Maintaining Social Connections Despite Social Distancing
Overcoming The Challenges Of Social Distancing
Social distancing dominated most of the second quarter of 2020 for me. Our Social Responsibility To Stay Home began with deepening hues of Dorscon Orange. In April, I was actually quarantined at home on account of a friend falling ill from COVID-19. (Fortunately, she has since recovered fully.) Initially I felt professionally emasculated. I missed the frenetic pace of being a full-time front-line warrior. Now my only task was to pick up the phone when the representative from the Ministry of Health called twice a day to check on me. Initially, the social silence was deafening and I couldn’t cope with the isolation. Subsequently, with support from my family, I learnt to adapt to life in quarantine. By the time I was released, the whole of Singapore was in a lock-down known as the Circuit Breaker.
Combating Physical Distancing With Social Connection
During this extended period of physical distancing, I decided it might be interesting to challenge myself creatively. Hence I humbly accepted invitations to participate in social media collaborations. The first DIY photo shoot that I did with a wardrobe sent over by Minor Miracles occurred whilst I was isolated to the third floor of my home. Regardless, the designer & I were pretty pleased with the outcome: https://minormiracles.shop/blogs/our-women/dr-jade-kua. Subsequently, I did various photo shoots for Goldheart jewellery, some restaurants and Avyanna jewellery to raise funds for the Singapore Children’s Society. I also enjoyed collaborating with La Mer for their new range of eye serum as well as to raise funds for ocean conservancy.
Of Mothers’ Music & Feeding Frontliners
Undoubtedly, one of the most interesting projects for my family was recording a song with Mothers’ Club. Together, we sang an original composition by local acapella group MiCapella. This video was launched on Mother’s Day to encourage other moms in isolation:
In addition, I continued to mother my junior doctors by feeding them. Like most Singaporeans, food is my language of love. As the word spread, requests poured in from many other medical teams in various public and private healthcare institutions. Some required square meals. Others who had food catered merely asked for a snack. At the same time, I also had kind donors writing to sponsor meals for frontliners. The final piece of the puzzle was the F&B industry itself. Many restaurants and drivers were struggling to get by due to social distancing measures. In fact, there was even a #savefnbsg campaign. This food drive for healthcare workers fit nicely in.
Hence, the logical thing to do help all parties was to have the donors pay the restaurants to send food to frontliners. This arrangement worked out fantastically, with thousands of meals across the island, without food wastage. When my quarantine ended and I went back to work, it was difficult to manage the coordination. Hence I collaborated with Majulah Movement & My Treat SG to continue to send food to healthcare professionals. At the same time, since we had the logistics in place, we also arranged for meals to be sent to migrant workers in need. This food project made the news! https://cnaluxury.channelnewsasia.com/people/singapore-healthcare-heroes-favourite-food-12807178 Separately, through a collaboration with other societies and charities, we raised more than $800,000 for migrant workers on giving.sg.
Remaining Connected On Social Media
Throughout this period of social distancing and ambiguity, I felt like things were off-balance. Hence I found it helpful to anchor myself with routines. After being a guest on the gracious Andrea Chong’s feed, I discovered IG Live sessions. Subsequently, I started doing daily sessions to journal my day’s intentions, with my audience as an accountability buddy. Most of the time I simply document the day authentically, discussing both personal triumphs & failures, amidst laughter or tears.
Occasionally, partners like K Sisters, Female Entrepreneurs’ Worldwide, Hegen & Merci Marcel invite me to cover various topics. Over the second quarter of 2020, I spoke about mental health and adapting resiliently amidst challenges. I shared about pivoting businesses in a VUCA world with entrepreneurs. With fellow parents, I shared about mindful parenting. Last weekend an article in the Chinese newspapers discussed our IG Live sessions and its place in community education.
This July, we begin a new phase as the circuit breaker eases. Although we should keep our masks on and maintain a healthy social distance, this doesn’t equate to being emotionally shut off. Everyone is experiencing various levels of stress during this terribly volatile and uncertain period. Let’s be mindful and be kind to one another. More importantly, let’s remember to be kind to ourselves.