You First

By Avanti Nim Rastogi

In times of crises, individuals are constantly being reminded to think of other people. Some people have it much worse than you do, they say, and while that might be true – you have to take care of yourself first. 

This is not to say you shouldn’t spend a portion of your time helping others. Your own health, however, takes precedence. Donating a sum of your choice to an organisation that helps the less fortunate is one way to give back, donating your time in a more active way is another. In Singapore, there are plenty of ways to volunteer. [1]

We would implore you to listen to your body first. The current pandemic has more obvious impacts on peoples’ employment statuses and general feelings of cabin fever but there are underlying emotions and anxieties plaguing everyone, and you might not have had a chance to work through them or even really accept that they’re there. This means that some days, you might want to sleep in an hour more than you usually would, or that instead of doing an intense workout, you go for a relaxing walk in nature instead. 

When you feel fatigued or emotionally drained, honour those feelings, and take a self-care break until you feel more settled. We strongly recommend dedicating some time to meditation, or even taking a power nap, if you’re feeling especially low. Incorporate movement as much as you can into your daily or weekly routine, so you have those endorphins ready. And please keep drinking water. Hydration will not only keep your body running, but it’ll lend you that healthy glow that just can’t be replicated by external products. 

Self-care isn’t just about taking a warm bath (though those do help!) or lighting a scented candle. It’s about making the commitment to yourself, in whatever way you can. This could mean committing to exercising three times a week, starting your mindfulness journey, or even setting aside your screen for two hours every day. The feeling of self-appreciation that follows from these commitments will only spur you on further to help others. 

For this month, let’s focus on the little things we can do to feel better in ourselves, and then use that resulting positive energy to be of use to and to better benefit the people who need it.

[1] Volunteering.sg is an excellent resource to find a role that fits