Fellow Malaysians, we hear you. Staying at home for a longer period than you were used to is hard. All of a sudden, your whole world shrinks to just a small box (i.e. your home), your daily routine was disrupted, the petty argument between you and your family members intensified (we know you still love them, but everyone needs boundaries), and the list goes on and on.
The Movement Control Order (MCO) implemented by the government aims to “force start” a more stringent social distancing between Malaysians to control the spread of COVID-19 and flatten the curve. Whether you like it or not, we can all agree that a 14-day MCO is better than a COVID-19 catastrophe in Malaysia, hence there is no reason for you to not complying to the order.
Image credit: Smithsonian Magazine
Nevertheless, the abrupt changes MCO brought to your life can be detrimental to your physical and mental health if you are not paying attention to your body needs. Here are 5 things that you can do to stay healthy (sane) during the MCO:
Stay connected virtually
As gatherings are prohibited during the MCO, you’re not supposed to hanging out with your friends and family members. Many people even forced to stay away from their home town because interstate and international travels are discouraged during MCO. Not to mention the patient under investigations and potential first and second-generation contacts of COVID-19 patients. As a result, many ended up in intense loneliness and social isolation, which can be harmful to their mental health and even increase the risk of heart disease if prolonged loneliness is experienced.
However, this does not have to be the case. Make an active effort to engage your friends and family members virtually! Arrange a phone or video call via Google Hangout, WhatsApp or Zoom (for the large virtual meeting). Technology truly brings people together in times like this.
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Cook or order nutritious meals
You may have seen many online memes about how you can switch different flavours of IndoMie every day during MCO. Please don’t do that. Occasional indulgence with junk food is fine and therapeutic, but eating it every day can wreak havoc on your health: increase blood pressure, speed up ageing or increase risk of cancer -- just to name a few.
Instead, make your own meals, and make sure they have enough amount of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats. Otherwise, you can also order food online but stay away from fast food as much as possible. Reduce the intake of sugary drinks, and make sure you take adequate vitamins through fruits and vegetables or supplements. You may read more about healthy diets here.
You may also cultivate healthy eating habits, including eating just enough amount of food (70% full) to avoid overeating, avoid eating too often and eat your last meal of the day about 3-4 hours before you go to bed.
Image credit: Nautilus Diner
3. Stay active
Especially for those who work from home, sitting in a fixed position for too long can hurt your back and increase the risk of embolism. Thus, you’re encouraged to stay active even though you cannot hit the gym due to MCO. With the wide availability of free workout videos on the Internet, you can do whatever pilates or yoga you feel like, as long as you dedicate yourself to stay active and be disciplined. Read here for some home-based exercises provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
Image credit: self.com
See that book you on the shelf that you bought 3 years ago? Pick it up, dust it off, and start reading. You used to be so busy with work that you have abandoned this wonderful habit, so now it’s a good time to pick it up again.
Also, reading does not limit to reading books only. You may read an article on Medium.com, or subscribe to online newspapers such as The Economist, Times, or whatever it is that sparks your interest.
Image credit: Entrepreneur
Do something meaningful
Although you may not be able to be in the frontline fighting against COVID-19, with a computer and internet access, you have tremendous power to bring positive impact for the world. For instance, you may sign up for an online course to learn a new skill or a topic, so that you can apply it to your career or helping others in the future. WHO even sets up online courses specifically for COVID-19 related topics. If you’re into coding, you may take this opportunity to learn it here.
Wanted to volunteer for a good cause without going out from your home? Sign up to be an online volunteer for the United Nations. If you’re a doctor, healthcare professional, medical or pharmacy graduates and would like to fight alongside with us during the COVID-19 outbreak, sign up to be part of our COVID-19 Task Force!
As of the writing of this article, the total tally of COVID-19 cases in Malaysia has soared to 1306 cases and 10 deaths. The healthcare professionals are staying at work for us, let us stay at home for them. Let’s hope that by the end of March when the MCO ceased, we can start to see a decline in COVID-19 cases in Malaysia.
Cover image credit: Al Jazeera
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