At the time of this writing, the Philippines is entering a week-long extension of yet another lockdown. It’s very frustrating because lockdowns have turned our homes from castles to prisons.
We’re kept indoors under the order of the government to prevent the spread of COVID-19 as the number of cases in the Philippines has soared to become the highest in Asia.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), since the pandemic started in March 2020, the Philippine government’s response to COVID-19 has failed to overcome the first wave of the virus.
The number of infections continues to climb – and we’re still in the first wave.
Thus, we should anticipate that this lockdown won’t be the last.
How To Stay Sane And Productive During Lockdowns
Filipinos are depressed, frustrated, and angry.
And understandably so.
People are losing their jobs, running down their savings, and having their freedoms curtailed – with no clear plan of action from the government.
The fact is, there’s nothing we can do. We have to follow what the government says. In the meantime, we have to find ways to cope up with the insanity and the inanity of the lockdowns.
There’s more to spending time indoors than just Netflix, Facebook, and YouTube. We’ve taken away the guesswork for you by creating this list of 11 things you can do to keep your sanity during the lockdown and stay productive at the same time.
1. Work on THAT Business Plan
You know the business idea you’ve been talking about for the last 3 years? Yes, THAT business plan!
With the lockdown, you have no excuses. If you’re part of your company’s telecommuting program, you’ll still have more time to work on a plan on how to start, run, and grow your business idea.
- Create a formal Business Plan
- Conduct industry research
- Prepare a feasibility study
- Identify your Target Market
- Outline a Marketing Plan
- Come up with a catchy trade name for your business
- Decide on your type of business – corporation, partnership, or sole proprietorship
- Register your business
- Reserve the domain name for your business website
- Develop a timeline for your business from planning to its completion
As you can see, starting a business requires several steps and each step in the process takes time. Dedicate at least 90 minutes every day to work on your business idea.
2. Start a Side Hustle as a Freelancer
Freelancers are talented individuals who decided to monetize their skills by offering their services online. As a freelancer, they’re not committed to one client. They can work for as many clients as they can – no – want to handle.
The flexibility in the work schedule can make freelancing a very lucrative career!
For example, a Virtual Assistant typically charges US$7 per hour and works 10 hours per week per client.
If the VA decides to handle 4 clients per week at the same hourly rate, she can earn more than 14,000 pesos per week or 56,000 pesos per month!
As a side hustle, you probably can’t put in as much time for your freelancing career. Still, the amount of money you can make will be worth it.
In our example above, just providing virtual assistance services to 2 clients might generate an additional income of 28,000 pesos per month.
3. Stay Fit! Exercise Regularly
When you used to work in an office, it’s easy to find an excuse not to exercise regularly. The most popular ones were:
- “I have no time”
- “I got stuck in traffic”
- “I’m too tired”
These excuses don’t have weight when you’re in lockdown. You have all the time in the world. You don’t have to deal with traffic. You can take a nap before you exercise.
In this time of the new normal, exercise should become a priority because you have to keep your body’s primary defense – the immune system – in tip-top shape.
You don’t need to buy a complete home gym set up to have a good workout. Here are a few exercises you can do at home that don’t need much equipment:
- Calisthenics – Bodyweight exercises such as pushups, squats, and chair dips.
- Resistance band training
- Walk/Run up and down the stairs
- Jump rope
Try to exercise 4-5 days a week for at least one hour per session. The important thing is to keep moving.
4. Learn a Musical Instrument
Do you know that acoustic guitar that’s been stored on top of your locker for ages? It’s time to dust off the strings and pursue your dream of becoming the next John Mayer!
There are many benefits to learning a musical instrument:
- Enhances your creativity
- Develops the artistic side of your brain
- Gives you a feeling of accomplishment
- Relieves stress
- Allows you another medium to express yourself
Best of all, it’s fun!
To learn the instrument of your choice, all you have to do is go to YouTube. There are several channels dedicated to music. You can easily find qualified music teachers for guitar, piano, drums, and other musical instruments.
5. Reach Out to Friends and Family
Lockdowns have made family reunions and get-togethers with friends impossible. There were no Christmas dinners in 2020, birthday celebrations became private, and Friday night-outs became extinct.
And it’s possible that 2021 will be the same.
The good thing is that technology such as ZOOM, Microsoft Meetings, and Viber have made it possible to reach out to family and friends and have virtual reunions and get-togethers.
Yes, it’s not the same. But as the saying goes, “It’s not about what you do, it’s about the people you spend it with.”
