How many of us have gone into a restaurant and ordered the healthiest item on the menu? Or how many of us have intentionally gone for a walk after spending 9 hours on our chairs?
If you said yes to both questions, great! If you said no, then the consolation is that most of us probably did too. It is amazing how it takes a pandemic to help us realise how easy it is to have an unhealthy lifestyle. But at the same time, thanks to the COVID-19, many Singaporeans are now more aware of making healthier lifestyle choices.
Eating Well & Sleeping Well
Beyond an active lifestyle, Singaporeans are beginning to see the importance of a more well-rounded approach to health. And this includes eating well and sleeping well.
As we all know, healthy food in Singapore tends to be more costly to attain. Along with an uncertain economic landscape, spending on these types of foods would have been the first to go down.
However, Singaporeans did not compromise on eating right even as overall living expenses reduced. In fact, we were allocating the highest portion of the living expenses (34%) on healthier meal choices.
Aside from nutrition, Singaporeans are also paying off their sleep debt. According to a poll conducted by AIA, more than 2 in 5 Singaporeans have improved their sleeping habits, pointing to reduced commuting time as a big factor. This is an improvement worth celebrating as Singapore ranks as the third-most sleep-deprived city in the world.
Another encouraging piece of information is that Singaporeans have become more active in this period of the pandemic. Despite the closure of gyms and sports facilities, more than half surveyed by Sport Singapore (SportSG) continued to stay active at public open spaces and through online fitness classes and exercise videos.
In fact, the latest statistics show that Singaporeans have been participating more in sports, from 54% in 2015 to a new high of 73% this year.
The success of our nation’s initiatives to encourage healthy living is evident in the continued high levels of activity amongst Singaporeans despite the Circuit Breaker measures, with many finding creative ways to continue keeping fit while working from home.
Ms Melita Teo, Chief Customer and Digital Officer, AIA Singapore
One of the biggest problems that arose from the COVID-19 was our mental health. Due to the precarious job landscape and the pandemic fears, many Singaporeans have reported a decline in their mental health. A survey by OSIM, conducted between July and August 2020, also revealed that almost two-thirds of the 385 respondents experienced an increase in stress levels. In fact, the National Care Hotline received more than 6,600 calls in a month. An estimated one-sixth of these people have been identified as requiring more targeted support thereafter.
Not only that, but the effects of COVID-19 are also long lasting. 60% of the Singaporeans surveyed by AIA reported that they are anxious about the post-COVID-19 world.
However, the silver lining in this is that a group of those surveyed in AIA’s report also reported improvements to their mental health as well. Approximately 30% of Singaporeans reported having more sleep, more nutritious meals and more time with family. All of these have led to less stress and anxiety in a number of individuals as well. Most of the OSIM Wellness Survey respondents demonstrated a high level of awareness and proactiveness in managing their stress. Which would explain the increase in the participation of sports and receptiveness towards at-home sensory therapies, with 85% selecting massage as the most effective form of sensory therapy, followed by music therapy (74%) and aromatherapy (71%).
We have fought and come a long way through the COVID-19. And as a nation, there is much to celebrate. As the dust settles down, many of us are excited to move forward from this pandemic.l
However, let us not forget a large group of us who are still struggling to cope with these changes. As the saying goes “To go fast, go alone. To go far, go together”.
This journey of recovery cannot be done well, if not done together.
Images: OSIM and Unsplash