Navigating Emotions during Pandemic

Stepping into Covid-19 pandemic for more than a year, most of us have found ways to cope and adapt the new norm. However, despite how hard we work on adjusting new routines, our mental health somehow got affected. At times, I feel less motivated, or worse when homesickness hits. I miss travelling, miss exploring new countries, and mostly, I miss my family and friends.

Classes, meetings and social events are moving to virtual platforms. Having digital life is more flexible and convenient at times, but, it can be exhausting and tiresome too. I recalled the days when I was asked to work from home. Yes, I don’t need to wake up at 7am, rushing for work, I thought.

Got disconnected from the world (not meeting people), having gastric (eating irregularly), being less productive (distractions at home), backpains (non-ergonomic sitting), wearing pajamas all day, thinking what to cook for the next meals or expensive food delivery etc. Pretty sum up how I spent my 2 months working from home. Aside being able to wake up 10 minutes before working hours, not commuting for more than an hour to office, I really can’t think of other pros working from home (wfh). Maybe I just need a separate space to work.

Slowly, I began to realize how blessed I am, not required to travel to and fro, having lesser contact with humans. Singapore was having records of more than thousands cases daily back then. Few friends of mine are actually working in healthcare industry, standing on the frontline amid Covid-19 to help others. As compared to them, I am nothing. Things got better eventually. For instance, end of circuit breaker, small groups of gatherings are allowed… And now, people start getting vaccinated.

Acknowledge Emotions

Let’s just admit that global community is suffering due to Covid-19, be it physically or emotionally. Retrenchments, pay cut, not able to return home, anxious about health etc. We have to acknowledge that it is beyond our control, and all we can do is to accept the fact and move on.

Albert Einstein said, “in the midst of every crisis, lies great opportunity.”

Some lost their jobs but started small businesses, hobbies turned side hustles, learning new skills and so. To be honest, I was quite anxious at first. Being an idealist, I like getting everything well planned. There is a lot of uncertainties, and no one can foresee what’s coming as we have never come across pandemic before. We all learn to be more resilient, better crisis management. Like how we work at alternate sites with limited resources under split operations, but we somehow survived and became stronger. We came out with ideas to speed up the processes, shared opinions and knowledge together, mingled with new colleagues at alternate sites etc.

Sometimes, I do feel little overwhelmed in life, which leads to having negative vibes. I try to avoid meeting people as much as possible, as I believe it may affect others too. It is okay to feel bad, anger, sorry or upset. We are all humans, and we have emotions! I work on self recovery by having me time and do some thinking. I listen to music, sing or read books, to make myself feel better before I am ready (to meet people).

Personally, I don’t really like the idea- ranting when I am having issues. I believe everyone has problems in life. Ranting to others, is like throwing mess to others. No one takes responsibility for your emotions, not even your family. This is your own emotional response, and it is not someone else’s fault that you are sensitive to particular behaviors or actions. Well, it may be uneasy, feeling not comfortable in the beginning, but trust me, you will get better eventually.

Reminders, Be Grateful

Despite not able to meet my family and friends, being thousand miles away, our bonds remain strong. We had more video calls. Wrote postcards to my friends from all around the world (though some have gone missing). Reconnected with long lost secondary school friends. Surprise flowers delivery during Mother’s Day and few birthday celebrations. Learnt to cook and create new dishes, I even made desserts! Picked up hobbies again like drawing and painting at home. You will feel abundant when you appreciate little things, simple gestures in life. Happiness does not come from money or material things.

Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation of abundance.

Practicing gratitude and connecting with our loved one gives us strength, motivation and courage to stay both emotionally and physically healthy during uncertain times.

I recalled when my best friend texted me and shared she was very stressed about work. She was having hard times in hospital as she made mistakes. We talked quite a bit, sharing we should be thankful for being able to work, having roof above us, food on the table. Life can be harsh sometimes, but you need to be strong and firm. Count your blessings!

Self Care, Take a Break

Went for few staycations. I love love travelling so much, that I prolly travel to 2 new countries every year. It makes me feel alive to have a short break from work. It is refreshing after spending time in a different space. I spend 24/7 either at home or office. I am an introvert, but I still need to take a break from spaces where I carry out daily routines. I am thankful that my company offers staycation deals. Why are you spending money to stay in hotels when you have somewhere to stay, my mom asked. I need some space to take a breath, I explained. I feel a lot better indeed. It might not be a thing to everyone, but I highly recommend to stay out for few days with your loved ones. It would be a great experience. Explore something you have never done when you stay out. Of course, under safe distancing and cautious measures.

Stayed out alone last week. Yup, alone for the very first time. I was feeling very overwhelmed, had sleepless nights for few days, migraine on and off at work. Had a new haircut before checking into hotel. Sang in the room. Ate dinner while watching variety shows. Had a warm bubble bath while listening to soothing music. Read books and attended few online courses. It was nothing fancy, but I felt way better! I am back to sleeping soundly at night, no more migraine in the office, feeling happier after the staycation. Take it slow to get yourself recovered, before reaching for a new height.

Spend time doing something you enjoy i.e. making handicrafts, reading books, café-hopping etc. We all deserve to do something we love aside working hard. Get some endorphins by working out. Happy hormones they said! I run for few kilometers around neighborhood when I am stressed out. Here I am writing this, to share some experience I had during circuit breaker. Hope it helps in certain ways. I love inspiring people or spreading good vibes with others. I am happy to share some thoughts whenever my friends asked for advices or took considerations on what I said.

I wish all of us better health and all the best. We all deserve a pat on our backs and well done everyone for surviving this pandemic. Life is always challenging, but I believe we can figure out ways! Cheers !

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