Keeping stress at bay in the time of quarantine

We are not working from home. We are at home trying to work amidst this world tragedy. It’s okay to be a bit unproductive.

But if you are working from home and you are being paid, it’s not.

It’s been 5 weeks when the enhance community quarantine started, and just when I thought working from home would be less tiring since there’s no more battling with the monstrous Metro Manila traffic, I was so wrong. In fact, working from home while being quarantined is much more stressful than going to and from the office. Because when there’s so much work to do, where do you go to unwind? As a woman coming from the working class, I do not have wine in my fridge so I could have some while sitting on the sofa watching TV, or tub in my bathroom to pamper myself with fragrant bath bombs, scented candles and spa music.

So what do I do to combat stress and anxiety, brought about by not only the workload but also by the global pandemic that only God knows when would stop?

Establish a routine to keep the sense of normalcy. There’s not much of a change in my daily routine – I am still in front of my laptop for a minimum of 8 hours, work on some freelance and writing projects before my actual 9-5 thing, and read a book after work. Somehow it keeps me sane, because there’s coffee to look forward to in the morning and and a good book to look forward to in the evening. Or movie. Or Kdrama. The only thing I haven’t been doing since the quarantine is putting on my makeup.

Stay away from social media as much as possible. Keeping myself informed about what’s the latest update on covid-19 is important, but I have long ago decided to prioritize my sanity. Social media news, and the rants of the people about the current situation along with the government’s lack of concrete plans on how to respond to the pandemic are just some of the many things that made Facebook and Twitter more evil these days. So yeah, I keep myself informed these days by watching the news on TV. Besides, I know I wouldn’t miss something I didn’t know about.

Listen to playlists and podcasts about the things that matter. And by the things that matter, I mean the things that I am fascinated with – celebrating women, arts and media, and just any funny stuff, really. There was one time I was working on some uploads and at the same time listening to Jonathan Yabut’s career advice – okay, it wasn’t really a podcast, but still. As for my playlist, I’ve worked so hard to update it to the last decade, only to go back to my classic 90’s music.

Focus on the good side of things and be thankful. At least I am home, and still have my job so I can buy my meds. Everyday is another gift of life. Soak in the 7 a.m. sun and inhale fresh air because it makes me feel more alive, plus the air is legitimately fresh.

Have something to look forward to. Yes, because when all of this is done, I’m gonna go to the beach and soak myself in the sun some more and make memories worth sharing.

Again. Don’t be sacred. You’ll be okay.

Baler, Aurora, April 2019

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