Activities that Help Me Get Through Lockdown

Many people have discovered they have hidden talent or skills during the lockdown. Some learned they have wanted to bake, cook, play musical instruments, or sing. Others develop hobbies like gardening, painting, reading, and writing. And some pass away the time binging on movie series or playing games to entertain themselves. All these activities have helped us get through this time.

I have my personal lists of favorite activities that cheer me up through the lockdown. 

Online games

Playing online games keeps my sanity from the daily stresses. When I get tired from doing the household chores, I rest a bit and grab my mobile phone to play block puzzles. It is like a mental exercise to me when I need to focus on something important.

When I am sitting in front of the laptop, I would be playing a fight virus game. The interesting part of this hospital simulation game is you get to destroy the nasty COVID-19 virtually. Even if it is just a game, it feels like you are doing your share protecting hospital workers and patients eliminate the virus.  

To play this, tap or click on the virus to disinfect the hospital environment. By destroying the virus, you keep the hospital staff and patients safe from the virus infection; tap patients (with heart signs) to help them recover more quickly. A meter in the lower-left corner illustrates the percentage of how infected the hospital is. The game is over if it reaches more than 70 percent.

Korean Dramas

South Korean dramas are popular among their Filipino audience. I started binge-watching Korean dramas in 2016 around the time I was recuperating from a medical procedure. Watching KDramas has kept me company from boredom, and I am still hooked until now. I was thankful for this streamlined series because I have learned so many things about Korean culture and fashion.

What is good about KDramas is that the seasons are shorter, and soundtracks are appropriate to the theme and unforgettable, too, even if I do not understand the lyrics. The funny part is I get the hang of reading subtitles fast while catching on to the scenes.

I actually watched almost all KDrama genres: drama, romantic comedy, melodrama, action, thriller, horror comedy. I have tons of still unwatched KDramas on my list.

Decluttering

This is actually the least of my favorite activities. However, decluttering has helped me lessen my anxiety and focus on other things. It is actually therapeutic.

I have started putting away old clothes, a stack of newspapers, old receipts, old school books, and paper books. I am planning to sell the newspapers and schoolbooks to the junkshop. I have a bit of a problem with old clothes. I hope I could find a recycling shop that would accept the clothes.

Next project will be decluttering the kitchen.

Gardening

Planting is one of the activities that hubby and I share. We do not have many plants, but we are content to see them grow every day. Gardening helps ease our worries from day-to-day activities. We are not getting any younger, and simple activity like this is good for our mental and emotional health.

The activities may be simple but they help me get through the lockdown.

How about you, what are your coping mechanisms all this time? What activities you think have helped you refocus your priorities, how it helps your mental state? 

Coping with Health Issues During COVID-19

Anxiety

One of the more challenging situations this pandemic caused me and my family was when I needed to seek medical help and that uncertain feeling when I reached the hospital.

It happened last year, just a few days after the government recommended a lockdown in Metro Manila and nearby areas. I was anxious because I was feverish and lethargic for five days. The first thing that came to mind is I might have Covid. I felt helpless thinking about it. What would happen to my family if it was Covid? Will I recover from it?

Fortunately, the triage doctor, upon checking the tests, advised me to go home. There’s no need for hospital admission because I only had Urinary Tract Infection. UTI is manageable with prescribed antibiotics at home.

Paranoia

The lockdown continued for months. I was not able to visit our doctor for a scheduled checkup. I was and still am afraid to visit the clinic for fear of exposing myself to the virus. I was not aware of teleconsultation or medical consultation online until I had a recurrent UTI.

This was taken in 2012. The closest body frame I am in right now.

Weight Gain

Besides anxiety, which causes restlessness and some sleepless nights, the pandemic leads to a rising incidence of obesity. Ironically, obesity is one of the major risk factors for getting Covid. Being at home for the longest time and inactivity made me gain weight. At five feet and one inch, I weigh 162 pounds. According to the weight and exercise calculator, my BMI (Body Mass Index) is 30.61. This means I’m suffering from obesity.

Moderate Fatty Liver

Our doctor, through teleconsultation, advised me to have a blood test. It turned out, I have high levels of creatinine, uric acid, SPGT, SGOT, in my blood sample. My cholesterol and blood sugar levels are within the normal range, though. The doctor said the high SGPT could be due to Moderate Hepatic Steatosis or moderate fatty liver, as shown in my abdominal ultrasound. The weight gain sadly takes its toll on my liver.  

Other factors that made me gain weight include stress eating and eating processed foods, particularly canned goods included in the relief package. This could also be the reason I have high uric acid and recurrent UTI.

