I wish I woke up to the sound of birds chirping and a warm embrace from the sun’s morning rays, but instead I get greeted by anxiety – the complete opposite of that fairytale feeling. Even before seeing my schedule, I already feel overwhelmed by the day ahead, and it makes me want to hit the snooze button for the next few hours (or days). Do you wake up with a head full of racing thoughts too?

Morning anxiety is a common occurrence, even for those who don’t have an anxiety disorder. It refers to the anticipatory anxiety that occurs at the beginning of the day. Stress and worry about work, and other pressures such as socialising, start flooding in and you may even sleep in to avoid the day’s responsibilities as much as you can. If you were already anxious the night before, cortisol (the stress hormone) is usually at its highest in the first hour of waking up – which is why you feel even more stressed than you previously were.

Try minimising your morning anxiety with these self-care methods:

  1. Breathe – Practice deep breathing exercises to alleviate your anxiety. Inhale and exhale slowly while keeping your shoulders and jaw relaxed.
  2. Journal – Identify your feelings by writing them down, and then address these anxious thoughts. Create a positive mantra to help counter these negative statements.
  3. Move! – Exercise reduces your stress hormone levels, and since cortisol is as at its highest upon waking up, moving your body within the first hour of the day can provide stress relief.
  4. Avoid caffeine – Caffeine can make your anxiety worse, but if you just can’t give up your morning cup of coffee, reduce your intake, especially when you’re not feeling well.
  5. Plan out your day – If you’re anxious because of an overly demanding schedule, planning out your day can help you start on a productive note. Seeing and organising your tasks on paper can also make it feel less overwhelming.

Please consult a mental health professional if your morning anxiety gets worse and starts affecting your daily life. Don’t be afraid to – they will be able to treat your anxiety disorder and help you feel better.

As the month of love comes to an end, we wanted to remind you that showing yourself some love will always be necessary. You can gift yourself a little self-love every night with a calming cup of tea, relaxing aromatherapy oil, or even a soothing scented candle – anything that will help you press pause and indulge in some quality me-time.

We also wanted to share our self-care must-haves with you! Treat yourself to a well-deserved break with these small gifts from some of our favourite local brands:

 

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A soothing blend, this herbal tea promotes relaxation, helps reduce stress and anxiety, and improves sleep.

 

 

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Lavender, Clary Sage, Peppermint – this is the perfect combination for deep relaxation, as well as the relief of headaches.

 

 

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This night serum will have you waking up with glowing skin thanks to its exfoliating AHA and collagen-boosting Vitamin C ingredients.

 

 

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A post shared by Borneo Candle Studio (@borneocandlestudio)

A refreshing blend of eucalyptus, mint and lavender, lighting this candle will help put your mind at ease after a long, stressful day.

 

 

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This heart-shaped rose quartz gua sha stone evokes the spirit of self-love – use it give yourself a relaxing facial massage with your go-to oils.

When you’re depressed, you feel depleted – you don’t have the energy or motivation to do anything, let alone clean up your room. Along with this, another sign of depression is the inability to focus, which makes it hard for you to keep up with your day-to-day chores. When cleaning becomes less of a priority, a mess begins to accumulate, and the bigger it gets, the more stress and negative emotions it brings with it.

If you’ve been feeling down, here are six things you can try to start cleaning up again:

  1. Start with 5 minutes
    Find an area to focus on and set a timer – this could be a pile of clothes on the floor, a cluttered coffee table or a kitchen counter than needs a good scrub. Do as much as you can, and once the five minutes is up, take a break. You can do this again in a few minutes, hours or even the next day.
  2. Clean everyday
    You don’t have to clean the entire house or even a whole room – just do a little bit of cleaning everyday to get into the habit and avoid messes from building up. If you need some motivation, create a checklist, which will also help you stay organised. Slowly work your way through it during the week.
  3. Do the small things first
    It’s normal to procrastinate when you have a big, daunting task to do, such as cleaning an entire room or house. Instead, break these tasks into smaller, more manageable chunks – for example, changing your bed sheets and organising your desk as a start to cleaning your room.
  4. Colour code it
    If you don’t know where to start, a fun way can be to pick a colour and look for things in that colour that need to be put away, thrown away or cleaned. Take a break between each colour.
  5. Clean as you go
    Even when you’re not feeling down, this takes discipline, but it is self-care! It protects your future self from having to struggle with cleaning an even bigger mess. Get into the habit of putting away, throwing away and washing things after using them.
  6. Ask for help
    Don’t be afraid to ask your family members, roommates or partners for help when it comes to housework. Do let them know why you’re struggling with it. If you’re able to, hire someone to help clean up or talk to a therapist about your problems with staying on task.

