Under normal circumstances, staying at home is a luxury to be cherished. Being forced to stay home, on the other hand, can get quite frustrating. With nowhere to go and no one to meet during the circuit breaker period, how does one stay sane? When I find my thoughts wandering, I ground myself by practising mindfulness and gratitude. Sounds corny, but it really does help – you should try it! After all, the benefits of gratitude are well-researched. As Marcus Aurelius wrote in Meditations,
“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realise this, and you will find strength.”
With that, I looked at what happened around me and within the community. These are the seemingly “mundane” things that I’m grateful for and how platforms like Carousell has helped.
1. I’m grateful for all the times my mum forced me to watch her cook
There was always something I’d rather do instead, but I’m SO glad she insisted that I watch her deep fry chicken wings, steam fish, and bake cheesecakes. When restaurants and even fast-food chain McDonald’s closed its shutters, I knew enough to make those sinful meals I craved.
No Mustafa nor Robinsons to buy the baking trays and hand mixers now that everyone’s suddenly a pastry chef? Carousell had so many baking trays just WAITING to be sold. Even flour could be bought off Carousell – there was no need to hoard! 🤯 There’s no need to queue, too. We saw people getting turned away at local baking supplies store Phoon Huat because the queues got waaaay too long.
2. I am thankful there is a way to make a little bit of money
With the recession upon us, our jobs don’t seem as secure as before. To earn a little bit more to cover my expenses, I’ve started selling things I no longer need or use. The pick-up rate on Carousell has been quite good, actually! I’ve sold four secondhand books since the start of the #circuitbreaker, and this money goes into my food delivery pot.
To be honest, it is in times like these where bookstores and toy stores are considered “non-essentials,” that there are more buyers on Carousell trying to find these things. Now that everyone’s spending more time at home, you definitely have more time to turn those toys and books their children have outgrown into cash! 💯
3. I am grateful to have the resources to make the people around me happy
It’s hard to express how much I appreciate my loved ones, now that I cannot meet and spend quality time with them. But who said that’s the only way to express care and concern, right?
I was inspired by the many people using local delivery services to send food and care packages to their loved ones. There were people who sent gardening kits to their #plantlady friends or toys to keep their nephews and nieces occupied – there are just so many thoughtful gifts available out there once you start looking.
And for once, everyone was home to receive their “contactless delivery” package. Yay!
4. I’m glad that if I needed anything urgently, there are platforms to help me get it
Our flats are for living, not so much working, given the amount of space we have. With no work desks and proper chairs, and our for-recreational-use Wi-Fi, working from home took a heavy toll on many of us. Usually, making a trip down to my telco or a furniture store would have solved the problem. However, since only repairs were considered essentials, we had to find other solutions.
Some of them include regulating who uses the Wi-Fi while waiting for the Wi-Fi repeater we bought on Carousell to arrive via contactless delivery (waiting for international sellers to save me would’ve taken forever) and buying almost-new furniture from sellers within our neighbourhood. Also super thankful for cheap moving services, because there’s no way I could carry all of that!
5. I am thankful that I can choose to work from home
Working from home is a privilege that I’m very thankful for. Not everyone has this option, whether it’s because they’re an essential worker or simply cannot afford to. Despite the initial hiccups re: Wi-Fi and proper furniture, working from home was otherwise a good opportunity to observe my own habits and pace myself better.
Side benefit: It also allowed me to see my husband in work mode and listen as he spoke of a “new world order” when COVID19 ends. Who is this person, talking like that?! Turns out I’m not the only one:
6. I appreciate the different ways I can occupy myself
Despite knowing that I’m blessed in so many ways, it can get quite depressing not knowing when this whole COVID19 situation will be over. Worrying about my job, family, and even team, also made me even more anxious.
Thankfully, there were theatre companies (The Necessary Stage, Wild Rice, Pangdemonium) which released their performances online and companies who uploaded free e-learning courses so I could spend my time more productively, rather than worry incessantly. Plus, now that embroidery is suddenly trending again, I’m also looking at getting myself an embroidery starter kit to start!
7. Ultimately, I am grateful for the gift of health
Initially, not having access to a gym or studio or even parks during the quarantine was unsettling. Thankfully, there are exercises online (#ChloeTingChallenge, anyone?) to practise at home. Studios like Off Duty Pilates even hosted live workouts on Instagram we could follow, giving us a semblance of a community.
When all the weights, resistance bands and kettlebells were sold out at Decathlon, I improvised, using milk bottles as weights. Resistance bands… well, Carousell has plenty of coloured ones to buy. 💪
In all, this circuit breaker period made me realise that I am more adaptable and independent than I initially thought. It’s weird, but I have gotten so used to this “new normal” that going back to the office actually feels mildly daunting.
COVID-19 may have put all of us under a lot of stress and induced many lifestyle changes, but I hope some of these reflections can be used as starting points for you to think about how meaningful your time during this period really was.