26 MAR2020 MENTAL HEALTH WORKING FROM HOME 2

Tips to help you and your family cope during uncertain times

These are crazy times. COVID19 in Singapore has been dealt with tremendously by the Singaporean government. This has meant that our day to day lives have not been impacted too much yet. That is not to say that we aren’t glued to our phones for updates and we are all waiting for the announcement decreeing that we all go into isolation. The Expat Insurance Singapore team are feeling it, too. And we are here to help!

There is a lot to process and there are some very real threats to lives and livelihoods. Many of us are scared. Most of us are anxious and all of us have been thrown into some degree of uncertainty about how our world will look in six months. With this in mind, we wanted to give some tips on how to keep your mental health in ship-shape during these times. If you have any questions about what your expat health cover entails right now – or if you are lonely and sick of talking to your cat, give our Expat Insurance Singapore team a call and we can help you out.

Mental Health While Working from Home

As much as you can, stick to a routine. Wake up at your usual time. Start work at your designated start time and finish when you would usually leave the office. Unless you have been issued with a Stay at Home Notice or you are self-isolating, go for a walk in the fresh air as much as you can during the day. Don’t forget to stay 1.5M away from others while you do this. This won’t be forever, so try to stay in the habit that you have already built. Psychologically, this also helps maintain some normalcy. In this article, Dr Steve Orma, a CBT clinical psychologist says that routine ‘helps with stress … Create a set schedule for doing chores, work tasks, meetings, exercise, paying bills, and all the usual things you need to do.’

If the kids are at home with you … do your best!

Staying fit during isolation

It’s been amazing seeing the footage of people in Europe joining in with exercise classes from their balconies and windows. Many of us are apartment bound in Singapore, so we need to be a bit creative when it comes to working out.

There are some great (FREE!) apps and downloads that you can use to get your body moving in small spaces:

UFIT – try their 12noon virtual workouts – they last around 45 mins and you just log on via Zoom. Contact Simon Porter on simon@ufit.com.sg for more details

Centr is offering six weeks of free membership. The app includes workouts of all different styles – HIIT, strength training, boxing, yoga, etc. It also includes meal plans and guided meditations.

Annie Belcher has free audio yoga classes available for download on her website.

Sam Wood is offering free live-at-home workouts every morning at 9 am on Facebook. They’re saved on his page you can re-watch later if the timing isn’t convenient for you. Tuesday’s and Thursday’s workouts are kid-friendly.

Daily Burn is a subscription platform with routines for yoga, running, and at-home HIIT workouts. They’re currently offering 60 free days of membership.

Joe Wicks AKA The Body Coach will be hosting live PE classes from Monday to Friday until children go back to school in the UK. This will be great to have on for the kids while you shoot off some emails. This is around 5pm in Singapore (9am UK time)

Eat a balanced diet

There is a lot of misinformation on the internet right now about how you can boost your immunity against COVID19. Taking Vitamin C, gargling warm water and eating garlic are a few – all of them incorrect. One of the best things that you can do is to stay healthy is to a varied diet with a lot of fresh fruit and veggies. Vitamin supplements are redundant unless your body is deficient. Larry Appel, M.D., director of the Johns Hopkins Welch Center for Prevention, Epidemiology and Clinical Research says ‘I don’t recommend other supplements. If you follow a healthy diet, you can get all of the vitamins and minerals you need from food.’ Keeping it varied, balanced and colourful will be one of your best defense. If you feel that you are deficient, see a health care professional who can test this for you.

Maintain your relationships

Connection is so important and meaningful relationships are vital to good health. WhatsApp chat groups will certainly be on overdrive at the moment with COVID19 updates, but what about the other stuff? As great as it is to talk about the coronavirus (especially if it is causing us anxiety), seeking out interactions that make us happy is the key to getting through these times of uncertainty. Here are some tools that you could use to keep in touch with everyone around the globe (and on the island!) that is ‘not another WhatsApp group’:

Zoom is an online video conferencing tool and it is being used for cocktail parties, dinner with friends and quiz nights. Zoom is free of charge and easy to use. Try to use it sparingly right now, as many people are still trying to conduct business using these tools. Use it in the evening when demand isn’t as high.

Google Hangouts is a group video chat and conferencing tool. You can use it via the app on your phone or tablet, as well as your desktop or laptop. It’s a great way to continue to have your book club, coffee meet up or pub lunch. All you need to host it is a Gmail account (or app if on the phone or tablet) and you’re away.

Facebook Watch Party If there is a live-streamed event or a video that you would like to share and watch with your friends, you can invite them to a watch party and you can watch at the same time. You can comment, react and reply in real-time.

It is a time of uncertainty. Everyone is worried in their own way and we all need to make adjustments to our lives in the short term. If you feel like your anxiety is impacting your mental health, call a medical professional.