My New Habits During Pandemic

Hello there! I am Sreydet Lay from Cambodia. I am 18 years old, and currently a freshman at BINUS International. I was a very active person before the pandemic began, nevertheless, most of my activities had been paused due to the restrictions during this tough period. Not only me, but most people also face this struggle, yet they try to push themselves to adapt to the new environment called “new normal” to survive in the time being.

We all admit that the outbreak of Covid-19 has impacted our daily lives, however, time is still the most precious thing to everyone. Therefore, we must use our precious time wisely. There is nothing much we can do at this time; thus, we must appreciate every minute that we spend.

Let’s take a look at the other side and pick up new hobbies that you would enjoy that’s possible to do for the current situation. People won’t feel bored or depressed when doing something they enjoy. Here are some new activities that I’ve tried during the pandemic.

Planning a Schedule

At the beginning of the pandemic, I experienced a mental breakdown  because it affected a lot of my daily activities, which made me stressed and discouraged. However, after I recovered, I tried to find out any possible methods and rearrange my habits to avoid this happening to me again.

The first thing I discovered was to plan my schedule. I am living in Cambodia and my country currently is in lockdown, thus I must stay at home constantly. Luckily, my class schedule is not that tight; therefore, I have a lot of spare time at home. So, I decided to create a schedule to manage my time more effectively.

Image: Rawpixel

I decided to adjust my schedule twice a month. I did this since my class schedule is flexible, also, unexpected events might happen. To set my schedule accurately, I would take note of all my class timetables, then, fill in the blank with the activities I would like to do in my spare time. For example, my earliest class starts at 8:30, so before 8:30 I would wake up, drink 1 liter of water, clean my house, take a shower, have breakfast, work out for 15 minutes, and review my lesson about 10 minutes before joining the class. My schedule is changed accordingly.

By doing this, I feel better since I have a clearer goals and schedule every day, and this keeps me on track as well. Without the schedule, I will spend a whole day doing nothing aside from studying, eating and sleeping repeatedly. I wouldn’t say that I can follow my schedule 100%, but at least I feel like I’m in 85%, which is not so bad. The only problem I have is I can’t control my sleeping hours which can affect my entire schedule.


When I was in grade 11-12, I would spend most of my time at school. My mother would send a lunch box to me through my sister during my class time. She always took care of my meal seriously. Occasionally I would have dinner with my family, but most of the times I did not have a chance to do so since I usually arrive home very late. For these reasons, I have never cooked or entered the kitchen in my life. In addition, I prefer drinking to eating. For instance, sometimes when I feel hungry, I would just drink a can of coke instead of actually eating something.

During this pandemic however, I realized that I had squandered my time and earned nothing throughout, so I decided to learn to cook. What I had in mind when I started to learn to cook, is that I had to at least learn one new skill and try my best to not waste my time. That’s when I realized that cooking has became my favorite hobby now. It is not hard as I thought it would be, also I am glad to be able to cook for my family. These days, if I am not busy with my schedule throughout lunchtime, I will cook for my family. Even when I’m not actually cooking, I will be my mother’s assistant in the kitchen. I noticed that I’m quite active recently, unlike how I was as at the beginning of the pandemic.

Cooking helps me to relieve stress and enjoy myself, and the best part is I now know how to cook. Even if it’s not a complex dish, at least I have tried something new that I have never tried before.

Working Out

Before the pandemic began, I’ve never tried to work out due to my tight schedule. My way of exercising was to run and walk a lot during the day. However, the new situation required people to not go out as much. This makes me stuck at home at all times. As you may know, our bodies may not move as much, and consequently, our muscles become stiff. In my personal experience, I felt unhealthy from not being able to do many physical activities from time to time, and was feeling uninspired. Therefore, I looked out for a solution to solve this problem and I decided to exercise and work out as a new daily habit.

These days, I have been working out for 10 to 15 minutes every morning by following tutorials on YouTube. I work out to build my abs, in addition also to being healthy as my goals. I sometimes do work out at night for 10 minutes before going to bed, since it’s supposed to help with my insomnia problem. Working out in the morning allows me to start a day feeling fresh regularly. It helps me feeling more inspired as well.

Aside from the body workouts, I walk around my area every evening for 45 minutes to 1 hour. I keep increasing my speed of walking accordingly. Walking helps my body systems to do their job better. By doing this, I feel healthier, more creative, and energetic. Hopefully, after the pandemic ends, I would be in good shape.

Learning New Languages

Pandemic gives us much spare time so that we can pick up as many language lessons as we want. It is the perfect opportunity to improve my language skills, which I cannot miss.

As an international student, I must learn the native language to blend in with society. I’m trying my best to make the most of my time during this pandemic by learning Indonesian through an app. I take my time to learn the language by heart, and now I understand some basic words and phrases such as fruits, food, drinks, greetings, and more. I am also planning to learn Thai, which is my neighboring country.

Image: Adobe Stock/Keitma


In the past, I did not pay much attention to myself. I had absolutely no time to eat healthy food, exercise, do make-up, or apply skincare. Since I left in the morning and returned home at night, I had no more energy left to take care of myself. Instead, I would rather finish my remaining tasks.

Since the pandemic, it turned out that I have much more energy and spare time. Since I don’t have many things to do at home, I then decided to take a look at myself and try to take more care of myself. By saying self-care here, I mean eating healthy food, exercising, as well as taking care of my skin and face.

Believe me or not, but being pretty and healthy boosts our confidence twice. I didn’t have low self-esteem before, however, after taking care of myself I feel even more confident.

Image: Adobe Stock/Millefloreimages

We all face a hard time during the pandemic, yet the only way to survive is to stay positive even in this hard time, otherwise, you will experience a severe mental breakdown. Enjoying yourself trying new things will bring you more positivity and happiness. This also helps you to minimize loneliness and boredom.

I recommend people to try indoor activities that they would love to do and take good care of their mental health. If you think it’s not possible, then it will become even harder to start. Always stay positive, and hopefully, we will manage to end these challenging times very soon.

Sreydet Lay (BI Business Management & Marketing, Int'l Student, Cambodia)

Sreydet Lay (BI Business Management & Marketing, Int'l Student, Cambodia)