Dedicating one week to mental health

2 December 2016

After going back to work for a week, it is the holidays again. I know one week of work may seem short but I was exhausted from it. I need to mentally prepare myself for a really busy year ahead.

When I was working in social service, I used to take a day off during the busiest period to simply rest and do nothing. It was emotionally very tiring to work in social service, I was faced with so many social problems, I felt that I needed to safeguard my own emotional health.

I can’t really take a day off  in this current job, which is why I always make sure I keep doing all the things I love. Taking care of one’s mental health is not only preventing negativity going into your mind, it also involves creating positive experience and memories. When you heart and mind is full of joy, your conscience will be clear and you will be happy.

Here are some of the things I do to ensure my mental health stays intact.

1. Eating together with love ones

Breakfast together outside. Due to our busy schedules, eating together at home can be a challenge which is why we let Mum have the weekend off and we eat outside. Eating together bonds people together and your learn about each other’s habits.


2. Declutter the work area

I went back to work on the first day of the holidays to clean up. Last year I was too busy and had to fly off immediately to NZ on the last day of work so I did not have the time to do spring cleaning. I managed to do some pending work and also got rid of unwanted papers. Of course this ‘neat’ desk will only last for the first 3 days, before my table is filled with papers again lol. But still, it is good to clean up and de-clutter every now and then.


Bumped into this cutie here who was helping her dad pack up. I think she was still a baby when I last met her! All the best Shai! Will miss this girl too.

3. Exercise

Never underestimate the power of a good workout. In my 20s I neglected my own health and was a whopping 81 kg heavy. I decided to sign up with the gym and found my long lost passion for dance. Now, after so many years with the gym, I am still chubby but I am definitely not as unhealthy as before. Even after suffering from knee and lower back injuries, I could still continue doing workout. I learnt a lot about the body and about my own injuries so that I could modify and still enjoy a good workout.


I am still trying to let go of strenuous workouts such as zumba and kickboxing for now. On Wednesday I went to the gym and did exercises in the pool. This is only the third time I entered the pool despite being a member for so many years. I wanted to do the pool for an hour but I was really enjoying the solace of being alone. Plus, the skyline and the sunset was truly therapeutic. I will be doing this more often from now.

On weekends I have been bringing le parents along with me to a gym at the community centre. This is the first time ever I have successfully managed to convince them to exercise!


Active aging is living healthily from now. Brought them to do light cardio like speed walking and biking followed by stretching. Yeah I made them do the stretching to prevent injuries, I know too well about injuries. Perhaps when they are stronger, we can do light resistance and strength training but for now they need to build up their stamina. So while they do the biking, I do strength training.

4. Eat whatever the hell I want

Hahaha. Suppressing the glutton is me was depressing and after a few failed attempts at curbing my appetite, I decided that it was not going to work out for me. So, I still eat all the things I want (but in controlled portions) and do the exercises accordingly to prevent weight gain. Usually I am make do with breakfast and lunch only. Dinner can be in the form of a snack. Sometimes I do give in to my cravings, like cooking this instant ramen with cheese at 9pm because I was too hungry lol. Still, I don’t beat myself up too much about this.


5. Spending time with friends

I think the main reason that I am sane is my friends. There are those who are in contact with me almost everyday and there are those I managed to see only recently. Met Mooch and her 2 kids on Thursday.


Super cuteeee Musa and Sarah. Musa is as heavy as my little niece and I can’t carry them for a long time because of my lower back. But still, this tembam boy was so adorable. #nakcubit ❤

Instant chemistry with kakak who played with me.


It was so heartwarming to be in her home and chit chat with her. The last time I saw her was years ago before these two kids came along lol. So much to learn and to reminisce. MasyaAllah. I am so glad we kept in touch all these while.

These things may appear simple but during hectic times, it is difficult to follow through. After a few years of being tired all the time from work, I learnt to never bring work home anymore. I learnt to dedicate my time to my own self care. Do all the things I love, spend time with love ones. Occasionally I still do get anxiety attacks and emotional outbursts but it has greatly reduced now. I learnt not to get easily upset and angry at people anymore. It has really benefitted my mental health.

This week was dedicated to this. I learnt the importance of taking care of my own health because if I can’t even do that, how can I take care of my love ones? So, never feel guilty of taking some time out for yourself. Your future self will thank you.