The hardest part is starting, so be proud of yourself for doing as much as you can – even if it may seem small at first. Try your best to get things in order because when you’re depressed, a messy home can cause further stress and anxiety. Don’t forget to cut yourself some slack in the process!

When I think of self-care, I think of a garden that’s under my care. In my mind, it has the potential to become this magical place, but it’s not always rainbows or butterflies to begin with. To grow a lush green garden, we must be willing to get our hands dirty and put in the work. Planting seeds and pulling out weeds won’t be pretty, but real self-care involves paying attention to what’s stunting your growth and developing healthier habits.

There’ll be a lot of blood, sweat and tears when it comes to self-discipline, painful healing and behaviour correcting. But your garden requires regular maintenance and constant growth in order to thrive. If you neglect it, or forget about it for too long, it will wither. Start with these 5 steps to grow real self-care:

  1. Plant your purpose
    We all have our own reasons for wanting to practice self-care. Imagine the best version of yourself and write down what you need to do to become that.
  2. Prioritise your mental health and happiness
    These should be the pride and joy of your garden. Set healthy boundaries to protect your emotional space when it comes to work and personal relationships.
  3. Focus on growth
    Give yourself permission to grow. Commit to practicing real self-care on the daily, and make a conscious effort to maintain your mental health and happiness.
  4. Address root issues
    Dig deep into the root of your problems. When we ignore our issues, we allow ourselves to get stuck in bad habits and negative thought patterns instead of finding a solution.
  5. Go at your own pace
    Don’t compare your progress to anyone else’s. Give yourself all the time and patience needed to grow and blossom.

In order to flourish, you must nurture and support yourself. Start small, take responsibility and reflect honestly. You’ve got this!

Growing up, most of us were taught to work hard and respect others. ‘Tiger’ parenting and ‘kiasu’ culture pushed some of us into the direction of high-ranking universities and reputable companies, with no regard for our mental health. As millennials, the relentless pressure to succeed continued in adulthood with the rise of hustle culture on social media (being busy is now considered ‘glamorous’).

We’ve spent almost our entire lives listening to others, and comparing ourselves to others, when we should actually be prioritising ourselves. Boundaries can help us do this – they protect our health and wellbeing, and provide us with a sense of self. It’s not going to be easy, and you will feel guilty at first, but here’s why we must allocate time and space for ourselves: 

What are boundaries?

Boundaries are the rules we create to protect our needs. They can be applied within our relationships, career, and even online to communicate our limits and ensure our safety.

Why do we need boundaries?

How can we set boundaries?

  1. Identify your limits

What makes you feel uncomfortable? Check in with your body as well – what makes you tense up?

  1. Be assertive

When it comes to communicating your limits, be direct, but avoid being aggressive. Use ‘I’ statements, such as, “I feel overwhelmed when the house is a mess because I already spend so much time cleaning it. What I need is help to keep it clean”. This allows you to express your feelings without blaming anyone.

  1. Give yourself permission to say no

It can be hard to say “no”, especially in Malaysia where there is a face-saving culture. Let go of the fear of looking selfish or coming off as rude – you don’t owe anyone an explanation.

  1. Develop a support system

Boundaries take determination. If you’re having a hard time with them, turn to your family and friends for support – you can practice asserting boundaries together and hold each other accountable.

When we’re able to define our boundaries, we’re able to have more respect for ourselves. Boundaries can protect us from physical and emotional intrusion, and empower us to make healthy choices and take responsibility for ourselves. Setting boundaries is a process, but don’t let fear and guilt prevent you from taking care of yourself!

