The Department of Psychology at HELP University, Malaysia, brings you our ‘5 Keys Series’ providing five practical tips on five topics to help you stay mentally, emotionally and physically strong. Drawing on evidence-based psychology, you can be sure of getting 5-star quality insight and guidance from HELP University: the university of achievers.

Our second ‘5 Keys Series’ is called “The 5 Keys to Learning and Staying Positive”. Be sure to watch this space to get regular insights into the psychology of everyday living.

By Dr LIANNE BRITTEN and JOELLE KWOK

Are you feeling bored staying at home during this Covid-19 Movement Control Order? Well it’s time to mix it up with some fun and frolics at home with friends and family. Try one or try them all. Let’s key into our inner child and let the fun begin. Here are 5 keys to make fun foremost for Week 4, 5, and 6 of the MCO. Let’s get straight into it!

Key into karaoke-ing at home You may say you can’t sing and that it’s probably a bad idea to have a karaoke session. But I’m here to tell you to IGNORE that thought! I would say if you have a mouth and voice, you can sing! Who cares if you sing well. It’s about putting the fun back into the day, and karaoke is FUN! This is not a singing competition, it is karaoke. If you don’t have a karaoke system at home, here’s a simple guide to setting one up. Or better yet, download an app. There are so many singing apps, here are a few you can try out!

Remember William Hung who gained fame for his “bad” audition on American Idol? Well, be William and be you — William inspired me to turn the competition on its head and the winner is…the one who has the most fun! The worst singer! Yes, the winner can be the worst singer. Okay, it is a crazy idea but it definitely will make you laugh and laugh until you cry! 🤣

If you need a little push, HELP University is having a Singathome Competition to keep our community’s buzz going for the next few weeks at home. Enter it TODAY and you can stand a chance to win RM300. Check out the entries under #HELPUniSingathome on Instragram! Entries are completely free, but make sure you get something in by 12PM on April 16th, 2020 (Thursday)!

Keep the fun going with online gaming with friends & family Most of us probably are not into online battle arena games like Dota, League of Legends, Warcraft or Counter-Strike. No worries mate! There are simple online games that you can play with others virtually. You might recall the app, Plato. The app gained popularity a few years back but it’s coming back to trend! The app holds a library of classic multiplayer games, fielding games of all kinds — Werewolf, Draw Together, UNO, Scrabble, Battleship, Poker, and even Pool. What’s fun is you can invite your friends and play together or choose to go online and challenge other users worldwide. It’s true what they say: the world is your oyster!

Personally, I have tried playing skribbl.io with my sister! LOL yes! You hear me right! Just the two of us in different rooms. She played in her room and I played in mine. It was fun because it switched it up, and gave us something else to talk about. Trust me, try it! It’s way better than just sitting and looking at each other all through the day. We had a laugh and have new things to talk about. So, go get skribbling or any other game that takes your fancy. 😄

Key into card and board games with family members or housemates. Ok, you’ve seen our suggestions and online games are not your cup of tea! No problem. Try the old school way. Dig out your closet and attic and try to find some old games you may have stowed away over the years — Cards like Monopoly GO, UNO or a deck of Poker cards and board games such as Scrabble, Monopoly, Snakes & Ladders and Game of Life. Don’t let them collect dust!

Play with your family members & friends at home. Pull out the chess, checkers or draughts sets! Even a book of crosswords, sudoku or word searches can be fun! Before the MCO, you may not have made time for playing. Now, it is time to bring out the board games, and have fun!

If you don’t have any card or board games, check this out. These board-games are designed by and made here in Malaysia! Use this to test out your Malaysian-ness against your friends and family; see who knows the motherland more than the other and make it a challenge. Our country is full of culture, let’s not stop there. We may be cooped in and it’s stopped us from exploring our beautiful country physically, but there are other means to be Malaysian indoors. Contact them to see if you can purchase these items and have them delivered during the MCO. Let’s support our locals!

Finally, when all else fails, just grab a deck of playing cards. Everyone is surely bound to have one deck lying around in their house. Find those and play Go Fish! All you need is a deck of playing cards and each game lasts around 5–15 minutes. Here are the rules! Sounds like a game for kids? Think again, brain training and memory games are brilliant for stemming off age-related cognitive decline, so get to it!

