• Juliana C Stryker

How Have You Been?



How have you been?

At this point, I can empathise that it may not be an easy question to answer.


I hope you're still hanging on and believing there's light at the end of the tunnel.


If you've been following my blog and Instagram, you probably already know I lost my beloved father-in-law a month ago and the situation was made tougher because of border restrictions and pandemic-related concerns. As such, both Bobby and I weren't able to say our goodbyes even though Bobby flew back to the UK immediately after receiving the news that he was sick.


It's 2021 now, a brand new year and instead of thinking about new resolutions, new goals like yesteryears, I've been exploring new coping mechanisms, trying to create new financial and emotional safety nets to brace for what's to come and also aspiring to strengthen my relationship with my loved ones as much as possible.


That's not to say we don't have new ambitions or desires for this year, I feel like the pandemic has given us an alternative perspective about what's important to us. We do have goals but the goalposts have shifted and we're now charting a course on a new direction towards focusing on our well-being so we can make a bigger difference in our family's lives and in our community.


That's why I thought it was important for me to share a session I had with Clozette a few months ago called #ClozetteChats: Mind Yourself with Clozette Community where I got to engage in a fruitful discussion with the Clozette team (April Tan, Vania Quah and Amanda Arambulo), content creators Kaycee Enerva, Linora Low and Dr. Maria Micha, an experienced Psychotherapist who dispensed many tips during the session on how we can navigate the change and maintain our emotional well-being.


Clozette summarised the session's highlights in this beautifully-edited IGTV video below.



As you can appreciate, in the interest of time, not everything we discussed made the final cut of the video, including a lot of valuable stories and wellness tips that you might be able to gain from, so here are the questions that were posed to us and my full replies to each of them.



What is wellness to you?


For me, wellness is about me-time where I embrace my inner thoughts and be at peace with myself.



Being in control of my situation where I allow myself to let go. It's the point where I embrace the world we are in right now.


The situation is not great and I can't do anything about it but I can control my emotions, actions, my perspective and my reaction to our predicament.


Wellness is all about giving yourself a chance to let go and giving yourself an opportunity to find your own endorphin and dopamine.



Has the pandemic affected you and your lifestyle, and if yes, how so?


Definitely. I run a house call doctor service, a mobile clinic. House call requests shot up immediately after the first case was announced in the news as patients were extremely afraid to go to a regular clinic or even visit the hospital. Since then, my life has changed. We were working almost 18 hours a day, sometimes more to keep up with the requests. If this was any other business, we would be joyful but as you can imagine, this also signified to us that the community was really hurting, a true double-edged sword kind of situation.


I was working throughout the Circuit Breaker, Singapore's term for a lockdown and also saw many hidden victims of the pandemic which worried us more. This meant people with pressing health issues refused to go to the emergency department due to fears of contracting COVID-19. As such, many left their illnesses untreated at home and by the time we saw them, it was too late as they had delayed treatment for too long. To be honest, we think my daddy-in-law was also a hidden victim of the pandemic as he too was apprehensive about going for medical check ups when symptoms of his illnesses first surfaced late last year.


Fast forward a few months, as we moved deeper and deeper into the circuit breaker, our business started to face the opposite scenario, no one was calling! Seemingly staying at home protected us not only from flu-like illnesses but everything else too! We were soon facing tough questions, like many other companies during this time, of whether our business would be able to survive this pandemic and if it didn't, what would we do?


The pandemic has definitely affected the way I view health and wellness. I treasure the people around me and I treasure my health even more. Despite having a busy schedule, with so much uncertainty, I still made sure I worked out five times a week and had as well-balanced a diet as possible.



What is your daily wellness routine like these days?


Candles, mini makeovers (I change my nail wraps every week now), walk on the treadmill (my dusty treadmill and dumbbells that were nestled in the storeroom finally saw the light of day again) while catching up on my favourite Netflix shows. Since the festive season is around the corner, I also watch a lot of home decor vlogs to remind myself that there's still much to look forward to!




Does how you feel mentally and emotionally affect how you feel physically, and vice versa?


Negative situations used to affect me a great deal and I'd literally go into a fight or flight mode when I was nervous or feeling some anxiety. Sometimes it would affect me so much I'd get migraines and gastric pains requiring medications.


Over time and with more experience with unfavourable circumstances, I started to have a better understanding that I really have to give to myself first before I give to the world, to make sure I'm taken care of first, mentally and physically.


The human mind is an amazing thing, when you take a deep breath and tell yourself everything will be okay -you may literally feel the weight of the world on your shoulders being lifted off. Trust me, mind over matter really works.


The law of attraction means that sometimes we fear the worst and focus on it so much that we unknowingly actually make it a reality and play a part in bringing it on ourselves. The opposite can also be true, why not focus on the best possible outcome instead of the worst and go for it! You will have a much higher chance of achieving happiness and success than if you just sat down and accepted the worst case scenario.


When I believe in concentrating more on my powers than on my problems, the mental state, emotions and physical feelings no longer intertwine with each other and that's when I can regain some form of control.



Do you feel the pandemic has affected how you feel physically, emotionally, and mentally, and how?


It definitely has as uncertainty is always scary. I am still running a business after all with no fixed income. You don't know when there's going to be panic buying again and we run out of food, you wonder if your savings are enough to last you a few more months. The scariest part is the health of my loved ones - my old- aged granny, my parents, our family who live in the UK. Everyday we worry we will never get to see them again.


I have to constantly remind myself to not let these thoughts dominate me and focus on making the most out of the situation like checking on my loved ones frequently through Whatsapp video calls and putting aside funds for possibly longer rainy days or worse.


Any tips for our community on how to practice self-love & care?


Don't worry about what's ahead (not in terms of your goals and dreams but what kind of new situation the world will serve us next) and focus on the now. There is still so much to look forward to.


If you're feeling overwhelmed or dejected, celebrate life's little wins with gratitude journaling!



I've been doing that for five years now.


Basically every night before I go to bed, I take time to reflect and jot down three things I'm grateful for each day. So instead of dwelling on the negatives just before I go to bed and possibly disturb my rest, I go to bed happier and more optimistic about the future. This also helps to improve my sleep quality and overall health. It doesn’t have to be big things - I'm looking at my own journal now and it's literally just having someone smile at me today, great weather, having my first pumpkin spice latte of the year. There’s growing research showing the benefits of keeping a ‘Gratitude journal’! It can increase a person's well-being by 10%! Happy people naturally take care of themselves more - they eat better, exercise more which releases endorphins so this means more happiness and more positivity! The bigger the boat, the less likely it will capsize. Life is always going to keep throwing curveballs at us. It is how we deal with it that matters the most! I choose to hit the curve ball with my positive and grateful thoughts in my stilettos and a glass of champagne in my hand.


I hope this little walk through my mind was helpful for you and I truly wish you all the best in improving your well-being and finding your north star for 2021.


Please continue to take care, stay safe and keep sparkling!


Your friend,

Juliana

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