I choose health and gratitude

Saying thank you and making my health a top priority are my toolkit for keeping calm and sane during this coronavirus pandemic.

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Say thanks, and life will be great!
Entertained man clapping with joy.

Singapore joined the ranks of COVID-19 countries in January when we had our first case, and the numbers have been spiking since then, with 6 deaths so far.

Work from home (WFH) has become the default working mode, people are advised to stay home and social distancing has become de rigueur in malls, markets, food courts, supermarket and public transport too.

Churches and other religious services as well as group activities have been cancelled, schools and institutions of higher learning are closed, and many offices and buildings are like ghost towns now as people stay indoors and only leave for essential activities and individual exercise.

At first, I welcomed WFH but the monotonous routine, coupled with the fact that I also have to combine working hours with time to carry out essential errands for my parents who are living with me too, occasionally takes a toll on my mental and emotional state.

But I still keep going, thanks to several wonderful things have come up from unexpected quarters:

Online services

Church services and some concerts are live streamed and online and viewing those helps connect me to my fellow church mates as well as others who are having to stay home and WFH too.

In addition, I can still connect with my cell group and other friends via Zoom and WhatsApp, and that keeps me (and them too!) sane!

Morning walks

Before dawn every day, I put on my walking shoes and take a brisk 8km walk. The cool morning air, lack or people, and quietness enable me to process my thoughts and keep healthy. The walks have also been ways to connect with several people who greet me whenever I am on my walks, and wee greet one another as we walk along.

After my walk, I get some hot black coffee and post a short (1-2 minutes) Facebook video to encourage people and share my thoughts so that everyone can have a dose of positive thinking instead of the daily COVID-19 updates that can put many people down.

Online learning

I keep my mind sharp through online courses on Gnowbe and other online platforms. When I am learning, I build my resilience too because when I am busy learning, I have no time to feel down and out.

Music

I keep my resilience up by always making sure that there is music in the home, be it as background for my work or just for light listening for encouragement and uplifting my mood.

Vegetarian diet

Since Lent began, I have been on a vegetarian diet. Besides the physical health benefits, Eating vegetables has helped me get much-needed mental clarity, physical well-being and I feel so much better emotionally and spiritually. This has really helped boost my resilience.

Gratitude

I will not deny that the current situation in COVID-19 in Singapore is grim but instead of moaning and groaning, I choose to smile and life my head up high. I also choose gratitude by reminding my self to say thank you for every act of service done to me and my family.

I say prayers of gratitude to God for the cleaner surroundings, reduced air pollution, less congested roads, and smiling faces that I come across (I don’t forget to smile back too!).

I thank the cleaners who clean our restrooms and residential space, say thank you to the staff after every purchase transaction and make sure that even the bus drivers and taxi drivers get a thank you from me.

It gives them a high and makes me smile too!

Everyone is going through hard times and it can be easy to get angry or sink into despair. But I choose to play my part to keep my and my family’s spirits up, and hopefully the community spirit up too. I know we will get through this and that keeps me going through all the ups and downs!

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