Still not your cup of tea? Try a game of Solitaire. I remember playing this when my Windows would take forever to load (or I was simply board in class). Can you relate? Then this may be the time for you to relive those memories! There are so many games you can choose to play with just a deck of playing cards, so consider this list of game options. We’ve got Snap, BlackJack, Dai Di (Big Two) and so many more to try out!

Theme dinner Do you feel stuck with the same old routine of 3 meals a day at the same dining table and same setting every day? Well, turn it to a theme dinner every fortnight (see our previous blog Cooking your way through Covid). Play musical chairs for your dinner seat. Have a different feel and environment with different cuisines from around the globe.

Here’s one: try a Japanese theme dinner, you can make your own sushi, sashimi, ramen with green tea (or order in with GrabFood or Food Panda). Try dining sitting on the floor in the authentic Japanese way. Set aside “usual manners” and have competitions following traditional Japanese etiquette and see who can slurp their noodles the loudest to show how much you are enjoying your food! Try dressing in traditional Japanese garb. Just be creative in designing your own “kimono”! 😆 If you want more inspiration, we’ve curated some different themes and cuisines for you to try!

Let’s key into Crafts and DIY With a focus on cleanliness for Covid 19, now is a great time to “spring clean” your house. Get all those unwanted things out and no don’t throw it! Recycle, reduce and re-use! Let’s help the Earth and make some fun, unique gifts for your family members, friends and neighbours.

You can turn a used bottle, jar or drink can into a sparkling lamp. When done, just leave the gift in front of your neighbour’s door with a “Gift for you” note and surprise them! What a wonderful way to spread Easter blessings, and ease the MCO drearies, and show care in the community. Spread the love and be a light that brightens someone’s day. Here are some ideas you can turn trash to treasure and keep our landfills clear of waste.

Want something more relaxing? Here’s another hot tip for pampering you and your friends. Who loves coffee? Well yes! Silly questions. So for all those really big coffee fans out there (kopi-C kosong for me) don’t dump those coffee grounds! USE them to make a sustainable and scrumptiously pampering body scrub. Have a spa day at home and giggle with your friends & family as you share pix of your DIY coffee grounds face mask! Here’s a simple recipe to try:

  1. Your used coffee grounds (If you don’t have a grinder, try these ideas to ground your coffee)
  2. Brown sugar
  3. Coconut oil
  4. Favourite essential oil (lavender is good to calm you).

After MCO, if you like this scrub, grab extra grounds from your favourite Starbucks as they give them away! You can also use them for compost and grow your own vegetables but that is another blog yet to come, so please stay tuned to our profile.😄
So as we enter Week 4 of the MCO, we need to pamper ourselves and find fun ways to stay connected. If you’ve reached here, we’re hoping you have found new and creative ways to have fun and be frolic in Week 4 of the MCO and the next coming weeks indoors.

Please comment, respond and send your tips and tricks in. We want to connect so don’t hesitate to comment on what worked and didn’t work from the above. Let’s add to this and build a TOP 10 from a KEY 5!

Here are some additional reading material to spur your reflective thinking process:

A systematic review of the psychological and social benefits of participation in sport for children and adolescents: informing development of a conceptual model of health through sport

Cognitive benefits of computer games for older adults

The Importance of Play in Promoting Healthy Child Development and Maintaining Strong Parent-Child Bonds

This is Prof Dr. Lianne signing off with gratitude to Ms. Joelle Kwok for bringing the fun back into staying at home. Contact me at the email listed below if interested in receiving academic articles on the benefits of keeping a light heart in times of crisis by adding fun to your day.

Stay tuned right here for our next episode on keeping moving during movement control. 😊

Professor Dr. Lianne Britten is a peer reviewed, published academic author and global presenter, clinician, lecturer and curriculum developer. She has expertise in the fields of complex trauma, narrative and indigenous psychology, crisis response (including suicide). She also has decades of experience in the field of educational psychology and anxiety with a specialization in autism spectrum disorder. Professor Dr. Lianne looks forward to using her expertise in crises to help bring compassion, and peace in times of distress and chaos. Got any questions? Reach out to Lianne at: HELP5keysblog@gmail.com