Social distancing is important to manage novel coronavirus COVID-19 crisis. The best practice is to stay at home and yet be more productive and manageable during this pandemic.
Reading the news about novel coronavirus 2019 COVID-19 and its increase in the number of cases and fatalities can be depressing and stressful. Fear and anxiety about a disease can be overwhelming and cause unease for that reason. Here are 5 ways to turn fear and anxiety into positivity.
1. Restrict time to news on COVID-19
Yes. It is important to keep abreast of the latest virus developments and social policies. However, staying at home and repeatedly hearing or reading about the pandemic can be unnerving. Therefore, the best practice is to limit exposure to such news. For instance, set a fixed time to the news. In addition, consider watching updates before lunch or dinner. That way, it does not affect your mood in the morning or your sleep at night.
2. Tune in to positive stories on the impacts of coronavirus have on humanity and social cohesion
Draw strength from positive stories on humanity around the world. There are many people out there trying to make a difference during this COVID-19 pandemic. Need some examples? Here are two videos to start:
Residents of virus-stricken Wuhan are boosting morale in the city by shouting from their windows and singing patriotic songs.
Posted by South China Morning Post on Tuesday, 28 January 2020
People in locked-down Wuhan, the first epicentre of the coronavirus, chant to boost morale earlier on during the outbreak.
Coronavirus Quarantined Italians Are Singing From Balconies!🎥 @italian_places / IG
Posted by Most Beautiful Cities Of the World on Friday, 13 March 2020
Quarantined Italians take to singing in their balconies. It’s a moving showcase of the triumphant human spirit and the power of music. In times like this, music, uplifts and can’t be quarantined.
Closer to home, campaigns and social messaging on coronavirus are springing up in Singapore. Singaporeans clapped and cheered to show support for the frontiers.
The Singapore government also spared no expense in sharing social messages. Here’s our favourite COVID-19 song/video:
“Things different alreadyBut Singapore be steadyStay clean and healthyJust use your brain, use your brain” 🎶🎶🎶Singapore’s Uncle Phua is back again to teach us how to don’t play play with COVID-19! 💥💥💥Find out how we can practise personal hygiene and be socially responsible! 🧼🧼🧼
Posted by Gurmit Singh on Sunday, 22 March 2020
3. Read a book
It’s an old and well-known fact, a CEO reads an average of four to five books each month, which makes it sixty a year. Bill Gates often shares his reads and picks online.
From 5 Books to Enjoy This Winter (2019) by Bill Gates:
- “An American Marriage,” by Tayari Jones
From Gates’ review: “Jones is such a good writer that you can’t help but empathize with Roy and Celestial. Both have been put into a super-difficult position. I obviously haven’t experienced what they go through, but the characters — and their reactions to the situation — ring true to me.”
- “These Truths,” by Jill Lepore
From Gates’ review: “While many good history books provide perspectives beyond those of the traditional “great men” of history, Lepore’s book makes diverse points of view central to the narrative. She shows you all the ironies and contradictions in American history.”
- “Growth: From Microorganisms to Megacities,” by Vaclav Smil
From Gates’ review: “Even if you don’t like math, don’t let [the first chapter]scare you off, because it makes a really important point: It destroys the idea that you can take an early growth curve for a particular development — the uptake of the smartphone, for example—and use it as the basis for predicting the future.”
- “Prepared: What Kids Need for a Fulfilled Life,” by Diane Tavenner
From Gates’ review: “Diane shares the story of how she designed a new kind of charter school with a simple but very ambitious goal: ‘We wanted to teach kids not just what they needed to get into college, but what they needed to live a good life.’”
- “Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dream,” by Matthew Walker
From Gates’ review: “I read a couple of great books this year about human behavior, and this was one of the most interesting and profound. Everyone knows that a good night’s sleep is important — but what exactly counts as a good night’s sleep? And how do you make one happen? Walker has persuaded me to change my bedtime habits to up my chances.”
4. Declutter and Housekeep
Keeping things neat and tidy sparks joy.
In 2011, researchers at Princeton University found that clutter can actually make it more difficult to focus on a particular task. Specifically, they found that the visual cortex can be overwhelmed by task-irrelevant objects, making it harder to allocate attention and complete tasks efficiently.
In a study published in the scientific journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, researchers found that women have higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol in messy homes. These women were more likely to be depressed and fatigued than women who described their homes as a sanctuary to retreat and restore.
There is no better time than now to compartmentalise cloud drives, defrag laptop and relook into email rules. Instead of deleting junk email, try to go through and unsubscribe those that almost never get opened and read. Perhaps it’s also a good time to earn a tip or two from Marie Kondo: Tidy your space, transform your life. For us, our mantra is clean up, defrag and reboot. Such wisdom applies to life as well.
5. Learn a new skill
In Singapore, entertainment, religion and learning centres are suspended. In fact, many places and organisations take to social media to conduct tastings, prayers and lessons. Now is the perfect time to upgrade or learn a new skill. Cooking would be a great valuable skill for a start!
Cooped up by Covid-19, millions in China discover the joy of cooking online
For those looking into professional skills upgrade, there are e-learning schools Check out NTUC Learning Hub’s collaboration with Udemy. Or check out Skillsfuture. There are different courses for different career stages. If there is one that interests you, see if there are online classes. Best of all, it’s subsidised by the Singapore government for Singaporeans. It’s time to upgrade some skills!