By Ian Chow, Certified Massage Therapist / Infant Massage Instructor / Oncology Massage Trainer
Length: 4.5 mins read (938 words)
Update: This article was also republished in Calibre Magazine, January 2022 issue (Page 52 and 53)
This post is dedicated to all my friends, families and everyone who are effected by the Covid-19 pandemic in one way or another. Whether it is trying to adapt to the new norm with our job, our daily chores, our weekend grocery run, our children schooling schedule (or in a jokingly manner, what new mask design to get for this month), it is not easy.
Some of us have lost our job or source of income overnight, some have gone through reshuffling or increase of jobscopes and some have gone through massive pay cut. Regardless, this pandemic (and for Malaysian who went through months and months of lockdown with a lot of uncertainties ahead), it has not only effect our physical health but our mental health is also a concern.
For me, self-care has never been more important before and is now becoming more and more significant. According to wikipedia, “In health care, self-care is any necessary human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated. Self care play essential role toward happy life.”
Hence, I wish to share my Top 5 self-care tips which one can follow easily.
There are certainly days that you just feel so sluggish especially during a hot and humid day. So why not just go and sweat it out with some simple stretches. You can follow this 8 relaxing full body stretches: https://www.verywellfit.com/relaxing-total-body-stretches-1231150
Or head down to your nearest gym for a workout, go for a yoga session, practice your stance / go for a spar in the martial art that you practice or just go through your dance routine. Be physical, sweat it out and perhaps, let out some pent up emotions along the way too.
No.2 Allocate your own “me” time
It is definitely OK not to be productive all the time; and it is OK to acknowledge that too. You are allowed to have your own “me” time without any disturbance from anyone or anything. Just take a couple of minutes to wind down where you don’t have to do anything at all.
For me, every now and then, I will usually lie down on the bed at night, either playing with my Switch or just chill with music (and block out pretty much everything). Maybe you can watch your favourite series on Netflix. Or perhaps, meditate. Just dedicate some time for yourself.
No.3 Eat healthily
Always go for a balance meal / diet. And for me personally, I find that cutting down on carbs and red meat help with my general mood too. This may not be the same for everyone. However, I am sure you agree that eating more fruits and vegetables is universally good for everyone. And on days that you are feeling a bit down, try to avoid big dosage of sugar and caffeine cos it may make you feel even worse than before once the effect is over. I know chocolate or cake with a nice cup of coffee (especially with good company) is always hard to resist but have it in a moderate amount 🙂
No.4 Go back to nature
With almost every single thing that we do on daily basis involving some form of interaction with digital medium, we definitely can do with some digital detox by going back to the nature, to the greens. I have heard of digital detox camp being organised, where one can go for a retreat at a high end resort with activities planned but minus all the digital gadgets. Well, few other more affordable ways include going for a hike, a waterfall trip, a jungle walk, a river side camp, a beach side picnic or a cycling trip at the nearest botanical garden. It is just something about the sound and sight of nature that bring a moment of peace to our mind.
No.5 Pamper yourself
If you feel like indulging yourself in activity or food that you like, just do it! As long as it is done in moderation, you should not go down on a guilt trip by pampering yourself. As always, my indulgence is massage. And lately, I am also incline to try out different boutique hotels (staycation) around town. 🙂 I can have my own “me” time and at the same time doing something that I like.
Bonus: Talk to someone, anyone
Don’t go through the hardship on your own. If you are in need of someone to speak to, go to your trusted family members or friends. Pour your heart out to them. If you don’t have anyone, do consider the helpline numbers as below. In the worse case scenario, whatsapp me for a casual chat.
Befrienders: 03-7956 8145, Lifeline Association Malaysia: 03-4265 7995, All Women’s Action Society (AWAM): 03-7877 0224
At the end of the day, it is OK to acknowledge that you, your body or your mind need a break. There is nothing wrong with that realisation. Our life is a marathon and not a sprint. We have to pace ourselves out so that we can last as long as we can especially at this trying time.
Regardless of how many tips that I may give or how many articles that you may have read on similar topic, the first step on self-care must always start from YOU (the one who is reading this post right now) and nobody else. So, do what you need to and take care, everyone!
P.S: If you need a massage, you know who to call.