This pandemic caught us all off guard and it has impacted us negatively in so many ways - physically, financially, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. Our time to be in each others' company was abruptly cut short - meet ups with friends in your favorite hangouts, quick getaways to the nearest beach, or even your weekly quality time with your family. The events that have transpired over the pandemic have forced many of us to make changes in the way we live, and certainly in the way we look at things.
On the other hand, this almost 2-year pause has also led many to realizations that they may have otherwise never picked up on and worked at. Realizations such as giving importance to our health and well-being, making the most productive use of our time, and most importantly, valuing and nurturing relationships that are important to us.
People found ways to entertain themselves during this containment period and discovered things they maybe wouldn't have otherwise, whether it be discovering a new talent, taking up a new hobby, or just connecting with old friends online.
Finding things that make you happy while having a grateful heart, instead of focusing on the negativity we are exposed to everyday, is an easy hack to enrich your life during these tough times, contrary to having a pessimistic point of view and always letting the weight of the world bring you down.
Before the pandemic, it was easy to get caught up with careers, the latest trends, gadgets, and luxuries, only to find out during this crisis that what are really important to us are the simple things, which are more fulfilling than you'd think. Remember that so much of our happiness depends on how we choose to look at the world. It is indeed just a matter of perspective.
We asked some people to share with us what their simple joys have been, living amidst this pandemic.
Willie Anne Yu, 26
In my 26 years of life, I realized it’s the simple things in life that gives me the most joy. I spend most of the week at the office so I really appreciate time I get to spend time with my family (pets included) and friends. My simple joys include grocery runs with my dad (even if he just hurries me most of the time!), fun deep chats with my mom (she’s the funniest when she’s not scolding me), cuddling with my pets, playing games with my nieces and nephews when they’re around, basically just getting to do something fun with people I love brings me so much joy. Although I also enjoy my solo time aka self care days when I’d just work out, read a book, listen to music, clean my room, watch Netflix (beer/wine in hand), or go shopping. I feel that as you get older you appreciate all these “small” things more and when you do finding joy becomes more natural. When you start each day being grateful to Him, the rest just follows.
Carla Tabuena, 40
Being based abroad, my simple joys include discovering something yummy in the supermarket, finding something from back home available in my area (I miss Pinoy food!), and exploring an area for the first time - and taking photos of course.
Brian Sotelo, 38
I would say finishing a K-drama series is one of my simple joys nowadays, but I realized it’s actually finding myself ogling at the items in a Korean supermarket. While I find my weekly grocery shopping very therapeutic, it’s going to a Korean supermarket - and being able to buy the ingredients I need to make that Korean dish I have been craving for - that gives me that pleasurable feeling. Aigoo! (insert Korean heart)
April de Leon, 37
In general, it really doesn’t take so much to make me happy. But the ongoing pandemic only affirmed the universal truth that joy can be found even in the smallest or mundane things. For me, these are some of what I consider to be my own simple joys:
1. Discovering a good podcast episode or show!
2. Waking up in the morning feeling like I’ve had enough sleep.
3. Being able to catch the sunset from my window after ending another WFH day.
4. Going to my favorite coffee shop even if it’s just ordering take out.
5. Curating my own playlist on Spotify.
6. Finishing an actual book, which pre-pandemic seemed like an impossible feat for me.
Frances Pangilinan, 28
The past year has made us reflect that even if the world around us goes to a halt, we still have to find joy and appreciate the simple things in life in order to achieve a peaceful inner state despite the circumstances. In order to be happy, we must choose to reflect on what we should tolerate in life. Before, we keep on chasing happiness in material things but then actually come to realize that there’s more to life. There are moments of pure joy that stay with us forever as beautiful memories and these are far more valuable than what money can buy.
We can start by doing things that keep your mind and body happy. Your mind has to be pre-occupied in order to wash away all the anxiety and worry. Going for a nice jog on a sunny afternoon helps boost the happy hormones. We can also learn a new hobby. I have started to enjoy the painting by numbers kit. This helps keeps my mind pre-occupied for countless of hours. I also started taking up classes to further improve my knowledge on my profession. During weekends, I have also found the time now to enjoy my favorite books while keeping cozy with a nice warm cup of coffee while enjoying a lovely view of the Taal Volcano.
The most important thing that also keeps me happy nowadays is the time I am able to spend with my family and special someone. It can be as simple as having a picnic in our backyard or inside the car while watching a heartfelt movie with my family. Going for a swim in a nice warm pool. Having long drives out of town for a change of scenery. Playing board games or Nerf guns with my siblings. Going on bike rides with my little brother. Going for long walks while holding the hand of my special someone. These are the moments I wouldn’t trade for anything else in the world. I want to watch my siblings grow into beautiful human beings. While it saddens me terribly that this was only made possible by the pandemic, even if I cannot practice my profession yet because of this circumstance, times may be tough for all of us but I’m still choosing to be grateful. I still choose to look on the positive side. There is and always will be hope for better days to come.
Julie Ann Vogt- Fernandez, 35
Other than getting home early from work for some family time - I find joy when people in the office give me a cup of iced white chocolate mocha.
Marianne Neri, 42 years young
Amidst the pandemic, my simple joys are waking up to another beautiful morning and spending special moments with my Loved Ones. Recently, I have committed myself to have exclusive dates with God every waking morning. In spite of all the challenges thrown at us, the joy of being grateful changes one's perspective about life. And I must admit a little nibble of chocolate or sweets (here and there) is a simple joy I will always look forward to.