All hope is not lost — mix it up and stay sane

Amid the groaning and lamenting the MCO extension, we thought we’d put together some things people can do at home

by LYDIA NATHAN

IN THIS novel time of the coronavirus pandemic that’s wrecking havoc globally, it is pertinent to practise social distancing and stay put at home.

While some of us may be rejoicing — for being able to stay in our pj’s all day long — the rest may probably need help reframing the current situation the world is in.

The Movement Control Order (MCO) that has been initiated since March 18 seems to have taken a toll on many as people struggle to behave and adhere to the government’s instructions.

Like it or not, it had to be done, as part of the aim to halt unnecessary movements and outings to stop the spread of this virus which we now know is airborne.

Despite that, social media platforms have been inundated with photos and videos of people obstinately defying the order, which led to the prime minister’s (PM) announcement that the government will handle this in a more serious manner moving forward.

On March 25, the PM announced that the MCO is extended until April 14 as the number of Covid-19 positive cases has been increasing.

Amid the groaning and lamenting the MCO extension, we thought we’d put together some things people can do at home, to curb the boredom and keep the mind sane while staying indoors.

Workout Inspiration

Gym-goers and health freaks may feel life is over without regular workouts at the gym, and with stricter regulations against jogging in public parks, many have turned to simple exercises to do at home for the time being.

It is important to note that fitness here, can not only help with staying active, but is also an important coping mechanism for a well-balanced mental health. Exercise can also provide some sense of normalcy in stressful times like this.

Looking at fitness apps, streaming services and online resources, there are tons of information and guidelines on what to do and where, but it is also important to choose workouts that you can enjoy and improvise on.

It is scientifically proven that being stationary for long periods of time can cause some major health risk like muscle weakness, obesity and a slower metabolism altogether.

There is also biological reasoning behind the state of one’s mental health, a reduction in movement means lesser blood flow which also translates to lower feel-good hormones moving through the body.

Being stuck at home means most people are able to turn to social media and fitness influencers for motivation, inspirations and workouts to follow.

Take for example, fitness guru and model Nana Al-Haleq who has been documenting home workout videos since the MCO came into force.

Targeting different areas of the body, she incorporates exercises that anyone can do, from beginners and intermediates.

For the MCO period, Soh (centre) selected videos and put together a 21-day full-length home workout playlist on her Youtube channel, promising a fun and interactive session – Source: Youtube

Another local fitness coach to look out for is Joanna Soh, who is also the creator of Fio App, which has daily workout classes, nutrition plans and informational tips.

For the MCO period, Soh selected videos and put together a 21-day full-length home workout playlist on her Youtube channel, promising a fun and interactive session that incorporates strength training, kickboxing, barre and much more.

For yoga lovers, there are definitely so many celebrity gurus to pick from, but one in particular has been making waves across yoga studios in the Klang Valley.

Known as just Charmaine or “Kuih Kapit”, she is not just an enthusiastic yoga teacher, but also an advocate of awareness of eating disorders. Having experienced anorexia and bulimia, Charmaine has developed a healthy relationship between food and fitness. She now shares tips on how to support a loved one experiencing these issues.

Her Instagram is full of how-to videos for beginners or experts to follow along.

Quarantine or Not, You Can Still Eat

Initially, restaurants were allowed to do takeaways or have food delivery services. Nonetheless, this is a very good time to explore different cuisines or those recipes that you’ve always wanted to try out but never had the time to do.

In addition to supermarkets and specialty grocery stores that deliver online purchases, there’s a whole barrage of recipes that you can find online or videos to follow on Instagram.

Low regularly posts videos of 20-minute dinners, as well as tips and tricks for beginners – Source: Rasa Malaysia

One particular account that could get you inspired is Rasa Malaysia, founded by Low Bee Yinn. While studying in the US, she constantly craved for home-cooked food with Malaysian flavours and after much trial and error in the kitchen, she started a food blog in 2006. Today, Low has almost four million followers on Instagram.

