Did you know that your phone could be housing ten times more bacteria than the average toilet seat? Yup, you’re carrying around a germ-ridden device all day, every day, everywhere. Ew!

How, you ask? Toilet seats are often associated with germs and because of that, are cleaned frequently while other commonly touched devices such as phones, laptops and tablets are left out from the cleaning routine. This is based on research carried out by scientists at the University of Arizona eight years ago – imagine how much filthier our devices could be now given that we’ve become increasingly more attached and reliant on technology?

With the Coronavirus outbreak, this gives us some food for thought towards our personal hygiene, especially when we can’t keep our hands off these germ magnets, but hold on! Before you start freaking out, phones aren’t the main cause of spreading disease. Coronavirus, like most respiratory viruses, are primarily spread through coughs and sneezes. But if respiratory droplets were to land on your phone, the virus could possibly live up to 96 hours on it.

Sanitising your phone regularly might not be such a bad idea after all, but most importantly, wash your hands regularly. If not, you’re just re-contaminating your phone and other devices as soon as you touch them again.

Time to pickup some good tech hygiene habits

Regardless of a pandemic, your devices are in need of some serious cleaning. But how do we clean them when they’re sensitive to cleaning products? Don’t worry, we’re not asking you to soak them in soap and water or pour gooey hand sanitizer over it.

Below are some steps that will keep your devices as clean as possible without damaging them. Do these steps regularly and make it a habit for a more hygienic lifestyle!

  1. Cleaning your phone and tablet

Antibacterial wipes or rubbing alcohol are great for sanitising your phones and tablets and can be easily found at the pharmacy. If you’re using rubbing alcohol, apply it to a cotton pad and gently rub along the screen and chasis of your phone.  If you have a case for your phone or tablet, be sure to take it off and clean it separately – you can use the same method to clean your case or you can wash it thoroughly with soap and water for extra reassurance.

2. Cleaning your laptop and desktop PC peripherals

As laptops travel with you more, so does its chances of picking up unwanted dirt and germs. But that doesn’t mean your desktop PC is safe – just like a laptop, a desktop PC can still collect dust from our surroundings, grime from dead skin cells, and germs from our own hands.

Start by turning off and unplugging your laptop or desktop PC.

Keyboard: Turn the laptop or keyboard upside down and gently shake it over a bin, then wipe down the remaining dust with a microfibre cloth. A great way to help you remove dust gently in hard to reach crevices is by using a soft brush, like a large makeup brush.

Once you’ve given it a proper wipe, we recommend using rubbing alcohol to disinfect them instead of antibacterial wipes as you need to use as little moisture as possible, but it’s still fine if that’s your only option. Another secret is to apply rubbing alcohol to cotton buds to reach those crevices between your keys.

Screen/monitor: Just like the keyboard, wipe off dust using a microfiber cloth before rubbing it down with rubbing alcohol or antibacterial cloth.

Mouse: Your mouse spends most of its time in your hand, skittering across the desk. This causes it to pick up a lot of dirt – especially at the mouse feet – from your desk or your hand. Use the same rubbing alcohol or antibacterial wipes, run it over the surface and feet of the mouse. Don’t forget to clean the cords as well! FYI, a toothpick works great at picking out dirt from cracks and crevices.

3. Cleaning your earphones and headphone

For earphones, use a blue-tack to stick to and remove dirt from it or a toothpick to gently scrape off dirt – a fine brush also works great. Don’t forget to apply rubbing alcohol to a cotton bud and give it a final wipe after that.

Headphones, on the other hand are different, as they sit over your ears instead of inside. Unfortunately, the material used for the ear cups isn’t always the same, so we recommend referring to the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid damaging them. However, in most cases, a quick wipe on the ear cups using antibacterial wipes is enough to clean it. As for the solid surfaces, buttons and cables – rubbing alcohol will also do the job.

Bonus: Cleaning you game controller

A game controller spends its entire time in your hands whenever in use and becomes a magnet for dead skin cells. Just like the mouse, give it a quick wipe over the surface, buttons and cable with antibacterial wipes or rubbing alcohol. Then use a toothpick to remove any gunk stuck in between the crevices.

Clean regularly

It’s less work to clean your devices if you do it regularly as you don’t give the dirt time to settle in and get caked into the grime. Let’s not forget that it’s also more hygienic, especially for devices such as smartphones, tablets and laptops as they are regularly exposed to your hands.

The COVID-19 crisis has caused an economic downturn with businesses being forced to either shut down or implement cost cutting measures that include pay cuts and layoffs. This has many employees living with the fear and anxiety of losing their jobs.

By creating an emergency fund, you’ll be able to financially prepare for any emergencies, such as unemployment, with a safety net to fall back on. Emergency funds can keep you covered during a time of need without having to depend on credit cards or high-interest loans. If you already have debt, this can help prevent you from accumulating more.

