2021 Lockdown: 6 Steps to Combat Fatigue

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With the growing list of different MCO (Movement Control Order) variations, cabin fever is no longer an unfamiliar feeling for anyone. One thing that we can all mutually agree on as Malaysians - we are all sick and tired of the constant on and off lockdowns. Just key in words like “lockdown”, “Malaysia”, and “tired” on Twitter, and you’ll be scrolling through endless tweets from fellow Malaysians who are all feeling equally frustrated, anxious, and exhausted.

To help the days go by a little better and faster (as we dream about all the things we’d like to do with our newfound freedom post-Covid), we’ve got you covered with 6 simple steps to help you combat fatigue during lockdown!


1. Structure: Follow a Daily Routine

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Are you feeling like your sense of time is warped and your body clock is beyond repair? It’s time to kick yourself back into gear and take control of your life through the things you can manage now, such as following a routine and a structured day. If you’re someone who thrives from strict, well mapped out, and structured schedules, planning your day with exact time stamps would work well for you. On the other hand, if you’re someone who prefers a more relaxed pace of life, perhaps a daily to-do list would work better in getting back to routine. With the chaos that currently exists in the outside world, reintroducing structure back to your life is the best thing you can do for yourself right now. You got this.  


2. Exercise: Practice Home Workouts

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Don’t limit exercise to only the gym. With the current MCO, restrictions on exercising outdoors and the temporary closure of gyms have been set. But before you throw your fitness goals out the window, we are here to reassure you that you can still sweat all your worries away right at home. Home workouts are not only effective but also saves time and money without any loud gym music that (let’s be honest here) nobody wants to listen to. All you need to do is to invest in some weights, a yoga mat, some resistance bands, or even just your body weight, and you’re good to go. Support your local fitness gurus from home: Joey Tng for bodyweight workouts, Jasmin Efendieva for intense fitness challenges, Kunn Kunn for relaxing yoga sessions, and Joanna Soh for nutrition tips and healthy recipes.


3. Healthy Diet: Increase Your Protein Intake

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Research has shown that adding more protein into your diet results in appetite reduction, metabolic increase, decrease in late-night snacking, and weight loss. Protein is more satiating and takes longer to digest than carbs, which is why increasing your protein intake will also mean fewer mindless trips to the kitchen. Here are some ways you can do so: 

  • Food substitutes like Greek yoghurt (instead of fruit yoghurt), quinoa (instead of rice), or pea milk (instead of whole milk), 
  • Protein-rich snacks like edamame, Greek yoghurt topped with fruit, nuts, and protein bars (Pro tip: pop it in the microwave for 20 seconds and you’ve got yourself a warm fudgy cake. You’re welcome.),
  • Or drinking a protein shake before/after your workout.
Say goodbye to your quarantine cravings because it’s time to shed off those extra pandemic pounds.


4. Mental Health: Practice Mindfulness

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Being stuck at home 24/7 alone or with family can drive any sane person up the wall (multiple times for me at this point). Like how a good friend would do, take some time to check in with yourself now and then to see how you’re doing. Mindfulness is a useful tool to overcome any negative emotions whilst in lockdown as it draws your awareness back in, helping you cope with stress and anxiety. Apps that facilitate mindfulness like Headspace and Insight provide solutions to practice yoga, meditation, and sleep. If you’re experiencing severe anxiety and need someone professional to talk to, this list of available options for affordable online therapy in Malaysia could be a better solution for you. 


5. Connectivity: Keep In Touch

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Going into hermit mode and not showing up to the rest of the world will only put you through a downwards spiral. Feeling lonely? If you haven’t reached out to family and friends, take this time to communicate with those you’ve been out of touch with. It’s always nice to hear a familiar voice again, and because of the pandemic, we now have something in common to chat about! Other creative ways to socialize with people around the world could be through joining apps like Clubhouse. It’s an audio-based social app that emerged during the pandemic to help connect others through telling stories, developing ideas, and discussing topics.


6. Acceptance

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To deny the existence of the pandemic is to deny yourself inner peace. The emotional problems that many of us face can’t be solved when we try to change our circumstances on the outside. Numbing ourselves to reality is when our problems begin to seem bigger than they already are. Acknowledging our problems is the first step to solving them because emotions don’t live forever when we fully accept and bear through them. The truth is, emotions are fleeting while time goes by, whether you like it or not. Just remember this: This too shall pass, so will you. 


Before we wrap things up, a friendly PSA to all: book a vaccination appointment today if you haven’t already, don’t forget to wear a face mask (or two!) if you go outside, stay home and stay safe!


Words and graphics by Teh Aik Ern

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