How long has it been? When the government declared Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine last March 16, I didn’t really keep track of the days. I have always been cooped up in our 32-sq.m studio unit while both of my siblings work extensive hours in their respective jobs.
From the start of the quarantine, my sister made it a point to study and follow the protocols — those which has been clearly declared by the government. From masks and quarantine passes to disinfectants ready by the door, she made sure we are not adding ourselves to the statistics. In the first few weeks, we tried to keep up with the news to get a bigger picture of what was going on around us.
However, despite the current setup being similar to my normal, it was still very different. Unlike before where I am alone in our home, I am now constantly accompanied by my siblings. It’s not that I don’t want them here, but there are certain routines and decisions that I used to do for myself. Those small bits still make a huge difference in my lifestyle.
I still tried to create artworks during these uncertain times.. However, there are times when you just can’t focus.
I usually remind myself that my lifestyle remained the same. I still work from home. I still rarely go out. It’s not a big deal.
In an attempt to stay productive, I listed the things that I want to create and signed up online classes. I was eager to add more skills and more output in my portfolio. However, no matter how many times I try to condition my mind that everything is okay, my mind knows it wasn’t.
Soon, I see my productivity dwindled.
I couldn’t get myself to start on the projects I wanted to complete. I failed to finish most of the classes I signed up in. I couldn’t even finish this post in the exact time I wanted to post this.
Eventually, things gradually improved. I tried sketching some of the things I see in our home. I attempted to update my social media accounts by posting new sketches. I had an article published in one of the local digital lifestyle magazine. My friends and I started recording for the podcast we planned late last year. I found myself in a community of aspiring artists who gave me a little mental boost to continue creating.
We also stopped watching the news since it is no longer helping our mental health. Instead, I opted to read some updates via Twitter, where I followed the news sites.
After over a hundred days of isolation, I have learned a few things.
It’s okay to not always be productive
In the first few weeks of the quarantine, I read a post on social media that we no longer have excuses not to finish that personal project or to learn that skill. However, this lockdown is definitely not a day off work or a vacation. This quarantine has been a period of uncertainty for most individuals and families who live one day at a time.
We are now experiencing a new normal. The pre-pandemic lifestyle, including its definition of productivity, no longer apply to our situation.
Learn to adapt to the new normal
Without a vaccine, attaining herd immunity is far from possible. With that, we must learn to adjust to whatever is more applicable to ensure our health and safety.
Aside from constantly wearing masks and disinfecting, we opted to buy things in bulk to reduce the need to go out. Online stores are heaven-sent especially if you can manage to work out to reduce the costs on delivery fees.
Take care of yourself
A healthy mind works hand in hand with a healthy body. A healthy body helps in building up immunity to diseases. A healthy mind aids in reducing risks in certain ailments.
For me, I included daily exercise in my schedule. It did not always have to be high intensity. As long as find time for me to stretch out my muscles and move, it is great. Exercising works wonders both for the body and mind as it helps release endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals in the body that helps reduce the perception of pain and triggers a positive feeling in the body.
As the number of cases in our country continue to grow, the battle against this virus is far from over. At the moment, the best I can do to help is to stay home and avoid spreading the virus.
For more insights and tips on taking care of your mental health especially during this pandemic, you can listen to this episode of our podcast.