Lately it seems like everyone’s been into something new. Be it jumping onto a 30-day shred challenge, honing some serious baking skills, or picking up a new hobby — we’re on a roll to emerge from isolation as the best versions of ourselves yet. But let’s be honest. The line between feeling obliged to start on something significant and having genuine interest also seems to be whittling. Am I really doing anything if it’s not something big, novel and on-trend? Over at the DC team, we haven’t been onto anything fancy. Instead, we gave making small changes a shot to see if we could be our better selves, fuss and frills-free. I personally tried incorporating 3 of these habits into my stay-in life and got the rest of the team to try the other 3. So tried and tested (by us truly), here’s our take on 6 realistic habits to start for a better you this Circuit Breaker.
1. Start Your Day With A To-Do List, Then Check It All Off
All you need is a notebook, a pen and 5 minutes every morning! Planning your day ahead and organising your time will go a long way in helping you stay on track. If you’ve been working even more while WFH — possibly because of how “elastic” working hours are now — a to-do list/daily planner will help you visualise and portion out your time. For everyone struggling with a work-life balance this Circuit Breaker, this small habit could be a winner.
Tried & tested by: Shilin, our Graphic Designer & Photographer
I’ve been doing this since I started working (LOL) — no exceptions now that I’m working from home! I start my day with very clear objectives and I know what my priorities are. This way, I can make sure I don’t miss out anything [on my to-do list] and also know how much time I can spend on a certain task. I encourage everyone to do this — you just need 5 minutes to plan! You can have your list in point form anywhere, even on your phone or laptop. I personally use a daily planner because it’s more satisfying when I get to cross out tasks that I’ve completed!
Shilin’s daily planner, with lots of stickers for personalisation!
2. Get Ready In The Morning, Like Every Other Day
Instead of rolling out of bed just in time to get on your laptop, get up earlier and get ready as you would for a typical work day. Pop on some sunscreen (to guard against all that blue light), draw your brows, put on a cute work-from-home outfit, or dress up as much as you like — then get cracking. You might be surprised by how much this puts you in the right headspace for work.
Tried & tested by: Melisa, our Writer
It was surprisingly quite challenging pushing myself to wake up earlier and get ready for “nothing”. Although I soon realised that was the exact point. Running through my typical morning regime put the routine back in my work-from-home schedule. I did everything as I usually would; I did my makeup, blew out my hair, put on a casual work outfit (for days when I have no events) and finally got proper pants on. Interestingly, spritzing on my “work perfume” really helped to get me in the work mood too. I ended up working better and felt more efficient, as well as productive. This is a deceptively small habit that actually takes a good amount of effort. Though I must say, the right kind of effort. Try it!
Screen grabs from a video call I had, after I made it a point to get ready as per usual. It was pretty refreshing taking a break from my sloth-like routine!
3. Squeeze In A “Time-Out” Of Your Choice
No pressure on this one. We’re not talking only cardio-boosting, disruptive and transformative endeavours. Be it zoning out to your favourite playlist, brewing a cup of tea, putting on some Netflix (or TikTok) — the point is to have a set time for tuning out. Instead of making chilling-out part of procrastinating, allow yourself time everyday to indulge in something you like (or to do nothing at all). It will help you recharge, while keeping a sense of routine.
Tried & tested by: Andrea, our Founder
I decided to try an IG Live Workout after my friend, Nike Master Trainer Wany Misban invited me to join her virtual class. I never thought I would participate in one, but since Melisa encouraged the DC Team to try one new habit this WFH period, I figured why not. For one, it felt refreshing to change out into activewear — almost felt like I was about to head out! Many of the viewers were Wany’s students, I guess if you’ve been going for classes regularly pre-Circuit Breaker, joining a class will be a break from your WFH routine. Although one guy had to “leave” the class to answer a call – so I guess if you’re working from home, differentiating between “work time” and “me time” becomes difficult.
There were however, some confusion and connection woes. Half the time, I was squinting trying to identify what Wany was doing (“Is that my left or her left?”) through my phone/ laptop. I was also logged out of the live TWICE, once midway through a plank. A real-life class is still the preferred option. I also didn’t have the proper equipment and tools at home, so Wany suggested we use Laundry Detergent bottles as weights — which I did! Whilst a real-life class would have been and still is my preferred option, it felt good to say “I finally worked out! It’s one activity ticked off the Circuit Breaker Bucket List. It took an hour, which passed really quickly. Before I knew it the sky got dark and it was bedtime (how time flies that we are now into Week 2 of the Circuit Breaker). The aches and lactic acid buildup the morning-after buildup felt morbidly, good, as if I accomplished something. I would say try the IG Live Workout so you can actually say you tried an IG Live Workout and bond with friends who actually tried an IG Live Workout. It’ll be a conversation topic for sure.