With love comes hate, even on Valentine’s Day. You’re either all for the love-fest, celebrating it with your special someone, or against it – rolling your eyes at every heart-shaped reminder. Despite what many people believe, you don’t have to be in a romantic relationship to embrace a day dedicated to love. Celebrate your friends, your family, and even yourself! After all, the most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one with yourself.

We tend to shy away from self-love because we’re afraid of coming off as vain, but as self-care becomes normalised (finally!), self-love is becoming the new #relationshipgoals. Shower yourself with the same love you give others! Make it rain because love isn’t just for those with someone to love. Even if you are in a relationship, loving yourself can help you be a better partner and set healthy boundaries.

Kickstart your self-love journey this Valentine’s Day with stories from these inspiring individuals!

 

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“Self-love is so important because you can’t pour from an empty cup. I believe to truly be able to love and care for others, we have to first love and care for ourselves. I think self-love is also important so that we don’t seek validation and affirmation from external sources. You are complete on your own, and truly loving yourself eliminates a lot of the unnecessary expectations we tend to put onto our romantic partners.”

Bay Doucet is Instagram’s ‘Self-Care Sweetheart’! Her calming, aesthetic, fun-filled feed showcases the graphic designer genuinely expressing herself, and documenting her life as a content creator, model and writer as well. What we love about Bay is that she always keeps it real, especially on her Instagram Stories where she shares her honest feelings and the truth about self-care.

What are 5 things you love about yourself?

When did you start you self-love journey?

How do you practice self-love?

Connect with Bay on Instagram where she shares her favourite local brands, cat-mom life and other daily musings!

 

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“Self-love is important because to be the best, in anything, we have to love ourselves first. Other people can’t always help us when we’re in difficult situations – sometimes in life we will only have ourselves.”

We were first captivated by Hikmah Razlan when she was featured as one of the beauties in BeauTyra’s campaign. The model turned content creator uses her social media feed for good – inspiring confidence and compassion in others with her bright smile and positive attitude. What we love about Hikmah is the heartfelt letters she writes to herself in her captions, proving that when you’re your biggest fan, no one can bring you down!

What are 5 things you love about yourself?

When did you start you self-love journey?

How do you practice self-love?

Follow Himkah on Instagram for product reviews and all-round good vibes!

 

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“When you love yourself, you start wanting better for yourself, and you make better choices for yourself. You advocate for your needs and boundaries, which empowers you as an individual to not only show up for yourself, but for others too.”

You’ve probably come across one of Catherhea Teoh‘s powerful portraits on social media. The photographer and activist is known for capturing the beauty of diversity and directing the spotlight on underrepresented communities in Malaysia (she even won an MTV EMA award for this!). What we love about Catherhea is her dedication to growth – she actively shares what she’s learning, unlearning and relearning on her Instagram Stories.

What are 5 things you love about yourself?

When did you start you self-love journey?

How do you practice self-love?

If you’re looking for a photographer or content creator, check out Catherhea’s ‘MCO’ promotion here – it’s specially designed for small business owners!

 

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“In a society where everyone wants you to be someone you are not, cultivating self-love gives you the courage to be authentically and unapologetically you.”

Jeslinda Paul is on a mission to bring awareness towards the disabled in Malaysia by sharing her recovery and self-love journey! The model and Persons With Disabilities advocate is not afraid to be herself on social media, reminding everyone how special they are through her Instagram posts. What we love about Jeslinda is how empowering her feed is to help others feel just as strong and confident as she does.

What are 5 things you love about yourself?

When did you start you self-love journey?

How do you practice self-love?

For more content on self-love, mindfulness and gratitude, follow Jeslinda on Instagram!

 

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A post shared by Von (@von115)

“Self-love gives me courage and confidence. It is also an act of self-respect, appreciation and acceptance. When I truly love myself, I no longer care about what others talk about me or how they see me. I’m the only one that matters. It makes me happier and healthier.”

Von Chong‘s been taking TikTok by storm with her fashion-forward looks! The content creator shares her confidence, advice, and daily adventures on social media to empower others and herself. What we love about Von is how welcoming she is, making her the ultimate TikTok bestie and go-to for Instagram fashion inspo!

What are 5 things you love about yourself?

When did you start you self-love journey?

How do you practice self-love?