6. Take Up Art Lessons
If music isn’t your thing, take up another form of creative expression such as art. Painting is a relaxing activity that can help you cope up with stress, anxiety, and depression. You can use the canvass to depict what you’re feeling or going through.
And there are different tools of the trade: charcoal, ink, paint, and even computer graphics.
Other than Bob Ross, there are other tutorial videos on art that you can find on YouTube.
7. Beef Up Your Cooking Skills
Cooking is a great way to bond with the family. The kitchen is usually the busiest and most active place in the house. Plan out a menu and get everyone in the household involved.
One of the best things about cooking is that it teaches you patience. To prepare a hearty stew, you have to slice and dice onions, carrots, garlic, peppers, and celery. Then you have to brown the meat, prepare the liquids, and the seasonings.
Of course, the waiting time. In some cases, a stew will require 8 hours of cooking.
If braising beef is not your style, learn how to bake cakes, cookies, bread, and other forms of dessert. Your kids will love helping you out – and eating everything in sight after!
8. Film Your Lockdown Experience
Netflix came out with a film fest that featured short films made by amateur content creators about their time in quarantine. In one of the films, the creator dedicated the movie to her 5-year old son as a reminder of this experience.
It was a beautifully produced and compelling documentary that was shot with an iPhone!
You don’t need Netflix to encourage you to document your lockdown experience. Future generations – hopefully – will no longer have to deal with lockdowns. But you can share with them – your future grandkids – what a day in life looked like during quarantine.
9. Catch Up on Your Reading
Now’s a good time to go through that stack of books you bought or received during Christmas.
Reading is a wonderful pastime. Not only does reading increase knowledge but it sharpens your comprehension, improves memory, and opens up your perception or view of the world.
Reading is also a great way to relax. Fix yourself a nice warm mug of chocolate or a relaxing cup of herbal tea. Find a nook in your home where you can put your feet up and enjoy your book.
Time flies when you read. Likewise, it’s particularly refreshing to wake up from a nap after reading a good book.
10. Learn New Work Skills
Have you always wanted to learn a foreign language to help you in your job as a Customer Service Officer?
Do you want to learn web design so you can communicate better with the I.T department of your company?
Are you thinking about learning Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to improve the performance and visibility of your blogs?
In addition to the self-help videos on YouTube, there are online platforms such as Udemy and Masterclass that offer tutorials on these skills and others. Sign up for a few courses and give your overall value proposition to your employer or client a big boost.
11. Meditate… Pray
“You’ve got to pray just to make it today.”
He might no longer be relevant in today’s music scene but the lyrics to MC Hammer’s hit song “Pray” are more relevant in the new normal than back in the 1990s.
Regardless of your religious denomination, prayer is a time of meditation and silent reflection. A few minutes inside a space that offers peace, quiet, and solitude is all you need to reconcile the thoughts – and noises – in your head.
When you pray, clear your heart and mind. Relax, breathe deeply, and shut out the rest of the world. Most of all, express gratitude for the blessings you have in life.
You’ll realize that even with the lockdowns, life isn’t bad after all.
“Do you see the glass half-full or half-empty?”
Ultimately, coping with a lockdown will come down to perspective.
Yes, it’s frustrating.
We yearn for the day that we can mall crawl with the family, travel without restrictions, and celebrate holidays, birthdays, and career milestones.
But no one knows when that day will come.
What we know are:
- Vaccines are limited in supply.
- The virus will continue to mutate.
- The vaccines aren’t effective against the new variants.
In a scenario where the Philippines’ number of COVID-19 continues to rise while it’s still in the first wave of infections, the outlook doesn’t look promising.
These matters are the responsibilities of our elected public officials. As a people, the only things we can do are to observe proper disinfection practices, wear a face mask and face shield in public, and follow social distancing guidelines.
If a lockdown should happen again, it might be time to view it with a “glass-half-full” perspective.
- “I have more time with the family.”.
- “I can work on my business idea.”
- “I can catch up on my reading.”
- “I’ll learn a new hobby or pick up a new skill.”
- “I’ll find ways to augment my income.”
- “I’ll improve my overall health and fitness.”
Lastly, being in quarantine will help you develop a greater appreciation for the things you have and the activities you used to do when you still had your freedom.
If things do go back to the old normal, you’ll realize life is so much better the second time around!
How about you? Do you have other ideas on how to stay sane and productive during a lockdown? Please feel free to share in the comments section below.
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