By Jamie Gonzales
The last eight months of staying at home during the enforced lockdowns has really made me think about what I do in my spare time. Doing nothing in our spare time might seem relaxing, but doing something is more fun and far more rewarding.
We spend so much of our time looking after the kids, and wishing we had more free time to do the things we really enjoy. Then, when we actually have a bit of free time, what do most of us do? Zone out in front of the TV and, generally, do nothing. While this may seem like a good way to recharge the batteries, it is, literally, a waste of time, and not a memorable experience to look back on. So maybe it’s time to rethink.
There are many things you can do which are so much more fulfilling, and the list of options is so varied, there is definitely something to suit everyone. You can choose to get physical, find a hobby, learn a new skill or just organize your life. Let’s take a look.
You could always spend your time constructively and sort out your affairs at home. Many of us have some sort of office space where we keep bills and other paperwork, and we all have closets, old maid’s rooms or linen cupboards, where we habitually throw stuff that we temporarily do not know where to store.
Take a little time to go through your bills, receipts and unopened letters, and make sure everything is up to date. Also, go through your messy spaces and tidy them up, storing stuff in its rightful place, reorganizing your spare room, and so forth. This will definitely leave you with a deep satisfaction at having "cleaned the decks," as it were.
Then you can go one step further and go through your email and Facebook accounts. We all have unopened emails that we leave until we are ready to view them, and we all "save" things on Facebook that we then forget about. Take a couple of hours to go through your emails, and also your Facebook. (One thing that is highly rewarding is cleaning up your Facebook Friends list.)
Of course, you can always engage in a bit of exercise. You can hit the beach or streets and go jogging to clear the lungs out, or go to the gym, get on the treadmill and then hit the weights. Exercise produces endorphins, which trigger a positive feeling in your body, so a bit of exercise is guaranteed to make you feel good.
Nowadays there are so many options on Boracay to rival a conventional gym too. There are boxing gyms where you can start boxercise lessons, or martial arts, or general all-purpose circuit training, leaving you sweating and toned up. Any of these "combat" training routines are super-rewarding and great for your body, your health and for weight loss too.
There are also holistic classes, like yoga or pilates, which burn calories and also make your body more responsive and elastic. This not only gives you a good feeling, but also takes away a lot of the aches and pains that we all get after a certain age.
You could also simply go for a walk. This may be a bit of a tall order in the stifling humidity of the Philippines, but if you can handle getting hot and sweaty, you can reap many rewards. Make sure you go somewhere you do not normally go, or take a new route, and you will always find something of interest like a nice view or sunset. Make sure to keep your eyes open and look around you.
Of course, there are so many other things you can do which do not involve leaving the house. They say that everybody needs a hobby, and the list of choices is long. They can include activities which you would not think about when you are in your teens or twenties, but can get into at a later age.
Take up photography, or learn to paint or sculpt – there are several art classes that just opened on Boracay (check the Boracay Sun News Facebook page). Do puzzles, or try gardening and build a beautiful flower bed, or grow vegetables (which you can do even in the limited space of a balcony). Sewing, knitting, cooking, homebrewing, video-editing, learning magic, sailing, this list just scratches the surface.
Or in today’s Internet age, you could simply start a blog. Just choose a subject, like reviewing a particular type of food, or offering advice on whatever it is you specialize in, or doing movie reviews, or any number of other subjects. If you are lucky and smart, and your blog gains enough of a following, you can even monetize it.
You could also use your free time to Skype a friend, something we all don't do enough. We all have long-lost friends that we haven't seen for years. So why not give them a call just to catch up?
How about fishing? Spend some time in nature catching lunch. Or going to church? Take the time to reconnect with God. Read a book? Start a book club. Meditate?
There are so many things you can do with your spare time if you actually put your mind to it. Yet most of us simply let time pass, blame it on our busy lifestyles, then go back to work moaning that we don't get enough time off.
Take a break - and do something.