Follow Von on Instagram and TikTok for style advice and fashion inspiration!

Don’t worry, a healthy relationship with food isn’t another diet. It’s actually going against diet culture by developing a positive attitude towards eating. As Malaysians, how can we not love food? We have a variety of mouth-watering cuisines to indulge in, but does it still count as enjoyment if we feel bad afterwards?

Unfortunately, we all have beaten ourselves up for eating in a way that society says is ‘too much’ or unhealthy. As drool-worthy as our dishes may be, most of us look at our food with fear (even when we’re snapping a pic of it). It’s this fear of judgement, and the guilt that follows after, that’s unhealthy. 

A healthy relationship with food allows you to listen to your own feelings, cravings and needs, instead of external (and totally unfair) ‘rules’. Developing this relationship does take conscious effort. We’ve asked Nutrivin, a platform run by soon-to-be dietitian, Jane Chong, for some advice on how to feel at peace with food:

 

What does it mean to have a healthy relationship with food?

“It’s not about the types of food you eat or the quality of your diet, but rather why you choose the foods you eat. Besides getting nourishment from food, you’re also connecting to different cultures and people, exploring new food and finding joy in them.”

 

Why is it important?

“It’s so common for us to comment on the food we or others eat, that it’s considered ‘normal’ or socially acceptable. This is actually a vicious cycle that can be damaging to a person’s physical and mental wellbeing. When we have a healthy relationship with food, it relieves this stress and anxiety around eating.”

 

What is considered a bad relationship with food?

“Not giving yourself permission to eat. For example, you follow strict diets or feel the need to ‘make up’ for eating unhealthy food. When you restrict yourself from eating, you end up ignoring your body’s hunger cues. You may do this because you’re afraid of being judged.”

 

How can we improve our eating habits?

“By improving your eating experience. Find out what would satisfy your body and mind. Practice mindful eating to truly enjoy your food – you can do this by engaging all your senses and eating without any distractions. This will help you appreciate food better and develop a more positive attitude towards eating.”

 

Please do not blame yourself for your eating behaviors – diet culture has dictated how we should eat for far too long. Start by being kinder to yourself and paying attention to your body’s wants and needs. You’ll soon begin to feel what it really means to enjoy food and eating!

Follow Nutrivin on Instagram for more advice on nutrition, health, body image and wellbeing.

Finally, self-love and self-care have started to be normalised as everyone becomes more aware of their significance during these difficult times. They helps us healthily manoeuvre through life – taking care of our mind, body, and soul. But what exactly is self-love? It’s loving ourselves by genuinely appreciating our strengths; accepting our weaknesses; and showing ourselves kindness and compassion, unconditionally.

Human beings are complex social animals – there is no average human, we are all different in our own ways. However, due to sociocultural pressures and expectations of the ‘ideal’ individual, we often succumb to the anxieties of idealism instead of acceptance.

Self-love is accepting all parts of yourself – especially the darkest parts, which is your shadow side. It is knowing when to walk away, setting boundaries, honouring your worth, allowing room for mistakes and working your way towards being the best version of yourself (not someone else). It is remembering that you are, indeed, human – not a robot.

But fully accepting who you are does not equate to enabling your problematic behaviours.

You may have had a tough week and want to take some time to relax – which is fine, go ahead and do it! However, it does not mean that you should stray away from reality for too long and ignore all your responsibilities. Abandoning your workstation to binge watch movies for days on end (while being well aware that you have deadlines to meet) because you feel stressed is not what self-love is – it’s actually the opposite!

Protecting ourselves from the stressors of harsh realities may seem like the easiest way to deal with things because it makes us feel safe and comfortable. In turn, we get used to this and call it self-love – when it is actually a form of ego-love.

Choosing the path of achieving instant satisfaction and indulging in denial may seem like the next best thing we know for ourselves. Yet, this path does not help us grow into the person we want for ourselves. In hindsight, you’ll start to realise that this just might be the cause of your own suffering and lead to self-deprecating thoughts; feelings of inadequacy; expectations of perfection; and the root of your lack of self-love.

