It would be an understatement to say that this year has been challenging for everyone. The need to evolve and adapt mentally, emotionally, socially, and even spiritually has become essential to stay grounded during these trying times. While our three regions — Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines — may be in varying degrees of stay-home restrictions, a common denominator pops up: the significance of checking in with ourselves and our wellbeing.
That’s why for the second instalment of our virtual #ClozetteChats, we huddled around on Zoom with content creators and Community members Juliana C. Stryker from Singapore, Linora Low from Malaysia, and Kaycee Enerva from the Philippines, along with mental health expert Dr. Maria Micha to talk about mental health, coping strategies and the art of navigating through these inevitable times.
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On defining wellness
Juliana: “To me, wellness is about my state of mind, it’s about being at peace with myself. It’s about allowing myself to let go and reconciling with our current situation.”
Dr. Micha's Notes: “I believe that wellness is a balance between physical, mental health, sleep hygiene, having strong emotional relationships with ourselves primarily and other people. But it's also taking the opportunity of what life is giving us. Life at the moment is giving us a few lemons — so we have to make the best out of it and to get the lesson from it.”
On changing lifestyles during the pandemic
Juliana: “It really changed my mindset. I’m more aware of health and wellness. I’m also more appreciative of everyone around me. My lifestyle has completely changed. I went from someone who barely worked out to recently taking out my dusty dumbbells, training gloves, and treadmill to actually start working out. It's because I want to be healthy and live longer — for my patients, for my family and for my loved ones.”
Linora: “Well, I’ve got two jobs — one is to coach people and I also create content at the same time. So, thankfully, these things are keeping me going. One thing that amazed me the most was where people proved me wrong about this whole virtual thing.”
Kaycee: “We’re still in lockdown in the Philippines so we can’t go out and I have to adjust. Even my son. Everything is done from home. I have to build my personal gym at home which is a good thing. I can still do my workouts and stay fit and my son has to attend school at home with his computer and everything so we have to shift and try to be as 'normal' as we can.”
On minding one's mental health
Juliana: "Right now, what I believe in is concentrating more on my powers than on my problems."
Linora: “I’m always big about mindset building. If you are mentally not prepared for anything or you just feel like something is not right in your mind, that’s where things kind of just go downhill, for a lack of a better word. I will say that this is something I picked up: ‘Thoughts will lead to your feelings, and then from feelings, it will lead to your desires, and then it will lead to your actions.’ So it’s always good to have your thoughts in the right place first if you want anything else to flow in the right path."
Kaycee: “I have a mental disorder [called] ‘bipolar’. My "disorder" in the head affects my emotions even when I don’t want to feel that way. In a way, it also affects my physical wellbeing. It’s been really challenging especially now that we’re in this situation and it’s hard also to get help. I’m just trying my best right now to stay at my best normal for my son. So for me, it really starts with the mind. And I’m trying to get help right now, so hopefully, things get better in the coming days.”
On remembering that you are not alone
Kaycee: “I just want you to know that if you’re not feeling well or if you’re not feeling okay, it’s okay not to be okay and to ask for help. Reach out. If you have friends, family, you are not alone in this situation and we’re in this together.”
Linora: “Eating and working out is great and all but if sometimes you aren’t able to release something — the thoughts that could be hindering you, maybe the lies that you believe in your own head — have someone who is mature and grounded that they can actually advise you and also talk to you and pull you out of that situation. So go and find someone that you know you can trust. [It] doesn’t always have to be a family member, it can be a very close friend, just make sure that you have someone that you can definitely always reach out to. And once again, you’re not alone.”
Juliana: “Life is always going to be full of curveballs, so you just need to be able to tackle them, hit the curve back with positive and happy thoughts in your stilettos and a glass of champagne in your hand, and just stay very, very happy. Good luck, everyone!”
Dr. Micha's Notes: “Even medical professionals like ourselves do talk to another counsellor once or twice a month. We need these because we’re also just humans. We have to deal with life, we also feel weak when it comes to challenges. And we are also carrying some of our patients’ pain.
So remember: reach out, you are important. People will want to listen to you. People will want to help you. And if you come across people who don’t have time for you, move on. Not in a space of being upset or being angry or being hateful. But decide that there’s someone else out there who wants to listen to you — a professional or a friend or a colleague.”
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