2020 was basically a zombie movie

WHEN LIFE IMITATES ART

The Big Idea:
Psychologists find that people who watched more apocalyptic films about the end of the world dealt with its real-life version, Covid-19, better.

Patient Zero warned us

Shit really went down in 2020 — and we were not ready.

If you told us a year ago we’d soon be searching for a patient zero and hiding in lockdown, we would’ve laughed and said, “ You’ve watched too many zombie movies!”

Turns out, the end-of-world movie fanatics have the upper hand this time! A recent study has found that movies about apocalyptic pandemics or alien invasions could have helped people mentally prepare for Covid-19. Sort of like mental training.

No need to be Little Miss Catastrophe

According to the study, such movies act as mental rehearsals for real-life experiences. When the real pandemic hit, then, people who had seen more of those films beforehand dealt with it better.

But before you get ready for your weekend apocalyptic film binge, know that you can’t possibly only watch despairing movies your whole life, worrying for the next big, bad thing to happen!

High levels of catastrophising are linked to increased anxiety. So don’t sweat it on the what ifs.

Just hang on for the ride

How do we prepare for whatever 2021 may throw at us next then? (Hey, you never know.)

Psychologists recommend interpreting your difficulties as temporary, local and changeable events. We know it’s so easy to spiral — but try avoiding making your hardships bigger than they are. It also helps to practice mindfulness, and maybe it’s time to use those mental health apps on your phone.

Resilience can also be built with stronger social support. Take this as a sign to stop putting it off and text your friends back …and maybe arrange that Netflix Party sesh for The Walking Dead while you’re at it.

If there’s anything 2020 taught us — it’s that we really never know what’s coming. Preparing is always good, but let’s not forget that sometimes we just gotta take a deep breath, and hold on tight.

SNIPPETS

5 Singaporean stories to catch up on

1️⃣ Your next staycay: Campsites and barbeque pits will reopen from January 20, with a limit of six persons per tent, and eight per BBQ pit.

2️⃣ Allegations that MOE denied a transgender student from receiving hormone replacement therapy have surfaced — but MOE says it is “not true.”

3️⃣ Female mannequins for CPR training have been developed to help familiarise first-aiders with the correct hand positions when helping a woman in cardiac arrest.

4️⃣ Cheating CHAS: Jesselton Dental Centre at Orchard will face termination from the CHAS subsidy scheme following numerous reported improper claims made.

5️⃣ A zero we like: Out of the current 54 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the hospital, none is in the intensive care unit.

And 5 facts to spice up your life:

1️⃣ Storage almost full: Scientists can now compute and store data in the DNA of living bacteria.

2️⃣ Truly the bee’s knees: Insects contribute an estimated $70 billion to the US economy every year through services like pollination and waste disposal.

3️⃣ Severe allergic reactions to the Covid-19 vaccine, while possible, are uncommon, with only 21 reported cases in the US out of the 1.9 million vaccine doses delivered.

4️⃣ It’s a tie! 2020 recorded some of the highest global temperatures yet — tying with 2016 for being the warmest year on record.

5️⃣ Christmas afterparty disaster: Ireland is seeing a surge in coronavirus infections following last month’s Christmas festivities.

DON’T SIT ON IT

The Big Idea:
Sitting on your butt the whole day is known to be bad for your health — but researchers find that more time spent sitting may be linked to better cognitive health.

When being on your butt is good for your brain

The sedentary lifestyle is hardly unfamiliar to many of us. If you work at an office, it’s probably an everyday thing.  We can’t help it, sometimes. We have to sit at our desk longer than we’d like to.

But a desk job might not be so terrible — some studies have found that older adults who sit more tend to have better crystalised cognition than their more active counterparts. This refers to skills like reading comprehension and vocabulary.

Butt your heart will not appreciate

The likely reason for this is that people who spend more time sitting are more likely to engage in educational and stimulating activities, like reading, or watching a play.

And while it’s all very exciting, it’s not a good enough reason to indulge your… couch-potato-ness.

Your brain might like that extra hour of reading, but your heart needs you to stay moving. Prolonged inactivity is linked to a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and more illness. As we always say, moderation is key!

Move hard, potate hard

Some of us simply never learned to love exercise — and that’s pretty normal and okay. 

If the traditional run just isn’t up your lane, there are more options to keep moving, like spin class, boxing, or swimming. Find your groove.

The key is to find a nice balance — where your heart gets all the movement it needs, and your brain gets that nice dose of Netflix or chess (…or Netflix chess) we crave so, so much.

If your health’s been feeling a little offbeat lately, read our guide to seeing a cardiologist in Singapore.

SHOWER THOUGHTS

Weird & Wonderful

  1. The first wave of lock down babies is coming.
  2. No one has ever said they can’t move their arms in sign language.
  3. In the end, our skeletons will all have the same dick size.
  4. Burger patty is a flat meatball.
  5. There’s no way of knowing which hiccup in the series will be the last one.
PICTURE OF THE DAY

Image of a gorilla undergoing a Covid-19 nasal swab test. Photo by Ron Magill Conservation Endowment.

The Big Idea:
Like humans, mountain gorillas are at high risk of contracting Covid. But unlike humans, they are endangered, making any infection potentially quite costly for their species’ survival.

Gorillas vs social distancing

When the world was put under lockdown last year, some of our wildlife made a comeback. Goats parading Llandudno in Wales, wild boars exploring Barcelona — so they said, “nature is healing”.

Unfortunately, mountain gorillas aren’t thriving half as much in this pandemic. Here are the key facts that paint a rather troublesome picture for them:

  • Gorillas and humans share 98.4% of the same DNA — making them at high risk of getting infected with Covid-19.
  • There are only about 1,000 mountain gorillas left in the wild. They are classified endangered by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
  • Gorillas don’t know how to social distance. They’re super tight with their harem. Meaning, if one of them gets infected, so does their whole group.
  • Gorillas don’t wear masks either.

How would a mountain gorilla even get Covid-19, though?

Many of these surviving gorillas live in national parks in Uganda, Rwanda or Congo. These parks are highly visited — and funded — by tourists. Having been habituated to human presence, the gorillas let people come close to them.

Already last week, three gorillas at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Tiffany

Tiffany is a writer who reads Lorde’s lyrics and calls it practice. She likes her pills served with croffles (that’s a croissant waffle, for the unsophisticated.)