It has been over a year since Singapore entered its “Circuit Breaker” - the period that quite literally brought our lives to a standstill. Since then, we’ve had to figure out an entirely new way to live. Fundamental shifts were made - with distancing, masks, and hybrid arrangements become part and parcel of our lives.
We have made progress through the months. New changes slowly eased into a routine, and requirements that were uncomfortable at first gradually turned into a habit. And now, with vaccines getting rolled out around the world, it does feel like we’re inching closer to the finish line.
But more than a year on, how are we feeling, mentally?
The psychological and emotional impact of the global pandemic has been often reported over the year. Fatigue, anxiety, irritability - these are all feelings we may have experienced at some point, be it in our work, personal or social lives.
On the other hand, we may also have found more time to slow down, be more mindful, and reflect. Whether it’s checking in with our loved ones more regularly, or finding new activities and hobbies that we enjoy, these are positive developments that can carry with us well beyond the pandemic.
There isn’t a perfect answer to this question. But it’s an important one for a quick mental health check and to see how far you’ve come over the past year.
Whether you’re a stay-home mum grappling with ever-changing shifts in your children’s school routines, or a working professional juggling between work-from-home and going back to the office, take a moment to ask yourself: How do you feel, compared to a year ago?
Skip the “I’m fine”
If you’re having more pent-up feelings than you’re letting out, don’t just say you’re fine. Take this time to be honest with your emotions and experiences, and how they have affected you over the past year. What has been nagging on your mind? What would be helpful to think and talk through?
That said, we should also be gentle with ourselves and allow the space for a range of emotions, even if they don’t make us feel good to admit.
Confide in someone you trust
Oftentimes, we underestimate the power of true, human connection. On days when you feel alone, having someone else you can trust and confide in will help you to feel heaps better. By sharing your feelings openly with them, you’re also giving them the chance to return the favor.
Just as you find comfort in your confidant, the act of providing comfort to someone else - by offering a listening ear - can also turn your day around.
Whether it’s a phone call or a simple text, we have the power to let someone know that we have them in our minds, giving them a sounding board if they, too, are having a moment of exhaustion.
Take breaks (or naps)
The reports and surveys of longer working hours are not unfounded. When the boundaries between work and home are blurred for such a prolonged period of time, it can definitely take a toll on our mental and physical health.
If sleeping is not at the top of your to-do list, it’s time to move it up. Rest is a vital part of our daily lives, and one that we neglect all too often. Something as simple as a power nap can instantly make the rest of your workday more manageable and less exhausting.
Make it a priority to get a good night’s sleep every night. While it may be easier said than done, try adopting healthy sleep habits like setting a consistent sleep schedule and using your bed solely for sleep (so no more laptops and phones!). These are small, but vital, steps towards better mental and physical health.
If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that our health is an absolute priority. Simple steps to take better care of ourselves can go a long way - whether it’s doing a self check-in every now and then, taking time to do things that we enjoy (psst if you're looking for some housecall self-care beauty, check out our sister company The First Refresh), or spending time to connect with our loved ones.
Remember: when the going gets tough, the tough get stronger by lifting one another up.