April Hoon

A Singaporean's guide to working at home during COVID-19

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What an interesting time to be living in. 

In the last 6 weeks working from home, I think the collective distance of me walking to the fridge in my kitchen could easily amount to walking one round around Singapore.

I recalled my first week of circuit breaker (or lock down!), I was bursting with energy because I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands as I no longer need to wake up early and travel to work. I did Body Combat workouts for 7 days in my tiny bedroom, I wondered if my neighbour thought I was punching a ghost.

The second week took a dive in my moods, the effects of being stuck at home started to hit me. Hard. My Asian mom did not quite understand how serious the pandemic was at the time and asked if I got fired because I haven’t left for work for a week. I made a record breaking number of 176 steps one day (not sure which day it was because who cares?), says my Fitbit.

The harsh realities of this global pandemic sunk in even deeper in the following weeks. Not having the escape of going to work meant facing your troubles head on – nagging Asian parents who underestimate your stress. I can confirm that I live in a ‘Sovereign’ household. I no longer feel like a Masterchef in my own kitchen and I’m tired of washing the dishes. Can someone bring back bubble tea?

I stopped caring what day it was, working in my pyjamas seems like the new normal and screen fatigue is actually a real thing. I miss my friends and colleagues dearly. We would video call each other but it just did not feel the same. In times like these, where your emotions are in a constant yo-yo state, it is extremely difficult to feel focused, driven and confident to work or even do basic tasks. Tasks I typically could do with my eyes closed suddenly became a drag.

Are you waiting for the positive spin in this article? I’m going to be honest here, it is a work in progress. There are however some outcomes during this circuit breaker that I consider small wins.

  • I am eating healthier (minus the days I binge eat, because, feelings)

  • I am now super protective of my own time, ensuring I make time for self-care

  • I can now do the chaturanga dandasana pose properly because of regular yoga practice

  • I appreciate every trip to the supermarket, being out of my tiny bedroom and enjoying the sunlight

Nobody prepared us for a pandemic of this scale. While we cannot change the fact that this is going to be our new normal for awhile, you can make small adjustments to your mindset to help tide you through this tough period.

I recommend the following tried and tested self-care tips:

  • Send food deliveries to your friends, remind them that you love them and can’t wait to see them    

  • Limit the consumption of COVID-19 news when it gets too much  

  • Take breaks throughout the day, even if you’re just walking to your window    

  • Cut toxic people from your life, they won’t risk getting fined to find you

  • Make your own bubble tea :)

Let this article be a reminder that it is unrealistic to be happy about life all the time. Not everyday is going to be a good day and that is okay.

You are doing okay. We are all going to be okay. Breathe.