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These Young Filipinas Are Coping With The Pandemic With The Help of Their Newfound Hobbies

These Young Filipinas Are Coping With The Pandemic With The Help of Their Newfound Hobbies
Image by Sarah Brown / Unsplash

Undeniably, it’s getting more difficult each day to stay positive about our hopes and dreams as the pandemic drags on. Some fads served as distractions during the first few months of the lockdown, such as the dalgona coffee and ube cheese pandesal trends (no doubt a delicious but temporary escape from reality), but we’re still in the same situation 13 months later. So what now?

Says clinical neuropsychologist John Randolph, research shows that lifestyle pursuits are good for our brain.

We can “balance the stresses brought on by the pandemic by tapping into [our] creativity,” suggests Michael Kocet, a licensed mental health counselor, in the same article. “Having hobbies can be essential to maintaining mental health and wellness.”

By learning new hobbies, we feel a sense of accomplishment, which in turn, satisfies and comforts us. And as we trudge through this difficult time, Filipinas are embracing pandemic pastimes as a way to cope. spoke to a few of them.

Learning as a way to get back on track

Twenty-two-year-old sales specialist Alessia Taclas, who uses the pronouns they/them, got burnt out from their previous job, so they promised themself to allot time for activities that are aligned with their interests—activities that don’t feel like “work”. For Alessia, this includes studying the Korean language.

“Since my work is very routinary, to the point na I’m on autopilot kasi parang muscle memory na ‘yung mga gawain ko, nare-refresh ako kapag time na for my Hangul lessons,” they share. “I’m a K-pop and K-drama fan, [and] I read somewhere that learning and speaking other languages can help you retain information longer, so it helps with your memory.”

Alessia says that studying another language in their free time is like “hitting two birds with one stone”.

They only started learning the language two months ago, but they admit that it has helped them get back on track.

“Before the pandemic, I can bet na everyone had solid plans for their future. ‘Tapos lahat ‘yun nawala when the pandemic hit,” Alessia says. “Lahat ng plans nawala, including ‘yung plans ko to travel abroad. Itong pag-self-teach ko ng Hangul is a way for me to get back on the path little by little.”

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An unexpected business venture

Angel Libiran, a 22-year-old tax associate, has always been quite the artsy gal. She had seen countless TikTok videos of people making customized rugs, and this made her want to make her own.

“Last December I was looking for cute rugs to gift a friend, pero wala akong mahanap na maganda ‘yung design that reminds me of my friend,” she shares. “Nagtataka ako bakit walang sellers na p’wedeng customized ang design. Then while scrolling on TikTok, I found a video of a person making his own rugs using a machine! What’s a better gift for my friend than something I made myself, ‘di ba?”

Little did she know that this would be the beginning of a hobby-turned-business that would help keep herself sane (and financially independent) for the following months.

Since a lot of people are renovating their homes during the pandemic, Angel saw this as an opportunity to market customized rugs, especially since those who are working from home would want their set-ups to be cute and comfy.

“I’m currently working in an audit firm na madalas overtime. This side hustle of mine is a stress-reliever that also helps me save more money,” Angel says. “It helped me learn how to manage my time since I need to fulfill orders while working on my day job’s deliverables. It taught me na hindi pala talaga madali magsimula ng small business.”

Angel says that having an arts and crafts activity can help ease your mind from pandemic stress despite the challenging aspects of handling a business.

“Having a 9-to-6 desk job is really draining, kaya I really look forward to making rugs because it’s very fulfilling lalo na kapag nakita mo na ‘yung end product,” she says. “Sobrang saya lalo makita na the rugs you make will be a part of people’s homes for the years to come.”

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An outlet for your creative side

Twenty-three-year-old Martina Roa took up Civil Engineering in college. However, she admits that having such a technical job can make you miss the arts.

“I have always been interested in arts and crafts, particularly in crocheting as I love being able to create cute things with my hands. I had time to finally start a few projects when I finished college,” she shares.

Martina started crocheting in February this year. It began as a hobby during the lockdown, until a few friends started asking her for commissioned projects. Even better, crocheting has helped her tap her creative side as well.

“It has become one outlet for my creative side. I think being creative and crafty is an important part of my life as it makes me feel productive,” Martina says. “Learning new things and small wins are what keep me going!”

Our lives shouldn’t have to revolve around our responsibilities

Making time for relaxation is crucial now more than ever. It doesn’t even have to be as extra as a four-day stay in a luxurious hotel. Doing the things we enjoy—watching your favorite K-Drama for the fifth time, trying out new recipes, sewing clothes (yes, even if you’re not good at it)—these truly help us stay ~hopeful~ during a time when everything seems blurry.

Take a deep breath, do what you love, and rest. You deserve it.

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