Taking accountability for our actions may seem difficult, but it is essential for taking the first step in fully accepting ourselves for who we are. Understanding the difference between self-love and ego love is vital to build the life we want to live in. When we love ourselves, we want what’s best for ourselves, and we do things that make us happy (even if it’s not immediate).

We know self-love isn’t as simple as it seems – we all struggle to give ourselves the love, compassion, and kindness we give others on the daily due to a myriad of factors and past experiences. But despite the complexities of it, self-awareness is key to shifting our mindsets in accepting the self as it is – whilst working towards being a better version of ourselves than we were yesterday <3

We entered 2021 hopeful, but cautious. Hopeful because there’s a vaccine on the way, and things were slowly starting to feel normal again. Cautious because if there’s anything we learned from last year (other than just how important mental health and hygiene are), it’s to always expect the unexpected.

We were given less than two weeks to revel in the glow of a new year before going back into lockdown. Businesses were barely surviving, unemployment rates were rising, and mentally, everyone was trying to “hang in there”. Now here we are, two weeks later and a week closer to another month. As relieving as pay day is, it has recently left some of us wondering if it may be our last, or the beginning of pay cuts.

If you haven’t already, it’s time to start keeping track of your finances, and prepare for any uncertainties. Taking charge of your expenses can seem intimidating at first, but it will allow you to adjust your spending habits for reduced incomes, and plan out your savings in case of an emergency. Here’s how you can start tracking your finances to cope with the current climate:

  1. Organize your finances

First and foremost, you’ve got to face the ugly truth. Gah! Head to your bank account and download your most recent bank statements. Start by separating your expenses into two categories: Fixed Costs (Needs) and Variable Costs (Wants). Your fixed costs are essential recurring costs, such as rent, car loans, phone bills, groceries – these are all necessities. Variable costs are those you can do without, like eating out, buying clothes, subscriptions and memberships.

  1. Develop a budget

Now that you know how much your fixed expenses are, you can calculate how much you’re able to save, and spend on variable expenses. Divide the spendable amount by weeks, or days, to give you a better understanding of how much to spend. We recently found out that a majority of our followers don’t have a budget because they don’t believe they have enough money – it’s not about having excess cash, it’s about tracking your finances and making sure you spend within your means. You can learn more about budgeting from HeyAlfred, a personal finance app, here.

  1. Create a table

Get into the habit of tracking your finances daily – it makes it easier for you to remember what you’ve spent on. A spreadsheet will allow you to see how much money you have left to spend, and help you decide which variable costs to reduce or eliminate. You can follow our example below:

Email us at contact@wildginger.my for the editable and automatically-calculated template!

Now that we’re stuck at home, you may find yourself glued to your phone more (if that’s even possible). My New Year’s resolution was to decrease my screen time, but that went out the door the second we had to close ours for yet another lockdown. From devastating floods, to unfair anti-LGBTQ+ punishments, and a terrifying rise in gender-based violence – the bad news doesn’t seem to end. And we can’t stop checking for it.

To be fair, we are still in a state of emergency, so it’s important to stay informed, but it goes from helpful to unhealthy when we start obsessively scrolling through social media. The bad news begins to take a toll on our mental health, bringing more anxious feelings and negative emotions with it. As our anxiety goes up, and our mood goes down, we can’t help but to feel hopeless all over again. Here’s why you should start limiting your daily news consumption.

What is doomscrolling?

Doomscrolling is used to describe our tendency to continue scrolling through bad news, regardless of how saddening, disheartening, or depressing it is. Surprisingly, it’s not a new term, but after the year we’ve had – we get why it’s become a buzzword.

Why do we do it?

Not being allowed to leave the house has left us with a lot of free time our hands (sometimes too much). Without our regular activities and entertainment, negative news has taken over our conversations, and even caused FOMO as we see others speak up about social issues. Other than seeing it as a way to connect with others, it also gives us a sense of control – something we desperately need during a time of uncertainty and uncontrollability. Staying up to date has also made us feel productive, as well as prepared for future dangers and threats. It doesn’t help that most of us are addicted to using our phones either, which makes our social media habits even unhealthier.

How do we stop?

