Self-Care During the Pandemic

May 29, 2021

We're more than a year in, and by this time I think I can finally say that I have "adapted" to the new normal. Well it was a way simpler process for my case because really, all I had to do was to stay home at all times except for essential errands only. Going outside is still stressful for me but in a lesser level now thankfully. Some grocery stores are becoming less strict now in accommodating their customers. We can now enter in the normal entrance after doing a quick temperature check. Compare that during the start of the pandemic when all the customers had to line up at the parking area for hours because only a limited number of customers can go inside at a time. It seems like things are moving forward to a new kind of normal slowly but surely.

Arriving at this point from day one of the pandemic was a long emotional process. Being in quarantine has taught me a lot about resilience and self-care, especially for the mental health aspect. I realized that this was one part of myself that I always neglected. Fortunately I had the opportunity and time to be self-aware of this mistake and to finally correct it.

I would like to share with you some of the methods that helped me cope during the pandemic. I'm still holding onto them up until this point because I have proven that these methods/routines make me preserve my sanity (😂) for most days. I'm writing this post as a sort of a reminder to myself also in case I get drowned inside my not-so-healthy thoughts again.

Journaling 📔. I have been doing this on and off for years, but I went back again in the latter parts of 2019 because I was looking forward to a new start because it's a new decade! Well it really proved to be very helpful in 2020 especially during those times when I felt the future is so full of uncertainty, especially in terms of how humanity would be able to control the virus. Through journaling, I was able to channel my emotions (especially the negative ones) into words and really confront them and to recognize which made sense and which of them were really born out of paranoia. It is really a therapeutic process, even until now because it has been a tried and tested way for me to get to know myself more through all these times of isolation.

To-do lists 📝. Fortunately, this is a routine that has been engraved deep into my DNA. It has also helped me thrive (in my own way) in these pandemic times. Hand-in-hand with journaling, I kept myself busy with tasks and goals that I wanted to do. It became especially helpful for me to utilize the added hours that I had during most days by going through a list of things that I have been wanting to do for the longest time. Thanks also to new productivity hacks that I got to learn earlier this year, I have even improved this process for me. Crossing out items from my to-do list provided me some kind of fulfillment that further fueled my motivation to go accomplish more of my goals. It really has a positive domino effect.🎉

Meditation 🧘‍♀️. I cannot emphasize enough how much those 10-minute sessions of just being still helped me manage my emotions. I super love the feeling of peacefulness each time I slowly open my eyes after a meditation session. So far, my constant companion for these sessions is the Headspace app. I especially like the different courses available that addresses specific concerns and goals like improving focus and adapting to changes.

 Exercise 🚴‍♀️. Because I was mostly at home, I found some extra time to do exercise. I usually did indoor biking and yoga. There were also a time wherein I joined online exercise sessions with the REBEL team. We know that exercise releases happy hormones, right? Working out really helped me lift up my mood. Although to be honest, I have broken my exercise streak and I'm still trying to incorporate this into my routine again. This is part of my constant struggles. I guess writing this is my way of reminding myself. 😅

Movies/Series 📺🍿. This is by far the easiest route to escape reality. For the earlier parts of the pandemic, I occupied my time with watching several movies and kdramas. I enjoyed watching those series that had weekly episodes released because in a way, I had something to look forward to during the weekend. After each episode, I would go to my group chat with friends to discuss what we thought of it. In the cases that they were not watching the same drama as I was, I just did discussions with myself through blog posts. Some of those series I watched during the pandemic were Locke & Key, The King: Eternal Monarch, and It's Okay Not to Be Okay. I really did in-depth reviews for each episode. 💪 Later however, I realized that a per-episode post is a bit exhausting, so after these shows I ended up doing just one post to summarize my thoughts for a series.

Books 📚. I love using my own imagination when following a story. This is the unique experience a book gives to me compared to just watching a show. Although my preference would always be physical books, I'm learning to utilize and enjoy e-books. Now I have a long queue of books to read on my iPad.

Games 🎮. I'm not a hardcore player, but during the pandemic, I found myself getting immersed in all kinds of games - played on mobile or on PC. I got hooked for some months on Genshin Impact (I stopped only because my phone cannot handle the game anymore 😅). And then I transferred to offline ones available on Steam like What Remains of Edith Finch. Recently, I gravitated towards those similar with classic games that I used to play when I was younger, like Neon Invaders, Tetris, and Minesweeper. Returning back to these games gave me a kind of nostalgic feeling from the memories of my youth.

Non-work Video Calls 🤳. I sorely miss my office friends. To cope with this, we've been holding monthly nonwork zoom calls just to chat away with each other. It's so nice to connect with them even if it's only virtually for now. These calls gave us avenues to be vulnerable in expressing our feelings in each of our unique situations during this pandemic.

Music (Listening)  🎧. I always looked forward to Mondays and Fridays because that's when my Discover Weekly and Release Radar Spotify playlists respectively get refreshed with new songs! I always had fun listening to new songs and discovering new artists to follow. 

Music (Creating) 🎙️🎹. I have always enjoyed singing and playing the piano. I know I have lots of room for improvement with these skills but still I enjoy my creations. I even proudly post them here on the blog. I had this unique opportunity to get feedback from a musician on some of my works and for now I'm just enjoying the learning process. 

Pets 🐾. It was March 2020 when our first indoor cat was born. It was our first time to raise a cat who mainly stayed indoors (we already had 4 that were always outside).  Fast forward to the present, we have two indoor cats now. The relationship with an indoor cat is very different of course compared to an outdoor one. During the pandemic, I learned how to train cats to use the litter box. My groceries and online orders began to include stuff for the cats like their dry food and the sand for the litter box. I learned to feed the cats every morning and to also clean the litter box (which would always be a disgusting chore). Through cat parenting, I felt like a more responsible adult. There were mornings wherein I woke up feeling heavy and sad. However, as soon as I hear my cats meowing from the other side of my door (obviously demanding for their breakfast), the heavy cloud immediately goes out of my head as I get up to feed them. Also whenever I get stressed, I just look for them around the house and pick them up and hug them! They're such fluffy balls that make me feel better. I can't imagine the house without them running around. 🐈

Connecting with Family 💖. Family will always come first for me. Connections got severed and restored during these months but as they say, blood is thicker than water. I'm so grateful that we are all doing fine. There were challenges, of course, but we are all here just trying to be better people for those we love and treasure.

These are some of the things that I really held onto to keep me sane during these unprecedented times. I still have my own share of mood swings up 'til now, but I always go back to these things to return myself into a balanced mindset. Self-care is important. We need to help ourselves before we can extend help to others, especially during these times. This is a special reminder note for myself. We'll get through this! 🙏🏻

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  1. The COVID-19 pandemic brought us to a situation where we’re left with no choice but to survive. Everyone around the globe felt how this pandemic changed the economy and how it affected the world’s daily activities.
    https://www.vistalandinternational.com/blog/6-Home-Activities-OFWs-Should-Try-During-the-Pandemic

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