Help us by staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Go out only when necessary. Always wash or sanitise your hands. These principles, lockdowns and inter-state travelling restrictions have kept us confined to the four walls of our house for more than a year. Having meals and chit-chats in the caf\u00e9s is now but a wish for most of us. Exercising and working out with friends in the park and gym looks like a dream to us. More importantly, staying healthy and happy seems to be a luxury for us with the drastic rise of COVID-19 cases, unemployment, depression and even suicide incidents. However, it is important to talk about your feelings and emotions at times like this so that you can get necessary help. So, here's how I have felt while staying at home during this pandemic and hopefully you can relate to them and try out any alternative that suits you. How I Feel Worse at Times While Staying at Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic #1: Getting easily distracted and hence overworked myself While working from home, we are easily swayed by distractions and hence working for longer hours. (Photo credit: Freepik) Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, working from home has been a major part of the working culture. While you get to focus on what you need to do at the workplace, working from home posses a lot more distractions such as the clothes pile, your family and your children. Speaking from my personal experience, I was distracted multiple times as my mother asked for my help in completing the household chores during my working hours. I could have said 'No' to her, but I gave in most of the time. I have also seen working mums getting one hand on the laptops while holding their toddlers with another hand while working. Or, even children appearing on their parents' backgrounds during online meetings or conferences asking for the things they want. And we sometimes forgo our break time while working from home. We tend to overworked ourselves while neglecting our meal times and this can affect our health negatively in the long run. How can we deal with this better? We can first ask for understanding and help from our family members so that they only reach out to us when it is necessary and urgent. Don't forget to set time for meals and rest, too, as this will further increase your productivity in the long term. #2: Feeling anxious over the possibility of contracting the COVID-19 virus The increase of confirmed cases has led us to suspect ourselves more, even during a mild flu. (Photo credit: Freepik) Ever since the breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic, I've experienced anxiety whenever I was suffering from flu, cough, headache and a sore throat. No matter how mild the symptoms were, I was extremely worried. I was concerned that I might spread the virus to my family members, my colleagues and any friend that had come in contact with me. It was even terrifying when I scrolled through social media. I kept on identifying myself over the posts on the possible symptoms of contracting COVID-19 virus. I would even sniff over items with a strong fragrance and taste dishes over meals to check if I'd lost my sense of taste or smell. As a result, questions and negative thoughts bombarded my mind throughout the day. Did I got infected? What would happen to my family and those who were in close contact with me? Should I go for a swab test now? Why did I have to get sick? With this, my headache was even severe to the extent that I could not sleep well at night. This negative cycle repeats whenever I possess any of the possible symptoms and I really feel helpless about this frustrating situation. To prevent this cycle from recurring, I try my best to keep myself healthy with balanced diets, workouts and most importantly, staying at home to minimise potential contact with others. #3: Feeling uncertain and stressed over matters that were beyond my control The constant lockdown of the nation has put most of us into unexpected change in career and life. (Photo credit: Freepik) Things have spiraled out of control for us with the constant shift between total and partial lockdowns within the year. Small and medium business owners are suffering from covering their loss. Some have decided to shut down their business, no matter how reluctant they were to reduce their loss. Frontliners are suffering from exhaustion and lack medical supplies to save the COVID-19 patients. Doctors are now forced to choose whose life to save. Families are suffering from the lack of food and daily necessities supplies. Some families are struggling when their sole breadwinner lost their job due to the pandemic. Individuals are suffering from depression, anxiety and negativity due to the unemployment, financial scams and even social isolation. I came across this heart-wrecking news where a 35-year-old man called in to a radio station to share his suicidal thoughts. He thought of ending his life as he was unemployed. He also suffered from extreme loss in the stock market due to recommendations by some 'stock masters' on social media. I could not stop my tears while listening to the interaction of this man and the radio DJ. I wondered, How much more uncertainty will we have to endure? How can we prevent more people from suffering, both physically and mentally? Can we help others and ourselves to feel better despite the uncertainty and stress caused by the pandemic? The answer is certainly a BIG YES. How I Became Better by Staying at Home During the COVID-19 Pandemic #1: Switching from rush hour to self-betterment While staying at home, you can reduce your anxiety with workouts, mediations and learning. (Photo credit: Freepik) Instead of waking up early and rushing our way to prepare meals and work, we can now prime ourselves into a better way to start our day while working from home. This is one of the best reaps I have attained while working from home! Working as a primary school teacher in a low-enrolment school, I need to wake up extremely early to prepare my breakfast and sometimes my lunch, too, as we do not have a canteen operator at our school. On top of this, I need to travel around 45 minutes from home to school every day. Therefore, I do not have any time for efficient morning routines until the first movement control order (MCO). Instead of being stuck in the traffic jam every morning, I started my day by reading inspirational books and reviewing my to-do list. And recently, I have started developing the habit of meditating right after I wake up every morning. Besides feeling calmer, I get to be more positive, grateful and focused. I get to complete more important works in a shorter period. After saving time on travelling to work, I get to do more workouts, too. What's even better? My 56 year old mum also started her first workout with me. Though it's challenging for her at first, she was able to sustain her workout until now. So, if you are currently working from home or unemployed, don't beat yourself up! Stop scrolling over social media and think of ways that you can help yourself! It could be reading books (free books are available!), listening to motivational podcasts, doing workouts, or even learning and discovering new potentials within yourself. I truly believe that when we hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up. #2: Organising and appreciating my belongings Instead of buying clothes impulsively online, take out all your clothes and sort them while staying at home! (Photo credit: Freepik) Have you ever wondered how many clothes you own? Or how many books you have bought only to collect dust on shelves? If you are not sure, then now is the time to discover and decide what to keep or donate. While working from home, I decided to reorganise my clothing and books using the KonMari method. As I started organising my clothes, I discovered new clothes that I had bought and left behind in the closet. Only then did I realise I have more clothes than I ever need and this is something that I need to be grateful for. This applied the same to my books, too, as it took me three days to organise my books. Having too many books that I kept untouched on the bookshelf, I decided to pass some of the books to my pupils and also to the local library. Did I feel bad after giving out my clothes and books? No, instead it made me feel way much better! I finally understand the concept of 'less is more' and I can now proudly say that I have only purchased two dresses since the tidy-up in October last year. (And yes, the dresses remain new as we are now staying at home. Maybe I should not have bought these two as well!) Ask for Help While Staying at Home During the Pandemic While hoping that the pandemic will end as soon as possible, we can help out by staying at home. No matter how disappointed you are with the number of confirmed cases daily, do believe that your effort of staying at home will surely help to alleviate the worrying situation. Do bear in mind that help can be delivered to your doorstep or through online platforms whenever you ask for it. So, stay strong and ask for any help whenever you need it. Together, we can overcome this pandemic. Stay safe, everyone!