Disclaimer: We didn’t take any photos of our little Clementi Forest hike because we want to immerse in the full experience. We plan to revisit this trail in a fortnight and will update with more photos!
A few weeks ago, CrossFit CEO Eric Roza sent an email to his team informing him that he was taking time away from work to address his mental health. We thought that was brilliant! Because we could do so much more for ourselves when it comes to mental health.
Singaporeans are struggling with mental health
All of us know mental health is important. But how important exactly is mental health?
The Cigna 360 Well-Being Survey reported that 92% of working Singaporeans are stressed. According to them, more than two million GP appointments each year were for chest pain that were associated with mental health. Furthermore more, approximately 240,000 people were seen in hospital’s emergency room for stress-related illnesses.
If that’s not compelling enough for you, Singapore reported 452 suicide deaths in 2020. The number of suicide deaths increased across all age groups, and it’s the highest since 2012!
If you have been experiencing pandemic fatigue or ‘COVID burnout’ (constant exhaustion, no motivation, poor focus, sense of emptiness, withdrawal from others), may we suggest spending more time outdoors?
Why are we hiking the Clementi Forest Trail?
I (Jesse) am super thankful for my cofounder and ex-client Yee Yang. While he is constantly in awe of my work ethic, he repeatedly reminds me that I should take more breaks.
I shared with a couple of founder-friends that I was experiencing an unshakeable sense of devastation even though things were really going well! They thought it was fair. Given the current COVID-19 situation, and that most of us have not taken a holiday for almost two years.
Here’s the deal: I haven’t taken a holiday in almost four years!
It became clear what I really needed was time off work. Given my reluctance to travel, exploring Singapore was the best option available.
Yee Yang and I also realised that all of our time spent together was about work. We decided that taking a fortnightly Clement Forest hike will not only help with my mental well-being, but will also create no-work-talk experiences for us.
You will know something new about your hiking buddy, should you choose to.
I do highly recommend getting your friends or even colleagues together for some sort of challenging “painful” social activity. Because pain does facilitate social bonding. Not only that, it also increases team creativity!
Our objective was clear. We wanted to spend some time together outside of work. And, while this may seem frivolous, we did learn new things about each other.
For example, I have an irrational fear of falling (which Yee Yang is totally cool with). Yee Yang, on the other hand, is super adverse to mud which I have zero issues.
These seemingly trivial details did show up in our hike dynamics. Yee Yang would slow down everytime we are met with a slippery route (it rained last night). He would even encouraged me to crawl across muddy paths because he knew I’d rather get dirty than risk slipping.
Plan ahead / go with someone who knows the route
We did take a wrong turn during our hike. Given that we did have extra time to spare, this was a non-issue. We turned around and kept moving on.
While we did get “lost”, the route is fairly straightforward. The landmarks in the guide by The Travel Intern is super useful. So, I’ll suggest 100% following them.
We started at the bus stop opposite Ngee Ann Poly along Clementi Road, and exitted somewhere close to Maju Camp.
I did accidentally walk into a drain (almost waist deep, I think) that was completely covered by overgrowth. It didn’t hurt at all because the overgrowth did help cushion some of the impact.
It rained the night before. So, it was definitely slippery. I didn’t tightened my shoelaces for the first part of the hike. Not a wise choice.
I also did wear a pair of old runners. The sole came off entirely halfway through and it also did certainly make the hike a lot more challenging.
Other considerations you should keep in mind
The time of the hike matters. We started at 6:40am and finished around 7:40am. It was definitely nice and cooling. I would imagine that the mid-day sun would be a struggle.
If you prefer a longer hike, you could try doing a rail corridor to Clementi Forest route. While some parts of the railway tracks are covered by vegetation, you can definitely still see them.
We wanted to go for coffee but didn’t really plan where to go. By the time we got to Ghim Moh Food Centre, it was already quarter past eight. We also did take a bus. In hindsight, we should have kept walking to the nearest coffee shop.
Be prepared to leave with super muddy shoes, and you’ll definitely need somewhere to wash up before continuing with your day.
All in all, it was a super good morning exercise. While it was shorter than what I would have preferred, it’s definitely something that we could do on a fortnightly basis.
In the next coming weeks, we’ll share better photos of our hike. And hopefully that will give you a better photo guide of what to expect!
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Frustrated by the lack of results-driven and ethical chiropractic clinics in Singapore, Chiropractor Jesse Cai found Square One Active Recovery to deliver meaningful and sustainable pain solutions.
Our goal? To make our own services redundant to you.