On January 30, 2020, the country confirmed its first Covid-19 case. New infections increased as days went by.
On March 15, Metro Manila was placed on lockdown. Forty-eight hours later, on March 17, after seeing 187 fresh cases, the stay-at-home orders were expanded to the entire island of Luzon. Then, the world’s longest lockdown began.
People initially thought that the community quarantine would only last for a few weeks or months. It has now been more than a year and the responses to the pandemic do not seem to work. We now have more than 10,000 new cases daily.
Hospitals are at capacity and many patients died waiting to be admitted. The vaccination program is moving at a snail’s pace. At least 4 million Filipinos are without livelihood because of the slowdown in the economy. The uncertainty of times is taking a toll on everyone’s mental health.
So, for Episode 1 of The Subselfie Podcast, we ask: Kumusta Ka Na? Editor-in-Chief Toni Tiemsin, Managing Editor JM Nualla, Resident Historian Kristoffer Pasion, and Relationships Editor Tricia Zafra shared their personal struggles and newfound coping strategies.
The following are just some insights from the conversation that might help you get through this tough time.
1. Learnings from 1918 pandemic lost
The most recent pandemic that Filipinos had to deal with happened 103 years ago—the 1918 Spanish Influenza. Hence, the absence of an immediate reference on how to cope with this crisis.
2. Your emotions are valid
People are experiencing burnout, anxiety, fear, confusion, anger, and sadness. There’s also hopelessness and helplessness because of the unprecedented changes. These are all normal reactions to the pandemic, as long as these do not get in the way of your ability to function as usual. A way to deal with this is acceptance.
Try to keep your emotions in check, breathe, and be patient with yourself. If any of your thoughts or feelings become bothersome to the point of affecting your day-to-day activities, seek professional help.
3. Manage your work load
For those fortunate enough to still have a livelihood amid massive job cuts, try to manage your work stress. Working from home in the Philippines means working with your parents, spouse, kids, or grandparents around in a probably cramped space.
4. Create a work-me boundary
Setting up a “workspace” to allow you to work without distractions could be a difficult conversation that a household needs to go through.
There might also be a need for you to enforce a virtual “boundary” between work and personal time to avoid burnout. An example of this would be setting a specific time of the day when you stop reading work-related chats.
5. Adopt a pet
Research shows that pet adoptions increased during the lockdown. If you’re working from home, this might be a good time to adopt and raise a fur baby.
6. Grow your greens and patience
Growing house plants is also another option. These things might give us respite from stress every now and then, and teach us to cultivate patience and love.
7. Relationships naturally end
Many relationships deteriorated during the pandemic. Divorce rates in other countries are up. While we see many couples tying the knot and making it work amid the crisis, there are others who have called it quits.
If, in any case, you had to let go, keep in mind that it’s okay to feel sad and cry. You might also need to remind yourself the reasons for deciding to end the relationship.
8. Give yourself time to adjust
Don’t be too hard on yourself, or get disappointed for not being able to easily cope with the crisis as you had expected based on what you thought you knew about yourself. The self is not fixed. It is supposed to respond to new situations differently. And we are in a very different situation now. Give yourself time to adjust.
9. Call for help
It is okay to ask for help and rely on some people. Just remember to be considerate and keep in mind that everybody is going through a lot as well. Help others when you can, too. Communicate and reach out.
10. Check-in with yourself
Be a little kinder to yourself. When you can, pause and ask yourself: “how am I? What can I do for myself to feel well?” It would also help to try to look for things to be thankful for in spite of difficulties.
Find out how these bits of wisdom emerged in the engaging conversation of Toni, JM, Kris, and Tricia on The SubSelfie Podcast Episode 1: Kumusta Ka Na? Listen to the full episode on Spotify and Anchor.
About the Author
Tricia Allyson Salvador is a Communication student from the University of Santo Tomas and currently an intern of SubSelfie.com.