As announced yesterday, the whole of Malaysia will be going into our third movement control order, also known as MCO 3.0, from May 12 to June 7.
While there’s a lot of mixed sentiments about this decision, we’re all in the same boat and it takes collective effort to keep the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic under control. As restrictive as it may be to just #StayHome, there’s still ways we can contribute to the fight against this biological warfare.
For those of us who are strong, able and privileged enough to have food on the table and a roof over our heads, this isn’t simply the time to hibernate. In the wake of business closures (over 30,000 SMEs and counting have shuttered so far), rising unemployment rates, loss of lives, increased financial burden, and deteriorating mental health, the onus falls on all of us to support our economy and fellow Malaysians.
Here are seven things you can do to make the most out of MCO 3.0 for your sake and everyone else’s.
Support your local F&B brands
Most of us would know of at least one local restaurant, café, bar or eatery that has folded under the weight of the pandemic. With MCO 3.0, it’s likely there’ll be more. If you haven’t been doing so already, now’s high time to buy from your neighbourhood stalls and eateries. Can’t café hop or dine-in? There’s still the option of takeaway, pick-up or delivery so you can help these businesses stay afloat until you can visit them again. Alternatively, some establishments offer F&B credits and/or DIY kits to try out at home. It may be easier to order in from large fast food chains or whip up a home-cooked meal, but these small F&B outlets are less equipped to withstand the financial blows – and that’s where we can step in. You can even surprise your friends and family with a treat delivered to their doorstep, too!
Get your retail therapy from local brands
On a similar note, if you’re tempted to shop, buy from local designers, artists and artisans. In other words, #SupportLocal – be it a fashion, beauty, jewellery, furniture, or even a souvenir store. When you buy from small local brands, your ringgit stays within the community to help local development. Your bucks won’t just help create jobs, it will go towards developing business skills and empowering the next generation of local creators and entrepreneurs. Buying local is also often more sustainable than buying from chain retailers and big labels that ship internationally. Additionally, you’re more likely to be dealing with a real person instead of computer-generated sequences, allowing you to form valuable connections with fellow Malaysians.
Call up your family and friends
It’s easy to get caught up with added work and responsibilities, but if and when you can, don’t forget to check up on your loved ones. We’re all facing unseen battles while social distancing, and sometimes, all it takes is a text message or phone call to beat the loneliness. If you have some time to spare, why not plan a virtual games night? For the TV and film buffs, try organising a Teleparty session to binge-watch your favourite Netflix series or blockbuster with a friend (or five). While at it, make the virtual party merrier with your preferred glass of booze in hand.
Pick up a new interest or rekindle an old one
Is there something you’ve been meaning to try but somehow managed to put off during the first and second MCO? Do it now. Life’s too short to keep making excuses. For all you know, picking up a new hobby or pursuit can offer fresh inspiration or bring opportunities you never expected. Take that language class, start knitting, get back to playing the piano, launch your YouTube channel, learn cryptocurrency – whatever it is, commit to it.
Explore different workout routines
For those who easily get bored from the same workouts, take this opportunity to switch up your routine. Virtual training sessions are typically more affordable than in-person, allowing you to explore different gyms and fitness philosophies to find one that works best for you. This way, you’ll also get to meet more faces in the fitness community to encourage you on your journey. In case you’re too shy, you can also opt to follow along YouTube workouts or download fitness apps, which will give you a plethora of exercises to choose from – spanning yoga, HIIT, pilates, circuit training and more.
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Plan your next trip (even if it never happens)
Travel seems to be such a distant concept at this point. Some may have given up entirely on trips for the next year or so, after dealing with the hassle and disappointment of postponements and refunds. Nevertheless, planning a trip is proven to have positive impact on your mental health. Numerous studies have found that the anticipation of travel alone can boost mood. Instead of tying yourself down with flights and accommodation, aim for a rough itinerary instead. This may include identifying a destination and listing down places of interest such as restaurants, museums, and parks you’d like to visit there. Once travel is possible again, all you’ll have to do is book your tickets.
Invest in your mental health
Speaking of mental health, don’t neglect the importance of self-care. Watch what you consume – in every sense of the word – and evaluate its impact on your thoughts and emotions. If the news is too upsetting, switch it off. If your diet is making you feel sluggish or unhealthy, eat more mindfully. If the people or pages on your social media feeds make you feel uncomfortable, unfollow, delete or quit using the app until you’re ready. Be more proactive in taking care of your needs – practice meditation, exercise, sleep well, and say no when you have to without feeling guilty. Sometimes doing less is doing more in the long run. Remember that you matter, too.
Photos: Unsplash (unless otherwise stated)