Lockdown 2.0: How to stay sane

Insight and hopefully some inspiration for ways to keep your head up during some super fun unpredicted times.

Seven Million Bikes Blog

By Ally Fleckenstein

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Tips to stay sane

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Photo by Pexels.

I moved to Saigon in 2020, days before the first lock down in this lively city. I am currently a content writer and The Community Manager for Push Climbing at Saigon Outcast. Niall graciously asked me if I wanted to be a guest on his AMAZING Seven Million Bikes blog, so here I am.

 

Here we are, again. I wanted to share some insight and hopefully some inspiration for ways to keep your head up during some super fun unpredicted times. Just when you thought that the shift was in our favor, wam, bam, shizam! It is NOT. 

 

Friends are asked to leave,  maybe YOU are asked to leave, (I am so sorry, Vietnam will miss you!)  maybe you are now working from home, or still having to go to the office while everyone else gets to work in their PJs, or maybe, like me, you are not working. Either way, none of it is really “normal”. But really, what is normal? I think we all can understand that the concept of normal is somewhere we left in our home countries a long time ago. We are identified as the “crazy” ones who decided to go live in some weird city where we only eat Bahn Mi and Pho, right?

 

But here we are, regardless of our fun scenario, we are here in Saigon at THIS moment in time, doing our damned best to survive. Whatever that may mean to you, I hope that this can at least give you something to do while you take a shit or scroll on your phone aimlessly between the profound troll party on the FB Expat groups. 

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Photo by Pexels

Working from Home: 5 Tips To Stay Productive

1. WORK SPACE :

Create a work space that is clean, where you can see the soggy, rain filled trees and keep water filled at all times. A fresh space where you can see the outside world and stay hydrated goes a long way. Embrace the time spent on creating this “You” space.

 

2. TAKE BREAKS :

Have you heard of the Pomodoro method? There are great timers you can order on Lazada or just use your phone timer. Set times that are realistic and take breaks. What to do on your breaks? Hydrate, have a dance party, cuddle with your pet, make a healthy snack, do some light stretching. I like to keep my yoga mat in sight so I can just plop over when desired. If yoga and healthy snacks are not your thing, stock up your kitchen with your favorite snacks and enjoy eating them while you are not at your “home office space”.

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4Ps Spotify Playlist

3. ORDER YOUR FAV TAKE OUT

Small businesses and F&B are STRUGGLING during these times. Order your favorite meals and “Treat Yo Self.” Plus, most places are offering highly attractive promotions. Enjoy that take out. Eat slowly and savor the moment. Snap a pic and share to your social meeds so the restaurant feels supported and adored. They need it. Trust me. They are grateful for you! 

 

4. LISTEN TO A POD OR MUSIC AS LOUD OR QUIET AS YOU WISH! : 

You are not at the office, enjoy the glory of listening to what you want as loud as you want! Play that Podcast that you’ve been wanting to finish, whatever garbage pop-music or nasty rap that you listen to on your earbuds and let it shine in all its splendor. Pizza 4 P’s created this playlist with YOU in mind. Do you have Spotify? Go HERE to listen to their personalized “Work from Home Mood” Playlist. Pro-Tip : Stand up and dance when you feel the vibe.

 

5. BE THANKFUL :

K, I know this sounds cheesy, but for real! You are working, this means you are taken care of with your TRC, your work permit, you are getting paid and you are able to be in this striking country. When this shit is over, you will be able to travel to Phú Quốc to dance your heart out at Secret Weekend, motorbike across Ha Giang in a couple months or fly to Hội An and relax on An Bang beach. Whatever your holiday of choice is in Vietnam, it will be there waiting for you.

Working At The Office: 5 Tips for your FOMO of those who get to work in their PJs

1. ENJOY THE EMPTY ROADS! :
Enjoy every moment of that commute y’all! We all know the chaos of the city during rush hour, I know it is monsoon season and you may be a little pruny, but at least you are on the road with some freedom! Put on your tunes and enjoy every moment of that commute.

 

2. TAKE SOME TIME TO GET TO KNOW YOUR CO-WORKERS : Now that the office/ work space is a little less chaotic than usual, take breaks and ask questions to people maybe you have not had the chance to communicate with. I see you on your phone while there is seemingly nothing to do sitting next to your office mate or co-worker, but instead stop watching Tik Tok and ask them some questions. You may be surprised.