Her website features recipes that do not squander on taste or flavour, while keeping it simple, utilising everyday ingredients. She also regularly posts videos of 20-minute dinners, as well as tips and tricks for beginners.

For the more adventurous, trying out a completely new lifestyle might be something to opt for during this period — like a raw vegan diet.

Local raw vegan celebrity chef, Chef Yin, has written two books, while running her own cooking show. She has also conducted countless workshops and is definitely one to look out for.

Her creations are not only aesthetically pleasing to the eye, but also packed with nutrition. And yes, there are plenty of delicious, cruelty-free options for desserts too.

Some Animal Therapy

The ever-acclaimed mood-boosting power of pets has been scientifically explored all over the world, with the conclusion that yes, it is indeed good.

In fact, it is very good for humans especially in situations like right now, as animals are able to help relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression, stress and even reduce blood pressure.

In saying that, what can be better than fostering or adopting an animal from a shelter or a rescue group?

Voice For Paws president Brevina Balasundran said this could be the perfect time to adopt or help foster a stray.

“We do not have a shelter, as we all have full-time jobs. So, one of the hardest things we have to do each week is to bring our rescues home or put them in boarding places, which can also be very costly.

“With people working from home, this could be a great time to adopt or help us with fostering if possible,” she said.

Brevina said the fostering process is very simple. A person can get in touch with the group and choose a dog or cat to foster.

“These animals have been abused or abandoned, and more often than not, we find what changes them is not food or water, but the love and attention a person gives them.

“It is heartwarming to see them break out of their frightened shell and learn to trust people again. Likewise, with adopting, the single biggest challenge we see is people not having time.

“During this period, people will have plenty of time to train their new pets as well as bond with them. So, do think of showing these rescues some love while you can, not to mention the immense joy of having one at home can bring you,” she added.

Brevina said at this time, many shelter or rescue group will be looking for help in any form and can be contactable through social media.

Organised and Clean

For those who religiously follow the Marie Kondo movement, the phrase “spark joy” has become so much more than just a tagline. It is now more like a lifestyle.

Some may say that cleaning would be the last thing on their minds, but studies have shown that cleaning can actually be very therapeutic.

Organising a messy drawer or folding clothes that have been sitting in a basket for ages would allow a person to recapture a sense of control, which can be crucial for some during this time.

Business owner Ng Yee Won told The Malaysian Reserve that she becomes very mindful when she cleans and declutters.

“It doesn’t have to be a large-scale cleanup, even the small ones help with stress levels. There’s something powerful about staying organised and walking into a clean house that is hugely beneficial,” Ng said.

The Lure of Social Media

Know what the most fascinating thing about social media right now.

The floods of status updates and lifestyle picturesque Instagram stories have actually run cold, because no one is out right now and if they are, well, then they should not be.

Beyond sharing screenshots of Facetime conversations and lazing pets at home, people actually have had to turn raw without the glitter and glam of holiday destinations and yacht parties.

One thing that has been prevalent in Malaysia is the hugely funny and artistic creations of memes that allow worry and anxiety to give way to a smile or laughter.

Being mindful of those who have lost their lives due to this insane virus of course, and being grateful to the medical personnel that are sacrificing everything to fight this off, social media has allowed people to kill time and bring on some humour.

For instance, on March 22, a notification asking people to show gratitude to our medical staff and essential workers using the power of sound was circulating on both Facebook and Instagram At 8.30pm, it called for people to stand by their doors or balconies and cheer these unsung heroes on.

“It was beautiful to see people all come out from their apartments, turn the lights on, and cheer and clap for those at the frontline, it’s a simple yet meaningful way of thanking them,” said resident of Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Elizabeth Lim.

So, here is what we can do for the time being — spread the love and inspire others during these difficult times. We never know who we are helping with a simple phone call or hello.