I’m writing this after waking up from a 15-minute power nap. 💤
I started doing this recently to fight my unyielding tendency to wake up before sunrise, and not get enough sleep throughout the day.
Since the pandemic hit the country and we’ve been staying home, the fam and I have been making significant changes to our lifestyle. 15-minute naps are just one of these little shifts and changes I’m making to make each day better and more productive.
For June 2020’s reflection, I’m looking back and sharing 10 lifestyle changes I made since our lives turned upside down at the beginning of the year:
01: Bought and used cloth masks
Last March, J and I bought two N95 respiratory masks and a box of disposable surgical masks from a friend, in case the quarantine lifted after some time and people could go out again.
I realized how these disposable masks were adding more garbage, and how high the landfills have likely been since people started ordering takeout with plastic containers and utensils. I searched for cloth alternatives, discovered EIKA.ph through their Facebook ad, and ordered a set of neoprene cloth masks for everyone.
💡 If you can drive to an S&R Membership Shopping branch nearby, you’ll also find a pack of cloth masks for sale that’s a lot more affordable than EIKA.
02: Cooked and brewed more from home
I was surprised and disappointed when Starbucks weren’t going to accept reusable cups for coffee orders. I understand that it’s protocol, but I wasn’t going to go back to disposable coffee cups just for their coffee. I turned our trusty Keurig coffee maker and Nestle’s French vanilla creamer for piping hot coffee in the morning.
Staying home also made me more mindful of how often we buy takeout for our meals. J started cooking for us a lot more, and I’d tag team with him whenever he’s overslept due to work. We’ve been learning to cook a lot more meals, which not only saves us money, but gives us something to bond over.
03: Added more family activities to do at home
The kids ended up with more than two months of summer vacation, so keeping them engaged without turning their brains into mush has been a challenge.
Apart from the books, games, and TV shows they have at home, I’ve printed out coloring pages, mazes, word searches, and given them math sheets to work on. On Fridays and Saturdays we have our movie nights where the kids pick the movie. Then our church’s Sunday school team have been hosting classes every Sunday 3:30 PM. They get to learn their Bible lessons and work on activities like Holly’s Father’s Day artwork for her dad.
04: Teaching the kids to do more chores
After we celebrated Noah’s 6th birthday, our household helper retired and left the house. She had a medical issue that we didn’t want to aggravate by making her continue working for us.
Although J and I continue to take charge of the household chores, we’ve started letting the kids be more hands-on with their own smaller chores. They’re learning to make their beds every morning, put the dishes in the sink after eating, and put away their toys after I’m done sweeping and vacuuming.
Cyrus has been very open to washing his cereal bowls and utensils, which is a huge 👍. Holly’s much older than the two boys, so she helps me with folding the clothes and making her dad’s coffee.
05: Shopped less, both online and at the store
I gotta admit this was one of the hardest lifestyle changes I had to make when the community quarantine began. I stopped placing orders for the first three months when post office services shut down.
Buying from my favorite bookshops and stationery brands online was a huge risk. The malls, Fully Booked, and H Proper, one of our favorite coffee shops uptown, have shut down. I had bouts of cabin fever and shopping urges from March to May, but I stuck to it knowing I’d be saving money while staying safe.
06: Kept in touch with people more often than usual
Being so far away from friends and family, I’d focus all my time and attention on raising the family and managing the house. I don’t call or message as much as other people would do, and eventually grew comfortable with the distance.
When the pandemic forced the government to put up travel bans, it jolted everyone in the family awake. If any one of our elder family members got sick, we wouldn’t be able to just book a flight and be with them. That made me want to call and message my parents, my sisters, my best friends, my extended family members, and friends to see how they’re doing.
07: Thinking mindfully of what I eat
Being stuck at home has put a huge dent on my exercise routine. Without a fitness coach to keep me in check, I couldn’t sustain my morning cardio routine at all. It didn’t help that I had a bout of depression the week after I started over again.
To combat the sluggishness, I try to be more mindful of what I eat—cut down on the sweets, lessen the salty munchies. It’s nowhere near effective as daily exercise, but I’m assured that I’m gonna get through the day healthy and less bloated.
08: Wrote more
Journaling and keeping track of things on my planner have been crucial to managing my stress and anxiety. I’m all the more motivated to write when I see how terrible my handwriting has become.
Creative writing is still a slow ascent for me, but there have been days when I felt the words flow through, my focus on my draft was sharp as ever, and my mind was clear enough to work through the hour I wanted to spend on my collection. Writing the draft and typing it out proved to be quite helpful in making this happen.
09: Decluttered my digital and physical workspaces
Decluttering the house before our planned renovation has been a year-long project. With full control over the house back in my hands, J and I decided to let go of toys, old clothes, household items, and garbage that have been gathering dust and grime at home.
For my digital workspace (and life), I cut out a lot of things that were adding mental load and I felt weren’t as important anymore.
- I trimmed down my to-do lists on Things 3 for Mac and moved some of these back to Trello.
- I deactivated my Duolingo account.
- I moved my Habitica daily tasks back to the Habits column.
- I unsubscribed from several email newsletters.
- I’m working on canceling our cable network.
- I converted our August plane tickets to Manila into travel vouchers.
There’s still so much to do (and a lot of tasks in the Decluttering project), but I’m quite happy that I’m making small progress despite being stuck at home.
10: Being in the moment vs. creating visions of the future
You see it in the way I hoard planners–I’m always planning and thinking about the future. But with so much happening in the world and within the four walls of my home, I really don’t have a vision of what tomorrow or 5 years are gonna be like. If I think about it, all I see is a hazy blur.
It hasn’t been the easiest thing to do, but I’m pulling myself back and trying to live each day being more connected with the present. I try to listen to the kids more, talk about current events more, and just write about what I hope to see or do in the future so it’s out of my head and on paper.
Lifestyle changes aren’t easy, and they take time to manifest and become a daily part of life. I hope that this second half of 2020 will be a continuation towards healing, consistency, and returning to normalcy.