By: Gena Esperanza, Program Manager
Staying at home is a natural inclination and an appealing setup for introverts like me. What a joy!
Staying at home the whole day for two whole months make a big difference to this habit, though. Striking a balance between recharging and socializing is key to emotional and mental health, and each person has a unique approach with a certain phase that works for them in achieving these. How do you strike the balance and survive the struggle during a quarantine? What worked for me?
I fervently monitored news about the COVID-19 pandemic until it became overwhelming. While it is good to be in the know as news is steadily spewn across all forms of media, it is crucial to be mindful of what we consume because it strongly affects our overall outlook. Remembering “observe, don’t absorb,” a technique by psychotherapist Ross Rosenberg, helped a lot when thoughts and worries about the health and safety of the world crept in. From then on, I limited the periods and the sources of my news intake: before and after work-from-home (WFH) hours, and only from CNN Philippines for trustworthy updates.
Filtering social media feed has also served me well, particularly on Facebook and Instagram where I’m active. Posting activity of people substantially swelled during the quarantine, and posts were a flurry of article sharings and personal opinions with varying moods and tones. I took time to review who I followed, guided by the thought of “does this person serve me the facts or the energy I need during this time?” I then unfollowed those who didn’t. Digital detox!
TeamAsia prepared well for business continuity and for a seamless transition to WFH setup. While our home had spaces conducive to working, productivity was a hit-or-miss challenge. Our physical office setup feeds the mindset and the discipline of my working momentum, and not being there required me to be more intentional in keeping the productivity alive. This entailed changes to my weekday routine: I started each day early at 7:00 AM (or earlier sometimes) to have breakfast and freshen up in time for our team check-in and company pop-up from 8:30 AM to 9:15 AM. I wore casual clothes fit for summer instead of pambahay to avoid the feel of lounging around and so that I’m presentable for those rare video calls! For output and time management, I paired a written checklist with our online timesheet.
Outside WFH hours, my personal time is divided among family, friends, fitness, and faith. With the quarantine setup, proactivity was crucial to maintain relationships and routines. I had to be intentional in spending quality moments with my family, scheduling catch-ups virtually with my friends, working out through guided fitness videos, and devoting time for prayer and reflection. Weekly video calls and regular yoga practice were activities that greatly helped curb anxiety and sustain sanity throughout the prolonged quarantine.
Coping with the COVID-19 crisis was certainly challenging in every imaginable aspect for everyone, but what struck me the most was the value of being grateful – always, all ways. Grateful for safety and provision. Grateful for the service of frontliners all over the world. Grateful for the outpouring of help and of hope from various sources. Grateful for the opportunities to reach out and to extend kindness, even from the confines of our homes.
Watching the sunset was a habit I immensely enjoyed over the course of quarantine since our daily hustle normally kept us in the office beyond the sunset hour. It became a regular reminder that despite what’s happening outside and no matter how your day went, there’s still beauty at the end.
An attitude of gratitude made a world of difference – I wouldn’t have survived the quarantine without it.