Being in a lockdown is tough. The challenge gets multiplied when you are confined in a 108sqm apartment with two crazily energetic preschoolers who get up at the crack of dawn while having to still manage deadlines, meals and cleaning. So it hasn’t been the prettiest of days, to put it mildly.
Now three out of eight weeks into Singapore’s lockdown (or what the government calls a “circuit breaker”), it is clear that the children are dealing with movement restriction a lot better than the adults are. Perhaps they’re just happy to be able to spend 24/7 with their parents instead of going to school. Our boys didn’t even ask to head out – they know the playgrounds are out of bounds – so we had to take them on occasional walks to get takeaway meals and stretch their legs.
For me, who’s used to working (productively) in silence and having time to myself on weekdays, it’s been quite the adjustment to having less (zero) personal space. I do say this bashfully as it is with acute awareness that we are lucky to have a comfortable home and sufficient resources to ride out this Covid-19 season.
That being said, the new normal has become slightly more tolerable over the weeks, and here are some essentials that have been and will be keeping me sane through this #stayhome period.
This, this, is the number one most crucial coping method for me. Prior to all of this, I practice yoga asanas at a studio almost every weekday so movement has become an essential part of my life and helps to release pent-up energy.
Thank goodness for so many free or affordable online resources out there for people to still keep active at home. I love the teachers at Hom yoga studio (my usual hang) and this HIIT routine on SELF left me half-dead in a good way. If you are fortunate enough to schedule longer me-time sessions in advance (looking at you, non-parents), places like Kate Porter Yoga and Yoga Inc. offer a good variety of classes at pocket-friendly fees.
What is surprising is how I have also started to enjoy running, an activity I used to detest because my cardio fitness is dismal to say the least. But now, running is one of the few times I can take deep breaths of fresh air outside without having a stuffy mask on. (Mask wearing is a legal requirement when we are outdoors in Singapore.) It is also a time when I can be away from the kids and just be.
Above: One of my favourite sweaty flows when I’m short on time
Indulging in sensorial pleasures
Since there’s nowhere to go and no one to see, clothes and makeup are now suddenly not so important in our lives, aren’t they? 🙂 But I still wanted to make each day feel a little more vibrant in a personal way. So I splurged on a few bottles of essential oil (Mandarin, Lemon Eucalyptus and Dreamtime) from My Pure Earth, a Singapore company that offers sustainably sourced oils from small farms around the world. These oils are now on permanent rotation in my diffuser. I’m already planning my next purchase. #supportlocal
Since we now spend so much time at home, we have gradually cleaned out parts of the home that we previously did not want to deal with – the storeroom, forgotten drawers, the bursting wardrobe… There’s more work to be done but every time we throw things out and reorganise our space, there’s a sense of lightness that is therapeutic beyond words.
It’s okay to not achieve
At the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, I was anxious about financial projections for the rest of this year and beyond. As a freelancer, it has been apparent that the number of new assignments has dwindled. A PR project for a live entertainment show was canned; the client’s local outpost was dissolved and many people in various offices were laid off.
On the home front, there is mum’s guilt about not being able to meaningfully engage the children and meet their emotional needs as much as I could. “Come play with me Mama!” “Sorry, Mama needs to work first!” Cue screen time, loads of screen time.
After a while, I had to acknowledge the ridiculousness of getting my panties in a bunch during an extraordinary time like this. So what if I’m not as productive as before? And really, the kids won’t die from watching more TV than before. My generation grew up on television shows; I didn’t see my parents rushing to plan a timetable to occupy my hours during the school holidays.
Bottomline: How should we survive the lockdown? Chillax. Okay? Okay.