Each one of us has a different perspective and subsequently different ways of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic. In my case, I can pretty much sum it up with phases. Each phase or stage vary in duration. My reactions differ as well. The important thing is, we have survived, finances are alright, and our pantry is full. Read more about the hows and whys of our family’s approach to the Covid-19 crisis.
- Update: As normality starts to resume, borders are opening and businesses are starting to get back on their feet. With that, many companies are now recalling their staff from working from home. They will have to send a return to work letter to the staff so that operations can begin. The sooner the better for both parties, as workers will need to prepare for this change.
The Covid-19 Pandemic Happened
Nobody is exempted from the Covid-19. Young or old, educated or illiterate, famous or anonymous, rich or poor – whatever or however your station is, as long as you are human, Covid-19 can get you. In recent years, this has been the scariest health threat worldwide because there’s no cure and no vaccine, plus the symptoms keep changing.
Many people around the world have died. Even doctors, nurses, celebrities, and other prominent people have succumbed to the Covid-19 virus. Travel has stopped and the summer vacation was spent in mandatory home quarantine. Even the school opening has been delayed. Metropolitan cities seem like ghost towns in the light of the threat of Covid-19.
And there’s actually no end in sight. It’s pretty depressing and scary.
The Stages of Dealing with the Covid-19 Pandemic in Our Family
It has always been said that the mother is the thermostat of the home. Whatever her mood or emotional “temperature” is, that’s also the prevailing atmosphere in the home.
If there are stages of grief, there are also stages of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic in our family. Ever since Covid-19 broke out here are the phases or stages of how I reacted and dealt with the situation while taking care of the family and our needs.
When news of Covid-19 first broke out, I felt that we are too far away to be affected. We continued with our daily grind and pushed through with our travels plans. On the last week of January until the first week of February, 2020, we brought the entire family on a 9-day trip to Clark.
We visited relatives and celebrated a birthday at the Orchard Hotel Baguio and then spent nights in Clark. Staying at Xenia Hotel Clark for two nights, we explored the surrounding tourist areas as well as ate authentic Kapampangan cuisine. The family felt safe because these big hotels already had safety protocols in place.
We also stayed for a night at Clark Marriott and the kids took advantage of their swimming pool and as well as the eat all you can dinner buffet.
On March 12, 2020, hubby and I still went to Iloilo to cover an event for 2Go and finally on March 14, we attended the birthday party of a friend’s daughter. It was our last outing together as a family since Bacolod City and Negros Occidental declared the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) and protocols were set in place.
With the declaration of ECQ, we prepared ourselves by stocking up on our necessities that could last us for two weeks. Then we closed our store, stopped working, and rested. We enjoyed the quiet times at home, doing chores, watching TV, and sharing family meals. It was fun for a few days.
As the days went by and the news from around the world about how the number of cases are increasing and people are dying, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed. Our enemy is a very small thing that could not be seen by the naked eye. Everyone now became suspect. It was really hard not to be paranoid that we sprayed alcohol on practically most anything. That was the most trying two weeks because of disinfecting everything!
Blame it on PMS or hormones, there was one night during the entire ECQ that I laid in bed crying my eyes out. I couldn’t help it–the tears just kept falling as I looked at my daughters sleeping so peacefully. I was so overwhelmed with emotion about what the future holds for them. That was some legit anxiety attack!
The rigidity of sterilization waned after a week for me. I felt tired and would often forget sterilizing, especially the grocery bags. It got to the point that when I am already so thirsty and wanted Coke, I have to wash the bottle with soap and running water. Ugh. What a terrible feeling!
Then through prayer and reflection, I came to realize that whatever the reason is, our lives here on earth are merely borrowed. I believe in God and Jesus Christ so I put my hope that whatever happens, whatever the reason, God is in control.
With faith, I remembered living more comfortably, even with the thought that threat is very real outside. I accepted the fact that we have to be careful, and if possible, to stay at home.
However, I have come to accept that Covid-19 is now part of our reality now. It’s not a bad dream that we can wake up from. Even if there is a vaccine, there’s no telling that we can control the virus nor its mutation. The only thing that we can do is to truth God with our lives and to stay healthy so that we are not easily infected with the Covid-19 as well as other viruses and bacteria.
Coping with Creativity and Homecooking
As the days went by, boredom gradually crept in. While we are used to staying at home because we are homechooling, we are also used to going on travels and staycations on a whim. But we couldn’t do that anymore because it is prohibited by law. Moreover, we also need to protect ourselves from possible contamination.
So we spent our days creating things, talking, watching TV, and yes, cooking and eating. Since our Holy Week Boracay vacation got cancelled, Shane spent her morning in small labador (wash basin), which we dubbed as “Labadoracay”. She even wore different swimsuits while bathing in the garden.
The kids also gained weight because I kept cooking new dishes for them. They also got to help me in the kitchen and together we tried new things. We had so much fun together because Mama is mostly home and not covering events.
One of the things that dampened my mood during the ECQ was the news. So I tuned out updates. I mean, okay, we know the basic news. I didn’t need to keep counting the fatalities nor the personal stories of the victims and their families. It’s not because I am not sympathetic to others—it’s because my heart wrenches with sad stories and I couldn’t help but worry about my own family. The only thing that didn’t worry me or stress me out was the matter of education because we had been homeschooling anyway.
But the negative news from around the world seemed to depict that the situation is hopeless and it is very depressing. With the rate it was going, I felt that the stress would kill me more than the Covid-19 virus.