What will make you put down your phone – deleting apps, turning off notifications? If you still don’t trust yourself, set screen time limits to stop you from spending too much time scrolling. Use your newly freed-up time to do activities that you need, or want, to do as an enjoyable, and actually productive, distraction. After reading the news, don’t forget to allow your self to rest and release any tension.

Find out how to develop a healthier relationship with social media here, or how to cope with compassion fatigue here.

Talking to someone can help bring us relief during these difficult times. As we try to cope with a pandemic on top of our personal problems, our day-to-day struggles may start to feel more overwhelming. Who do you turn to when you’re having a bad moment?

We can either turn to our family and friends, or go see a therapist, but as available as these options might seem – they aren’t always accessible. Opening up to your family and friends can be discouraging if they don’t understand you, judge you, or provide you with biased feedback. Therapy doesn’t fit into everyone’s budget or schedule, and many are afraid to seek help.

This is where the PlusVibes app comes in with anonymity and free emotional support. It offers users a safe space to talk about their feelings, without the fear of being judged, and always provides someone to listen. We spoke to founder, Madiha Fuad, about the first all-in-one platform for mental health and wellbeing, and how it’s destigmatising mental health in Malaysia:

What is PlusVibes?

PlusVibes is an all-in-one platform that provides various types of support and motivation, which includes connecting you to NGOs, mental health clinics and associations.

What are the main features?

  • Wheel of Life – a tool that helps you visualise all the important areas of your life at once. Upon signing up, you are required to rate all the areas in your life from satisfactory to least satisfactory – this will then translate into a carefully curated Explore Page that features helpful articles, quotes and videos that focus on guiding you with ways to deal with specific areas in your life that you may need help with.
  • Relaxation Activities – including Yoga / Meditation / Zumba videos, Short Exercises, Sound Wave Therapy, Peaceful Soundtracks, Anxiety Relief Techniques and Calming Voiceovers which comprises top viewed guidance videos that can help you stay healthy and achieve a state of calmness.
  • Talk to Someone – start a conversation with a mental health professional, qualified listeners and even mental health associations that we are partnered with, with the intention of providing easy access for everyone to seek the help that they need without having to leave their homes.

What makes PlusVibes different?

We offer a free platform for the mass market, access to counsellors and advisors without the expensive clinic fees, and offer anonymity for users to encourage open communication. Our aim is to break the cultural stigma, and create a community that empowers, as well as understands one another. 

What pushed you to start PlusVibes?

In 2019, I was running a few businesses and I was pursuing my PhD. It was a high time and a positive chapter in my life. But this turned around in 2020, when I was diagnosed with a damaged long thoracic nerve. It affected my ability to work and worst of all, I was constantly on nerve medication and painkillers, and it was MCO. So how does one have a positive mindset in that situation? Where physical limitation affected and put every aspect of my life at risk. It was during this time that I truly understood what depression and anxiety meant, and how it could easily affect your happiness and productivity. I was struggling to cope with nerve pain, but my struggles were not visible to the public eye – life still went on and I still had commitments. (On that note, I feel like most people can relate to this – having a silent struggle where people assume you are okay.)

As someone who is not able to open up emotionally, as I have always been an independent person, those times were the toughest. I realised that bottling emotions was severely affecting my health and mental health. My only source of motivation were the articles and videos that I would search up online to keep my feelings at bay, but it took a lot of effort (Google, YouTube, Flipboard). I had to go on different platforms to search for motivational content. On top of that, I had to search for counsellors, and I could only contact ones that were available through calls due to my physical limitation.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit globally, I realised that it impacted and put a higher percentage of people in emotional distress, and I could easily relate to that – which is why I decided that this is the best time to create a platform where people from all walks of life, who are going through the same struggles, can find support and motivation.

As there is still a stigma surrounding mental health in Malaysia, how popular has virtual therapy been?

The app has been on the App Store and Google Play Store for a little over 3 months now (since it first became available for download in the beginning of October), and to date, we have gotten 5,500 active users with up to 200 Chat Requests per day. Users are encouraged to rate the chat sessions, and the feedback has been very positive with our overall chat rating being 4.7 out of 5.

Based on our data, we’ve learned that the ‘Talk to Someone’ feature has been the users’ go-to as they find it much more convenient to now be able to express themselves freely and comfortably as their identity is kept 100% anonymous.

