Shah Alam, 12 January 2022 – After an emotionally charged year and intensive vaccination rollout, the question on many people’s minds is; how different will things be post-pandemic? What will the ‘new norm’ look like?  Many questions and concerns remain about life post-pandemic.

Close to 70% of respondents from the Gardenia’s ‘Wellness Begins at Home’ Survey, conducted in collaboration with Cilisos Media, revealed that the Movement Control Order had taken a toll on their mental health. More alarming than this figure is the reality that its effects are still felt by many long after the movement restrictions have been lifted. As exciting as it sounds to resume life post-pandemic, let’s reflect on the role of self-care before easing back into routines.

But first, what exactly is self-care

Self-care literally means taking care of yourself. Commonly associated with allocating RnR or ‘rest and relax’ time to alleviate the build-up of stress resulting from work or daily routines, self-care also entails building some good yet arguably challenging habits like eating healthily, exercising regularly, and setting boundaries.

According to the Gardenia ‘Wellness Begins at Home’ Survey conducted in collaboration with Cilisos Media, Malaysians admitted to not faring so well in balancing work and play during the various Movement Control Orders (MCO). Here are the findings:

●     Less than 10% of respondents ate a well-balanced diet, with over 60% eating meals whenever they felt like it.

●     Before the MCO, 44.7% said they worked out at least once a week. However, during the first MCO, this number dropped to 40.5%.

●     With regards to work-life balance, 20% said worked more than normal during the MCO.

Take time to listen to what your body, mind and soul needs. Self-care should be as natural as eating or breathing, and not merely a luxury.

Self-care for a post-pandemic life: Where do I start?

  1. Setting a balance

The lines between work and personal life were often blurred during the period we were cooped up at home.  During this time, back-to-back virtual meetings going on late into the evening were a concerning trend.  Working parents had to juggle work commitments, cooking, being caregivers, tutors to school-going children and play housekeeper, simultaneously: Gardenia ‘Wellness Begins at Home’ Survey:

·         27% of the respondents said that they had no work-life balance during the pandemic;

·         20% said that they carried extra workload.

This is cause for concern, as we all need to set healthy boundaries. As the saying goes, “A time for everything and everything in its time”.  

  1. Re-establish your routine

Have you ever experienced a weekend so jam packed with chores and activities with family and friends, that on Sunday evening you feel completely wiped out?  Establishing a routine may sound boring, but it serves as a general guide to ensure that you have reasonable time for all your plans and avoid being overwhelmed, especially in resuming life post-pandemic. Remember to schedule some ‘me time’ in your routine.

  1. Go outside

Most of us spent a significant amount of time looking at screens during the pandemic. Make time to soak up some sun. Reconnect with nature. Take up sports like hiking, cycling or rock-climbing. And remember to continue observing good hygiene habits by observing the standard operating procedures of sanitising your hands or washing with soap after coming home or touching public surfaces.

  1. Take it slow

The pandemic and MCO has had a traumatic effect on many. Some are still anxious at the thought of re-joining society and going about a normal day. Some of us may have even forgotten how to socialise. Take it slow and check in with each other from time-to-time and seek professional help, if necessary. Perhaps before jumping into the deep end, start by reconnecting with family and loved ones, especially after being separated for long periods due to the interstate travel ban in the past.

Gardenia KL continues to stand in support of the nation as it recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic.  In conjunction with World Mental Health week 2021, findings from the Gardenia ‘Wellness Begins at Home’ Survey were discussed over a live forum hosted on @GardeniaKL’s Facebook with celebrity mental health activist and Patron of MIASA, Che Puan Sarimah Ibrahim; mental health activist and MIASA President, Anita Abu Bakar; and Gardenia KL, Corporate Affairs and Public Relations General Manager, Hazlinah Harun. The discussion covered the impact of the pandemic on Malaysians, tips for a healthier lifestyle and many more.