Weight Management

The good news is that moderate fatty liver is reversible. The doctor said it needs a good amount of self-discipline to achieve. He recommends proper food intake and exercise.

Losing weight was not new to me. In fact, I have addressed the same health issue in 2012. It was a successful journey, I lost a few pounds at first, but I slowly gain those pounds back after several months.

Lifestyle modification would be different this time because of my age. Losing weight is difficult when you reach your 50s due to slow metabolism in older age.

The ideal weight for my height is between 101 and 125 pounds or 45 to 56 kilograms. It’s unrealistic to reach that number. What is workable is reducing at least 5 pounds off my weight is a good start.

My dusty yoga mat and dumbbells are just waiting for me in the corner.

Lifestyle Change

A nutritionist recommends the inverted food pyramid as a gauge to lifestyle change. It means I have to eat in moderation by cutting down on salty, sweet, and oily or fatty foods. Instead of sugary beverages, drink plenty of water to burn calories and flush toxins from the body.

Also, the nutritionist recommends brisk walking every day for at least 30 minutes. I have started walking indoors, and I’m slowly getting the hang of it.

A big part of being healthy is getting enough rest and sleep every day. The nutritionist suggests seven hours of sleep every day if I intend to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

I also intend to do yoga and learn proper meditation to lessen my anxiety. We need to keep our minds and body healthy to keep ourselves safe from COVID-19.

Finding My Own Place in the Blogging World

How I started blogging more than 10 years ago.

I started my first blog on a free platform in 2009 in the hope of continuing to share correct information about HIV/AIDS.

My husband encouraged me to set up a blog so I could post the news and feature articles I wrote for a daily publication. Those stories were mostly about People Living with HIV/AIDS or PLWHAs. The intention was to share them online for people looking for reference materials about HIV/AIDS.

Because I was a newbie in the blogging platform, I searched for other blogs/bloggers who may share the same interest as mine. I did not find one, but I stumble on mommy blogs instead. One blog features photos of kids following a weekly theme. I thought it was cute and decided to join the “meme” by sharing my kids’ pictures on the blog. The fun part was visiting and dropping comments to each blog participant. It was fun because I look forward to interacting with fellow mommies every week.

Earn online

From interacting with other bloggers, I’ve learned that I can earn online. So I started signing up for various companies that paid bloggers for writing articles.

In 2010, I bought my first domain in the hope of earning more online. Online friends were supportive, they even help me set up a blog with a nice layout. I’m still thankful to them for all the help they’ve extended to me. Other mommy friends also helped me with the technical stuff and hosting my first blog and the succeeding blogs thereof. It was an overwhelming experience indeed.  

They’re the same friends who were generous in giving referrals to paying sites and direct advertisers. I was able to generate funds from the passive income. It was a big help for a single-income family like mine.

Brand ambassador

In 2012, I became part of a campaign that assists people to lose weight. Thanks to mommy friends who recommended me to join the weight loss challenge. Overall, it was a nerve-wracking but productive experience. I believe it was the peak of my blogging journey to date. I’ve met a lot of interesting people behind the blogs.

I guess I share the same sentiments with popular influencer Amy West when she recalls her memorable brand partnerships, although hers are travel-related. Amy travels a lot and sees various places yet still does what she loves most – promote and write blogs, and make money in doing so.  

I didn’t win the weight loss challenge, but I learned to take care of my own health. I continue to exercise and mind my food intake.

Blog coverage

The blog exposure somewhat allowed me to cover events. I was lucky to attend a few, a Family Day in an exclusive school for girls; green social enterprises in a municipality in Metro Manila; and an art exhibit by human rights activists. The coverages brought back the memories I had as a reporter.

There were opportunities to review certain products. The good thing about blogging is that you can express your honest opinion about the product. For me, blogging plays a big role in the promotion of new merchandise in the market. Potential consumers can easily access product reviews online and decide for themselves if they will buy the product or not.

Blogging onward

I have been in this business for more than a decade now. I can’t say I’ve made a mark in the blogging world because I’m an ordinary blogger with no accolades or large following to boot. I feel happy enough to share the side of an introverted mommy blogger.

What keeps me motivated to continue blogging these days is a personal goal. You see, my son is in the last two years in college and I rely on whatever income I get from blogging.

Advocacy

I’ve mentioned sharing/posting PLWHAs stories here. I have actually posted a few in my other blogs. I believe those real-life stories will help convey a serious message about the real threat of STDs, HIV/AIDS to the current crop of young people.