October 13, 2020
By: El Santos
Being unexpectedly stuck at home for months has caused a lot of changes and undue stress for all of us. We all have different ways of coping, and picking up a new hobby (or going back to an old one) is one of them.
There are a lot of benefits to gain from starting a new hobby at this time. At the “Building Mental Resilience through Uncertainty” hosted by Infinit Care and Point Blue, Counseling Psychologist and Life Coach Cherrie L. Ragunton mentioned that hobbies are actually great during these uncertain times, because they give us a sense of purpose. Plus, building routines and habits around a specific hobby gives us a sense of normalcy and stability.
Team Evident has been quite busy handling all the challenges posed by the COVID-19 crisis, but a lot of us have picked up hobbies that have helped us stay productive and sane. Here are a few of the most interesting hobbies (and individuals!) from our team.
Lance Florentino, one of our graphic designers, found joy in growing his collection of plants. He started out with 3 “beginner-friendly” indoor plants in July 2019, but his collection has now expanded to 25 plants. He didn’t plan on becoming a full-fledged plant parent because prior to the pandemic, he spent most of his weekdays at work and getting stuck in the hellish commute. But now that he spends more time at home, he’s able to give his plant babies the attention they need. “Plants are living things and they require time, care, and attention,” said Lance. “I think what I love most about being a plant parent is the responsibility and joy it gives me as they grow and thrive.”
Having plants at home offer a variety of health benefits, including cleaner air and reduced stress levels. For Lance, plants make his room “feel calmer and more relaxed”, and “they also make you feel creative and productive.”
Anthea Reyes is one of our copywriters, but she’s also an artist. “I’ve always drawn,” she said. “I usually only use graphite pencils, but I’ve dabbled in charcoal, soft pastels, and acrylic. I’m not technically trained, it’s just a hobby.” She also said she had always meant to get into digital art, but just didn’t have the means to purchase a tablet and stylus nor the time to practice. “The silver lining of this pandemic is it gave me both. I saved up for a tablet, and now the time I usually spend commuting, I use to either draw on my iPad or write stories.”
Aside from honing her skills and offering her a new side hustle drawing cat portraits, Anthea says that her new hobby gives her “that special kind of catharsis you can only get from creating something.” This just goes to show how true it is that creating art can help everyone in so many ways, especially during this time of isolation.
It’s essential to stay active despite the quarantine, but it can prove challenging since most fitness centers and gyms are still closed. David Lozada, our Associate Director for Corporate and Public Affairs, did not let this challenge faze him. At the start of 2020, David was “heavily obese”, and he promised himself to get fitter. He signed up for a gym membership in February, but when the pandemic struck in March, he decided to start jogging. “We live in a small gated subdivision so running around was allowed,” he said. “I jog every night for 5-6 days a week. I started doing 4km until I eventually progressed to 6km.” Thanks to all his efforts, David lost a total of 23kg (roughly 51 lbs) from March to July 2020.
What started out as a regular activity for health and to achieve a sense of routine turned out to have an added mental health benefit for David. He found it to be a useful exercise for relaxing and clear “If I'm stressed for work or if I have writer's block for my research, jogging helps me think better.”
Reena Llanillo, another Associate Director for Corporate and Public Affairs, has turned her cooking hobby into a small business called The Secret Spice. Through this, she happily shares her love for spice-infused dishes with others while also earning a little extra. “Since I moved to the Philippines 7 years ago and became exposed to more flavours, I was slowly entertaining the idea of making my own food,” Reena said. “However, it wasn’t until I moved to my own apartment 2 years ago that I began to experiment in the kitchen starting with the most basic, beginner-friendly spaghetti. The rest is history.”
Given her busy schedule, Reena still manages to balance her love for cooking with her other responsibilities by being “more of a minimalist cook”. With just 5-8 ingredients and 3-4 utensils, she’s able to come up with delicious food through experimentation and substitution. Plus, by volunteering to be their designated home chef, Reena is able to keep track of exactly what goes into their food, ensuring that their homemade comfort food is both hearty and healthy.
Tea has always been a part of Kamiya’s routine, but now this Associate for Corporate and Public Affairs has gone beyond the powdered tea and tea bags. “Making tea from loose leaves or tisanes and enjoying it with my family has slowly turned into an after-lunch routine,” she said. “It’s different from our usual powders and tea bags since the process requires more attention, and the result provides more taste, aroma, and natural benefits.”
While looking for alternatives for her afternoon coffee, Kamiya stumbled across her mom’s collection of tisanes and was surprised by how much she enjoyed it. Since then, she grew their tea collection at home, and has expanded from simple steeping loose-leaf tea to making other tea drinks like matcha, coolers, milk tea, and even chai latte. She said that she “never thought something that stemmed from boredom, is now a bonding experience for our family.” Beyond being able to enjoy different flavors and types of tea drinks, Kamiya found that making her own tea was calming and therapeutic, and that tea time became a bonding experience that her family could look forward to each day. “If there’s one thing I also learned from making tea, is to appreciate and savor the special little moments we get to have in our lives.”
Hobbies really aren’t just a form of escapism or entertainment. As demonstrated by our teammates, hobbies offer so many other benefits while we spend our days in quarantine—from managing stress and improving your health to strengthening bonds with family. Your hobby doesn’t have to be complicated! Just start out with something you already do, or a goal you already have. You don’t need to invest in expensive equipment or gear; start with the basics or what you have at home, and work your way forward from there.