When the government first announced the circuit breaker, many Singaporeans were surprised. And circuit breaker—or CB as we’ve come to term it—has changed lives.
It led to an increase in reports of domestic violence. Some parents struggle with juggling working from home and assisting their children with home-based learning.
But for some of us, it gave us more time to spend with our family, have flexible working hours and pursue hobbies.
As someone who’s more of a homebody, I confess I have no qualms about staying home for such a long period of time. In fact, it has given me the opportunity to explore areas of my life that I never knew I’d take joy in if not for this CB.
As we enter into phase one after the end of the circuit breaker, I took some time to reflect upon the last two months to find out if we’ve emerged as better versions of ourselves, as well as what we’ll miss and continue doing even after CB has lifted.
Turning into a domestic goddess
Pre-circuit breaker, I was spending about 90 per cent of my time outside the home — there were social gatherings to go to after work, I had church and other commitments to attend to and family members to connect with over the weekends.
On weekdays, due to the long commute I wouldn’t have the energy to cook for dinner and my husband and I relied mostly on takeaway food, which is quite unhealthy.
Now that we’re made to stay home, I find myself having more time to be adventurous in my cooking, especially with many home recipes and easy how-tos shared online.
Inspired by my colleague, I also tried making my own gnocchi from scratch after seeing him post about it on Instagram.
Apart from cooking, there’s also the trend of baking, with enthusiastic “circuit bakers” causing some ingredients to go OOS (out of stock) in many supermarkets.
While we’re definitely going to have less time on our hands once the CB is completely lifted, this experience has made me want to commit at least one day of the week to cook and have relatives come over to make up all the lost time. The last time we’ve had a gathering was probably during Chinese New Year in January.
Finding a new passion
Since we have nowhere to go during this CB, instead of bingeing on show after show, I thought I’d put my time to better use, like dabbling in craft, or more specifically, making felt toys resembling food.
The idea came about when McDonald’s and bubble tea shops had to shutter temporarily, and I thought I’d turn them into memories.
This is just like keeping a journal, except in the form of felt food, which I can look back on as a reminder of these trying times. I even created an IG account just to document my whole journey and to keep me disciplined in coming up with new creations.
While others find baking therapeutic, I find stitching these felt creations my little escape; it helps me to disconnect from the Zoom calls and other sources of distractions at home.
Exercising more, and for free
Now more than ever, with the convenience of working from home, I find myself being able to exercise right after work as there’s no need to spend time travelling to the gym.
At the start of this year, I set a fitness goal not knowing how I’d achieve it, but the CB has helped in a sense, as I get to carve out some time twice or thrice a week to break out into a good sweat.
With the abundance of free online classes and fitness YouTube channels, I’m not sure if I’ll ever spend money on gym membership fees again. After all, I’ve always loved exercising from home even pre-circuit breaker.
What I’ll miss about this CB period
I’ll miss spending time at home greatly after CB, because when am I ever going to get this amount of peace again once life goes back to normal?
One of the joys of staying at home is finding comfort in confiding in my husband immediately when something bad happens during the day. A lot of times, we don’t have the time to type a lengthy message, but at home, I just have to call for him and he’s here in an instant.
With CB in place, we haven’t been able to see our friends and relatives in the flesh. I’ll definitely miss all the sweet and creative gestures that we’ve had to do to bridge the gap between us, be it through ordering food for each other, or playing online games together.
These moments “together” are less taken for granted, especially knowing that it takes effort to stay connected with each other. You know who your best pals are, if you’ve kept in touch with them during this CB.
No matter if we’re happy with the status quo or aching for normalcy to resume, there’s something we can look back at and remember fondly during this period.
This period has definitely also got some of us in an introspective mood and given us a new perspective on things we never noticed pre-circuit breaker.
Same old, same old
While many of us have become circuit bakers and chefs while being cooped up at home, it seems like some of us weren’t in a hurry to pick up new skills.
At the end of the CB, if we haven’t changed one bit from it, there’s no need to fault ourselves. I’ve also learnt that living through this pandemic is just as stressful as entering into any other major transition in life.
If you’ve managed to stay home all this while for the sake of stemming the spread of coronavirus infections in Singapore, it is already something to be proud of.
Image: Katarzyna Białasiewicz / 123RF.com
Text: Melissa Goh / AsiaOne / May 2020