I wanted to preserve my sanity and spend my hours appreciating the present as well as spend my energy being with the kids. So I sometimes avoided scrolling my newsfeed or I jst skipped through the negative as well as fake news being shared.
Literally, ignorance is bliss. Tuning out Covid-19 news was good for my soul that I became happier, more content, and most especially, productive.
In the Kitchen
So the kids and I worked on several projects, many of which do not even get posted on my social media accounts. In the kitchen, I pretty much cooked everyday—to my family’s enjoyment. It helped us that we have good food while being stuck in quarantine. I kept cooking new dishes because it’s a way for me to learn. At the same time, it seemed awful to be in quarantine and not like the food that we eat. Read: Pandesal Creations During Quarantine
I even came up with some interesting dishes using only sardines. Here are my Sardine Recipes that could feed a family for P50.
- Sardine Java Rice: A Filipino Family Meal Below P50
- Sardine Spaghetti Aglio Olio Recipe: 50-Peso Dish During Family Quarantine
- Spicy Sardine Frittata: 50-peso-Dish for a Family of 5 from Covid-19 Relief Packs
To encourage others, I kept sharing my homecooking recipes and kitchen hacks to other moms who are also trying to beat the crisis. Cooking kept many of us busy, productive, and positive.
Bringing Positive News
Furthermore, I kept writing. I tried to update one blog post per day. In this parenting blog, I chronicled what our family did during quarantine that could also help other families stay positive and afloat.
On the other hand, I kept writing about stories of resilience and bayanihan during the crisis in my other blog, www.SigridSays.com. I tried to keep the torch of hope burning through the good news that I share.
Of all the things I could start during quarantine, I never thought I would become a vlogger. But well, I guess there is a first for everything. So here’s is my maiden vlog, about the Covilyzer UV Sterilization Lamp.
Helping Local Sellers
I totally understand the plight of so many displaced workers and local businessmen who lost their livelihood due to the lockdown. Among those are tour guides, those working in the hospitality industry, in restaurants, as well as those who are in the events industry. Bookings of Bacolod party suppliers have all been canceled.
In order to survive and bring food to the table, they diversified and creatively made things in order to sell. I took the initiative to help them promote their merchandise online as well as buy from them. Since they usually make food items, kumusta naman ang diet?
I felt the need to keep the economy rolling, so I have been openly taking part in the consumption movement by promoting as well as buying stuff sold by local sellers. We are happy with trying new food creations, the kids are full, and we made people happy because of the sales we generated them.
One good thing happened during the quarantine—and that is, barter. During this time, the Bacolod Barter Community was born. It was started by a Bacolodnon, Atty. Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, who thought of getting things that she needed by exchanging stuff. There’s absolutely no cash involved. This was helpful because cash flow was getting thinner and yet people continued to need things.
In the early weeks, luxury items were let go so that parents can have food and milk for their children. I am one of them. Although I am not really a hoarder or a luxury shopper, I realized that there were many things that I could let go for a more minimalist lifestyle. Some of them were outgrown clothes, costumes, toys, books, and even merchandising items.
These items were just gathering dust in the house but I couldn’t sell them anymore. Yet, I was able to dispose of them through barter and got so many things in return – mostly milk, spreads, and other food items for the family. Even our bath products and cleaning supplies could last us until next year. Barter is such a blessing! It allowed me to clean up the house as well as turn them into consumable items that our family needed. The family budget was saved and it helped keep me busy and my mind off the virus! Barter was such a good diversion and a beneficial way of dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Perhaps the take-away lesson here for many people is that family and relationships are more important than material things. Moreover, there is the realization that while imported, branded, and high-value stuff are nice, they are not needs and therefore, practically useless for survival. 🙁
Now that Bacolod City is already under MGCQ, we have more freedom to move around. Business has resumed for many and adults can now go to the supermarket unhindered. But everybody is still advised to wear their face masks. Entry in most establishments will not be allowed is one is not wearing a face mask.
Although everything is far from what they used to be, we are trying to adjust to the new normal. Once you have accepted things, it is easier to move on and get on with life. There are things that we can control and change, but there are things that we can’t. There’s no use worrying or panicking at this point. We just have to be careful, do our best, and keep the faith.
Dealing with the Covid-19 Pandemic with Prayer
With the loss of income in the entire family during the 2-month lockdown, it was easy to be depressed. Savings were getting depleted as we operated using past income. But it’s something that we do not have a choice over. We are just thankful that we were able to stash some for the rainy days.
Important lesson: Save like the ant for rainy days.
I felt closer to God in prayer. During the pandemic, I cried out to Him in distress and asked for comfort, peace, joy, and provision. And God didn’t fail us. I am not ashamed to say that foremost of my thanks is to Him for He provided for us in every possible way.
We are even the recipients of the kindness of so many people during the most difficult time. So to end this, I want to say, “Thank You, Lord!”
Every night, our daughter Shane prayed for everyone. This is just one of those times that I was able to catch on camera because we don’t usually stage our prayer time. I just thought this was one for the books. So here’s a sample of her prayer during the Covid-19 lockdown. Prayer is a vital part of our dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
This story is an entry to ComCo Southeast Asia’s “Write to Ignite Blogging Project”. The initiative is a response to the need of our times, as every story comes a long way during this period of crisis. Igniting and championing the human spirit, “Write to Ignite Blog Project” aims to pull and collate powerful stories from the Philippine blogging communities to inspire the nation to rise and move forward amidst the difficult situation. This project is made possible by ComCo Southeast Asia, co-presented by Eastern Communications and sponsored by Electrolux, Jobstreet and Teleperformance.