. They don't need to be extravagant to be healthy!

#5 Keeping in touch 
with people who matter

Us humans are by nature social animals and I can say we do need them now more than ever. That's a perspective from this introvert. Before MCO, it was easier to want to come back and be by myself after spending my limited energy reserve socializing at work, commuting and be part of the whole rat race. But now that I'm stuck at home and not able to do a lot things, I am restless just being in my room! I now have a bunch of kakis I can connect with to keep me company while we motivate one another to stick to our goals. If it wasn't for this #MCO I wouldn't have reconnected and be in touch with my friends as often so I guess there are some silver lining to this crappy situation.

If I'm already complaining, I can imagine how extroverts are having harder time. But whether you're an introvert, extrovert or ambivert, we all need company. Thank goodness these days we have smartphones and social media for that! There are also mental & psychological support lines if you need listening ears from professionals. Don't shy away from them!

Last but not least, a reminder to stick to a weekday-weekend routine, don't forget to maintain a good personal hygiene, take time to do deep breaths, laugh & be in the present. If you're lucky to be with your family, take this opportunity to spend time with them. Let's all stay safe & healthy! #DudukRumahDiamDiam #LOL

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