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Enjoy the empty roads

3. ENJOY THE VIEW ON THE STREETS :
It is no secret that everyone is getting their fitness on. With little to no clothing on, we are keeping it fit around here, even in the rain. Wet t-shirt contest? Around the clock? Yes, please. If you are one of those sexy people exercising ALL the time. Thank you.

 

4. PLAN A “NO MORE LOCKDOWN PARTY!” :
Get together with some of the people in the office and start to plan a fun celebration when things open back up. Ax throwing, a night at one of the many craft breweries in town, team building at the climbing wall, and don’t forget the most HILARIOUS comedy you have ever seen hosted by Seven Million Bikes. You get the point, something to look forward to! This keeps people’s ( most importantly your ) spirit and moral up while we are sitting here dreaming of being in places together again.

 

5. BE THANKFUL : Once again, just as working from home, you are working! Read #5 under WORKING FROM HOME if you did not. #BLESSED.

Not Working: 5 tips to not feel like an unproductive piece of rubbish

(These tips can be applied the same for what to when you get off work)

1. CREATE SOME GOALS :
Whatever your desired hobby or spare time “go to” is, create a routine and allow you to spend some quality time on these hobbies. Whether it is your preferred exercise, playing music or reading. There are loads, and loads of content already created all over the internet on ideas on how to stay busy, but if you are feeling super stale about it all : maybe your goal is walking to the closest Vin Mart before it rains to eat a whole sleeve of Oreos. I support you either way.

 

 

2. PLAN YOUR NEXT VIETNAM HOLIDAY :
Now that pretty much everywhere in the country is offering promotions, message that Airbnb you fell in love with, ask them about a deal for when things open up again. See who is still staying in the country and get an idea of who to invite. Or go solo. Whatever floats your boat. No need to set dates, or book anything but get serious like this holiday is your job. Bust out your excel and math skills, budget everything out, plan as much as you can. Unsure where to start? Start a wish list of places where you have not visited yet and start there. You can very easily get on a rabbit hole of incredible travel worthy spots in Vietnam. Have fun!

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Sunset at An Bang Beach (Photo by Ally Fleckenstein)

3. CALL/ CATCH UP WITH PEOPLE YOU CARE ABOUT :
Once you get past the ridicule of pressuring you to come home where “things are safe”, try to stay open minded and catch up. Remember how you have been free here in Vietnam most of the pandemic? The rest of the world was doing what you are experiencing now. They will appreciate the message or phone call. They also probably can offer some advice since they dealt with this lockdown nonsense WAY longer than you have.

 

4. WRITE REVIEWS FOR YOUR GO TO SPOTS IN SAIGON :
Any restaurants, bars, experiences or places that you frequent, go to their website, FB, google, and write why you cherish them. This will not only offer you some proven happiness, but will also give them the extra support they need now and when they re-open. You can even message them and ask what platform they prefer reviews if you are feeling extra kind. Spend time on your review and allow yourself to get lost remembering the moments that you spent there. This will also re-live why you love to live in this city.

 

5. SEE IF YOU CAN SUPPORT ANYONE IN THE COMMUNITY :
You can start by messaging people that you maybe have not talked to or seen since the lock down, check in if they are able to stay in Vietnam. If they are having to leave – offer your support. It may be helping them sell their possessions, sort out their pets, or just giving them some love while they are most likely hella stressed out. Want to support the local community? Research if any organizations are doing community drives for those in need. Struggling to find one, maybe start one? If foreigners are being asked to leave, see about their possessions being donated to support families or education institutions who may be able to use what they are leaving behind. Get creative and try to make a difference, even if it is small.

Still feeling stale and bored?

There are still things to do thanks to all the fantastic motivated folks in this city! Check out the Online Quiz Nights via Zoom hosted by Seven Million Bikes’ Niall Mackay. Looking for after work drinks with your partner/roomie? Read HERE for these helpful guides on where to get the best cocktails and beer delivered in town! Like I said before, go for a walk. Check out the “real estate”, Wink,Wink.

 

Embrace those hot bods on the street, the endless sleeves of Oreos, the long phone calls with your forgotten best friend from home, or planning your next work party or party for yourself.

 

Whatever your situation is: know most of all that you are not alone. Take care of yourself, smile, hug your pet. 

 

Remember that this soon shall pass.

By Ally Fleckenstein

Seven Million Bikes Blog

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Many people struggle to find English entertainment in Vietnam. Seven Million Bikes hosts the popular show A Vietnam Podcast, stand-up comedy and events. Have fun, connect with others and share experiences of Vietnam.