Ideally, an emergency fund should cover 6 months of your expenses, but during pressings times like these – here’s how you can start saving right away:

1. Calculate your expenses

It’s important to know where your money is going rather than wondering where every time you check your bank balance. Go through your recent account statements and create a spreadsheet that shows your daily, weekly and monthly expenses. This will help you understand your financial situation better.

2. See what you can cut out

As we’re not encouraged to eat out and saving travel costs by working from home – put aside what you would usually spend instead of using it to shop online (we know how tempting it is!). Find and cancel any unused paid subscriptions, as well as review your current plans, such as cellphone and insurance, to see if there’s a more cost-effective alternative.

3. Create a savings account

It’s easier to see, and not touch, your savings when it’s kept separately from what you spend. Open a savings account at the same bank or one that has a higher interest rate – it needs to be accessible in case of an emergency.

4. Set a savings goal

Moving forward, set a target for you to save daily, weekly and monthly to get into the habit of saving regularly. You’ll be able to see that even saving RM5 a day can amount to almost RM2,000 at the end of the year! This makes it more encouraging and easier to do.

It’s become more essential to start an emergency fund for both your financial stability and peace of mind. All you need are the right goals and a realistic plan to match!

During a time of social distancing and restricted movement, we find ourselves physically isolated – but that doesn’t mean we can’t connect with each other. It’s actually essential that we do so during times like these because now, more than ever, we need each other the most!

The rise in coronavirus cases has evolved into another national crisis that’s called for us to support our own communities. If you’ve been struggling to deal with problems on your own – self-care isn’t enough to get you through this pandemic. With community care, you’ll be provided the support needed during these hard times, making collective care key to getting through this.

But what exactly is community care? It’s the compassion we show others, whether one or many, and the actions we take to do so – regardless of the size. Here are a few ways you can practice community care during the CMCO:

  1. Support small businesses

During the first lockdown, small businesses took a big hit – seeing the closure of many stores and restaurants across the nation. The other remaining enterprises have been struggling to stay afloat, which is why it would really help to order from home-based food businesses, buy groceries from local farmers, and shop local products from home-grown brands.

2. Check in on your family, friends and colleagues

The uncertainty has made it a stressful and anxiety-inducing time for us all, so if you have the mental capacity to do so – check in on others and let them know you’re there for them. Even if you’re unable to, show that you still care by sending them an emoji or even a song!

3. Help those in need

You don’t always have to donate money to help, you can also volunteer your time and skills. Start a fundraising campaign, help raise funds by sharing an existing campaign, or go through your belongings to find things you can donate.

4. Check for facts and fake news

This is important for everyone’s mental health and wellbeing as the spread of fake news and rumours have caused many to feel anxious and overwhelmed. Stay informed and double check any news you receive before sharing it – make sure it comes from a reputable source!

5. Be more eco-friendly

For hygiene reasons, the use of disposable plastic products has rapidly grown – causing the pandemic to have a negative effect on the environment as well. Make the effort to minimise your single-use plastic waste by switching to reusable bottles, cutlery and containers. Don’t forget to sanitize!

Community care isn’t here to replace self-care, it’s a necessary addition to it. Take care of yourself and others during this time – the only way we can curb COVID-19 again is by working together!

Can you believe it’s almost been a year since the COVID-19 outbreak? As much as we want it to end by 2021, The Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center shows that there is an increasing rate of infections coming from countries who were thought to be controlling their outbreaks.

We’ve experienced lockdowns, travel restrictions, strict guidelines, and just when we were getting used to the new normal – we now find ourselves preparing for another wave. If you’ve started to feel stressed and anxious again from all the fear and uncertainty, here’s how you can cope with those difficult thoughts:

  • Acknowledge what you’re feeling

The World Health Organization puts it best – when we are unaware of our thoughts and feelings, we get hooked on them. Start noticing what you’re thinking and how it makes you feel. By understanding your feelings, you’ll be able to avoid getting consumed by your thoughts.

  • Practice grounding yourself

When you start to feel overwhelmed and distracted, you need to slow down and refocus your attention to the present. Start by focusing on your breathing and then move on to your surroundings. When you worry about the future, your thoughts begin to race so you need to remind yourself that you are in the present.

  • Educate yourself

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention has advised that we get to know the facts about the coronavirus to help reduce the stress from fake news and rumours. Discuss your concerns with a doctor and prepare yourself by finding out where and how to seek treatment.

  • Take care of your body

Stress can also affect your physical health, so it is important to eat healthy food, exercise regularly and get enough sleep. Although there are no foods or dietary supplements that can prevent or cure COVID-19 infection, these are healthy ways to strengthen your immune system.

  • Connect with others

If you’re feeling lonely or isolated, share how you’re feeling with someone you trust or talk to a mental health professional. You can socialise with your family and friends to help distract your mind from stressful thoughts.

 

Remember, it is normal to feel anxious and you don’t always have to be positive – your emotions are valid. Make sure you’re aware of what you’re feeling, and find reassurance in knowing that there are plenty of resources and welcoming arms to help you.

Let’s take care of ourselves and each other during these trying times!