Category Archives: Rest and relaxation

Playing Solitaire and Other Mind Games

Playing Solitaire often takes me back to a time of my youth. I could not help being nostalgic because the person who introduced me to the actual card game when I was little is no longer around.

Long before the digital version of Solitaire was released, my Uncle taught me to play the card game. The elders played Solitaire to pass the time. We don’t have the luxury of the Internet like what we have now. The only entertainment we had then was outdoor games or watching television from our neighbor’s house.

My grandmother, at first, would not allow me to play Solitaire since she thought it was age-inappropriate. She would hide the cards so I would not be able to play them. When I was in college, a computer-related subject acquainted me again with Solitaire. Playing the game is convenient because I no longer need to shuffle and deal with cards.

Never Gets Old

Fast forward to the present, the adult person in me still plays online games. It entertains and relaxes me from the daily stresses at home. I consider it a mental exercise amid the pandemic.

Despite the existence of numerous online games now, I still prefer the less complicated ones. I play Solitaire from my mobile phone or laptop from solitaire.org. Dozens of free solitaire games are on the homepage. I play two variations, which are the easiest ones, the Classic Solitaire and Klondike

Anyone can play this old-school, challenging game of concentration and skill using a standard 52 deck of playing cards. The goal is to move a shuffled deck of cards into four Foundation stacks from Ace to King. The Ace is low in Classic Solitaire. The King is high. 

Mind Games

Besides Solitaire, you can find other fun online games like Pacman-inspired Cookie Monster and the Daily Word Search Game. The original Pacman maze action game was one of my favorites since 1985.

The classic arcade PacMan-inspired game let Cookie Monster eat pellets. The power pellet turns the ghosts into cookies. The arrow keys on your keyboard help you direct Cookie Monster.

I enjoyed the Daily Word Search because it exercises my brain as I look for the words. It improves my vocabulary as well. The number of words to search depends on the grid size. You can play one puzzle a day or go on as many as you can complete. 

The games are addicting because I can see my improvement over time makes me want to beat my old score.  

Brain Exercise

I’m only in my early 50s, but I’m already starting to be forgetful. By playing the word search puzzle online, I hope to improve my memory and concentration. Also, playing online games keeps me away from the digital drama on social media. 

Online games and other activities that exercise your brain helps you take care of your mental health. With what is going on around us, having something to get busy with helps us fight isolation.

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 list 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 with 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. It is a hospital simulation game where 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 against 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’m still hooked, until now. I was thankful for this streamlined series because I have learned 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 watched almost all KDrama genres: drama, romantic comedy, melodrama, action, thriller, horror-comedy. I have tons of still unwatched KDramas on my list.

Decluttering

It is the least of my favorite activities. However, decluttering has helped me lessen my anxiety and focus on other things. It is 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. Hopefully, I could find a recycling shop that would accept the clothes.

The 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 a simple hobby 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 do you think have helped you refocus your priorities, how it helps your mental state? 

Pocket Vegetable Garden

Hubby is so excited about growing a mini vegetable garden. He started with the sili labuyo plant (chili pepper) which I bought from Halamanan sa Pasig last month. I also purchased from them three Bacularis plants which are known for their air-purifying quality.

He got inspired by the siling labuyo plant that he decided to also plant tomato seeds, spring onion stalk, more sili seeds, and later kinchay or Chinese celery.

Update: We have already picked at least eight ripened chilis. Their so small but spicy.

We’ve got tomatoes growing right here. I’m excited about this project. We’ve been planning to have our vegetable garden for so long and it is slowly being realized this year.

Update: The young onion (upper right corner) and the celery (lower right side) died. The tomatoes grew a bit.

Planting is one of the small things that made hubby and me happy these days. It’s something that eases off our stress and worries from day-to-day activities. We are not getting any younger and simple activity like this is beneficial to both our mental and emotional health

My certified plantito hubby. 😀 This batch (of the plant) will serve as a fence right outside our window to secure it from irresponsible neighbors who leave their garbage and whatnot on the sidewalk.