Humans of GoCar

What the Pandemic Has Taught Me About Myself

Our fellow GoCar team member and founder of Loneliness Lab reveals his thoughts about working from home and if he’s prepared for this CMCO. We hope you’re really ready, Keith.

Now that we’re back to working from our homes again, how do you feel about this arrangement?

Personally, I would prefer to be in a communal environment but I understand it won’t be safe to do so until there’s a cure. 

While you can have conversations over Zoom or have discussions over virtual meets, unfortunately, there isn’t that same sense of camaraderie. When everyone has their mics muted and cameras switched off, it’s not possible to pick up on their cues and it’s easy to lose that human connection. 

No matter how much technology improves over time, nothing could really replace the human touch. We’re social creatures, after all.

Did you realise you were craving for face-to-face communication over virtual meets when the first MCO happened?

Actually, it started way before MCO but MCO amplified it. Everyone was stuck at home, you couldn’t meet [people], you’re on chain Zoom calls…it kind of left a very serious taste on people’s mental health and also connection because we weren’t able to meet in person. 

Work aside, I’ve also tried the virtual art gallery experience with my friends as we used to visit art galleries pre-Covid. But nothing beats the real thing because we could interact with the artworks and have conversations in person.

Speaking of mental health, I heard your side project has something to do with bringing more awareness on wellbeing and how our cities play a role in that too.

Yes, [my friends and I] started Loneliness Lab because we’ve heard many people saying that they feel a sense of isolation and loneliness despite being socially connected. To break the cycle of anxiety and isolation that most city folks have been feeling, we’re planning to use events to activate social spaces. That way, the community can come together and connect with each other to build those neighbourly relationships.

It’s interesting how a pandemic can show us what matters most in life and change our views on things such as mental health. It’s especially heartwarming to see more people raising awareness on this issue and talking about it openly.

It is, isn’t it? We should continue to normalise conversations around mental health, especially when so many people have been affected during the previous round. If you can, check-in on your friends too to see how they’re doing!

Aside from checking in on your friends, what are some things that you’ve done to reconnect with yourself?

I find journaling helps with clarifying my thoughts. There’s something about the simple practice of writing that helps with self-reflection, enhancing one’s sense of wellbeing, and expressing yourself creatively. 

Do you think you’re more prepared mentally this time?

I’d like to think so but to be honest, it definitely isn’t the preferable situation that I’d like to be in.  To prevent that cabin fever from happening again, I’ll make sure to catch up with my friends more often because while we’re physically distanced, it’s still important to stay socially connected.