It is Day 44 of the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). If you are like me residing somewhere in Luzon, we have been ordered by the government to stay at home with restrictions to move and go outside the house, and only for valid reasons.
While a lot of us are suffering in our own different ways due to the ECQ brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, I try to look at the crisis on a different perspective; more on the brighter side of things to keep me sane.
Let me share with you some of my realizations and awakenings so far:
(1) I HAVE MORE TIME FOR MYSELF.
I have been working since 2005. If I am not mistaken, I have never been away from my desk for much longer than two (2) weeks. The ECQ has given me the most opportune time to do the things I have not been able to do since I joined the workforce. I now have the time to do gardening, baking, reading, blogging, and cooking, without having to worry about the pressures of deadlines, early call times and horrible traffic.
(2) I GET A REST FROM TIRING LONG DRIVES AND HEAVY TRAFFIC.
My daily commute from Manila to Alabang and vice versa entails at least three (3) hours of driving everyday. That is when traffic is not horrendous. I had a number of experiences being stuck in horrible, horrible traffic for five (5) hours on the way home. It was frustrating and not to mention so exhausting. I was dead tired when I got home. This ECQ gave me a much-needed rest from all that.
(3) I UNLEASHED MY HIDDEN TALENT/S.
In our family, I am responsible to prepare and cook our meals for the day. Since our househelper went home to the province before the ECQ, she was unable to return to us since the start of ECQ. I knew I had to step up and do everything from cutting the meat and vegetables and preparing the ingredients to cooking at least two viands EVERYDAY. Don’t get me wrong. I love cooking for my family. It’s just that previously (pre-ECQ), I rarely cook for them. I only cook during weekends or when there is a special occasion. I was reminded during ECQ of how much I love cooking. Just hearing the affirmative reactions of my husband and kids after tasting the food I prepared for them is enough for me to confirm that they do love my cooking, too. My way of cooking definitely improved by Day 15 of ECQ. I hope it will continue to get better post ECQ.
I also love plants. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to check my plants in our balcony. Since I have all the time on my hands, I decided to re-pot some of them and removed some of the decaying parts. I am happy to announce that they are all thriving and looking healthier than ever. I get to water and talk to them everyday, too. I was told that I have a green thumb but I did not want to believe it. I guess they were right after all! If ECQ will still be extended, I am planning to add some herbs and vegetables in my growing plant collections.
(4) I EXERCISE WITHOUT EVEN REALIZING IT.
I used to go to the gym almost everyday with my husband. That was decades ago, when going to the gym won’t take us hours on the road and the traffic situation was not that terrible then. Now that I am literally stuck at home, I told myself that I needed to do something to remain active and healthy. The gym in our place is of course closed at this time, as well as the swimming pool. So I had to think of another way to workout. I love dancing so I looked for Youtube videos of Zumba dance workout sessions. I usually choose a full one (1) hour session and just dance the hour away. Before I knew it, I find myself sweaty and breathless while my heart is all pumped up. I love it. It is so much fun. I do this three to four times a week. I make sure I take a rest the day after each session.
(5) I KEEP IN TOUCH WITH MY PEOPLE.
Keeping in touch with my parents, siblings, friends and colleagues during ECQ is an effective way to keep my sanity. At home, I only get to talk with my husband and kids. It helps whenever I get to connect with other people and talk about other topics. Thanks to improved video call technology, I get to have virtual dinner dates with my best friends. I also get to catch up and share updates with my parents, siblings and relatives through our group chat on Facebook. Virtual get together with people you love, trust and cherish during the ECQ is a must.
(6) MY FAMILY IS HOME.
The best affirmation I have from all that is happening now is how valuable my family is to me. I now have the unlimited time to spend intimacy and daily conversations with my husband about the past, present and the future. I now have the chance to catch up and cuddle all day and night with my daughters. I now realize how big my daughters are all of a sudden. The many hours I spent at work that were taken away from my family can never be brought back. This ECQ, however, gave me a once in a lifetime chance to make new memories and spend extensive time with my family all at the comfort of our home. What more can I ask for?
There you have it. The ECQ may take its toll on everyone but since what is happening now is way beyond our control, let us try to pause and think of the brighter side of things. The whole world is affected by the COVID-19, not just the Philippines. Let us do our part and help flatten the curve by heeding the call of the government for all of us to just stay home. Who knows? The cure to this COVID-19 may just be around the corner.