Andrea mid-workout with her improvised weights!
4. Video Call/Phone Someone You Love
You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how different being able to see, talk and respond to someone in real time can feel. Instead of texting all day, video call/phone a loved one for a quick catch up, or even a hangout session. On one hand, it’s the closest we can get to being physically present during this period. On the other, this is probably a whole experience on its own and a once-in-a-lifetime memory to safe keep.
**Psst! Looking for activities to do during your next video hangout session? We suggest checking out the Metropolitan Opera, which has started streaming its art for free (Never before!). From nightly opera streams to an at-home gala, indulge yourselves here.
Tried & tested by: Melisa, our Writer
My friends and I have been collectively procrastinating on this one. When I finally resolved to make it a habit, I made it a goal to drop my friends a quick video call every other day. With my closest pals, that would more often than not turn into a marathon hangout session. I remember dropping one of my best friends, Nathania, a call and we ended up hanging out for 5 hours! When we started scheduling our calls in advance, we also started getting more productive and creative with our sessions. From working out, poring over dance videos, practising turns (watch the furniture though) and even a crash course on salsa basics, courtesy of Nat. The company — though virtual — was enough to make me feel connected and was a huge happiness boost.
In fact, it isn’t even about doing anything together. Just having a casual conversation from somewhere in our homes, while engaged in the most mundane daily activities like boiling water, doing the laundry, or me having coffee from my donut mug, gave me an intimate glimpse into the lives of my friends as I had never known before (and vice-versa). I’ll miss this for sure.
A midnight marathon hangout session I had with Nathania and my sister ft. the plushies we got for one another when we graduated last year.
5. Learn Something New
While keeping abreast of the important news, make it a point to learn something new and unrelated to the ongoing situation. Whether you commit to a new hobby, or simply take a few minutes to read something interesting, anything and everything counts. So get creative!
Tried & tested by: Stephanie, our Videographer & Community Manager
I tried to re-learn embroidery! I guess it’s something I’ve always wanted to pick up again, after losing touch with the skill for a couple of years. But I also feel there has been this social pressure that we must learn something, or self-improve during this period because everyone is publicising their new ‘stay-home’ accomplishments (till it almost feels like a competition). Nonetheless, I think that staying-in is really an incentive to “learn a new skill”, since there are far fewer distractions around and less excuses I can make for myself!
I don’t know if I’ll lose touch with embroidery again once this period is over. But for now, it’s a refreshing start. I do want to say though, that just because everyone seems engaged in “self-improvement” doesn’t mean you must follow suit. Just take your own time. Different people have different ways of coping with this situation. If simply spending time alone with your thoughts is your own way of getting along with the situation, then so be it. Wheeee!
Stephanie’s embroidery hoop. How pretty!
6. Cheer Someone On
It has been a tough time for everyone, in one way or another. Share good vibes by lending support to the community in your own way. It doesn’t have to be a groundbreaking, mass initiative — remember that many small efforts make a big impact. Whether it’s making a donation, sending a message of encouragement, or reposting a call to action, there are plenty of ways to give back within your means!
All of us at The DC Edit have been making it a point to offer support where we can. So instead of sharing our thoughts, we’ll share with you some of the ways you too can support the community during this period. This list is non-exhaustive!
2) Make a donation to support rations for migrant workers via #HOMEFORALL Migrants, an initiative by the Collective of Migrant Efforts (COME).
3) Volunteer your time to tutor students in need who require the extra help, but are unable to access it due to the school closures. Some initiatives include Temporary Academic Assistance and COVID-19 Tutoring Support.
4) Support local businesses who might be struggling to tide over the Circuit Breaker. For updates on how you can support local F&B establishments in particular, check out TripAdvisor’s #LoveYourLocalSG page. (Psst! We also curated our own list recently.)
6) Pen a message of thanks and support to Singapore’s COVID-19 front-liners on the Straits Times tribute page.
Our verdict: it doesn’t matter how far you go, or how long you take to get there, as long as you keep moving. Whether you’re embarking on a journey of self-improvement/discovery or not, the more important thing is to stay in, stay well and play your part in safeguarding the community. Sending love!