Majority of our users are aged between 13 – 22, which means they may not necessarily have the financial means to attend paid sessions with mental health professionals. Virtual chat sessions on our app with the ​Vibers (qualified listeners / counsellors / therapists) has been a great solution in catering to their need for emotional support, especially with the current pandemic and restrictions.

Are people still afraid to open up even though their identity is kept anonymous?

As both users and ​Vibers identities are kept hidden, we realise that this has actually encouraged people to open up easier as they do not have to worry about preconceived notions being formed based on their background, race, or even sexuality.

For those who are used to receiving in-person support, did they find it harder to express themselves online?

This was an initial concern, however throughout the pandemic, with the limitation of on-site sessions and having to resort to online-basis counselling / therapy, we’ve learned that this has actually been a more convenient avenue – especially for the youth as most of them prefer a more technological approach since everyone is dependent on their mobile phones. Being able to express themselves online actually provides easier access to those who are in need of help as they are able to get the support they need remotely.

What else can be done to encourage people to seek the help they need?

Destigmatising mental health has been quite a recent effort in Malaysia, therefore we understand that it will take some time for people to perceive mental health as a norm, and that it is equally as important as physical health. At this point of time, we believe it is important to educate society and create awareness so that all generations from all walks of life would have a good understanding on this matter. 

We also believe that when public figures, celebrities or influencers open up about their mental conditions – it carries weight in making the community feel that they are not alone in what they go through or how they feel. This would hopefully help encourage people to seek help for their mental wellbeing the same way they would go to a clinic when they are feeling sick.

How can one volunteer as a Viber?

We are on a constant lookout for more volunteers to join us as Vibers! This would be a great opportunity for Psychology / Counselling graduates to contribute to the community as a shoulder to lean on, and to gain firsthand working experience as a listener. Those who are qualified and interested are welcome to apply as a Viber here.

As a society, what can we do to maintain this mental health culture after the pandemic is over?

We believe that it is important to incorporate mental health learning / programmes into our education system to educate the youth from a young age on mental health, so that this will no longer be a taboo topic in the future.

It is also important to continuously create awareness and have more talk shows / publications that would highlight this subject in order to broaden the knowledge of the society.

What else does PlusVibes do?

We are currently working on a program to highlight the importance of mental health amongst adolescents called the Mental Resilience Programme, targeting orphanages / children homes, universities and schools. The program includes a comprehensive module that involves motivational talks from eligible speakers, as well as activities and a workbook to guide the participants. We encourage individuals / institutions that would like us to carry out this program for their student body or even employees to reach out to us here.

We also cater to employee’s mental health benefits. Companies are able to gain insight on focus areas, such as financial assistance, childcare, stress management, etc that their employees need assistance in. As for employees, they are able to seek advice anonymously while also focusing on their own self-improvement journey! Interested organisations may contact us here. ​

 

Download PlusVibes – Support & Motivate on the App Store and Google Play Store, and follow them on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for more emotional health support. Look out for their upcoming PlusVibes TV series on YouTube!

 

When we say, “good vibes only”, of course we mean well! After all, we’re purely asking for positivity – what’s so wrong about that? You’ve probably seen the term ‘toxic positivity’ going around social media lately. To clear up your confusion, it can be defined as the use of positivity to dismiss other genuine emotions. Anger, sadness, and even jealousy – these are human emotions that we all experience and should allow to run their natural course. When we don’t, and instead deny, minimise and invalidate these genuine feelings, it can cause mental health conditions, as well as physical stress.

How should we approach tough times then? With acceptance, validation and most importantly, compassion – towards ourselves and others. Surpass having a victim mentality, and take a step back from toxic positivity, by seeing moments and situations for what they really are. Remember that suffering is only temporary, and give yourself and others hope. Here’s how you can change your thoughts:

When others trust you enough to open up about their struggles, don’t close the door on them! By attempting to “fix” their feelings with false positivity, they might start to isolate themselves and feel even more ashamed about their emotions. Try these words of assurance instead:

It’s okay to have negative feelings! As humans, we all experience these emotions. Start approaching them with validation and hope, and showing yourself and others more compassion. Real vibes only!