Manila Bulletin

It’s the week­end, what are we go­ing to do?

What it means to take some time off now that Satur­day and Sun­day are just like the rest of the week

- Work–life balance · Lifestyle · Social Issues · Society · Netflix · Zoom Video Communications · Amazon Prime · Amazon · HBO · HBO Go · Whitney Houston · Audrey Hepburn · Jose Mari Chan · Zambales · Youtube · Patrick Martin

With all these shut­downs, time has be­come one of two things—to some of us, it’s an end­lessly long week­end and to the oth­ers, it’s a never-end­ing week. Which one is it for you?

To life­style re­tailer and phi­lan­thropist Kaye Tinga, the line has blurred, if not to­tally gone. “Week­days are in­cred­i­bly long,” she says. “The work day has been ex­tended. There is no 9 to 5 win­dow or, in my case, with my store, W/17, no 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. store hours any­more.”

Ar­chi­tect Miguel Pas­tor agrees. “There is ab­so­lutely no dis­tinc­tion,” he ex­plains. “I re­port for work thrice a week, Mon­days, Wed­nes­day, and Fri­days. This means I al­ter­nate be­tween week­end and work mode ev­ery other day. It has be­come a joke when we ask each other in the of­fice what we will be do­ing on our ‘day off.’ To make that dis­tinc­tion in my line of work, I usu­ally would sched­ule my site in­spec­tions on Tues­days or Thurs­days. This max­i­mizes the time I spend in the of­fice.”

Among the lifechang­ing ways the pan­demic has up­ended our lives, chang­ing it dras­ti­cally for the bet­ter or for the worse, is that we’ve had to put the daily grind on hold. Wish granted for the lot of us, but it’s one thing to spend all day ev­ery day in your pa­ja­mas in the early weeks of the lock­down, it’s quite an­other that it’s dragged on for over seven months. You might say lucky are those quar­an­tined on the sea­side or in a house with a huge gar­den or in the farm or on a moun­tain, yes, but who wants a life that is a week­end that never ends?

For those of us who’ve had to work from home from the start, how­ever, it has been end­less days in front of our com­puter screen, even the hours spent for eat­ing, laz­ing around, rest and re­lax­ation, do­ing per­sonal er­rands, or week­end get­aways. In those early months af­ter the world went ba­nanas over the coron­avirus scare, many of us went on over­drive, mak­ing up for our phys­i­cal ab­sence in the of­fice. Be­sides, what else was there to do to keep us from sulk­ing or be­ing afraid? Work was a wel­come dis­trac­tion, at the risk of carpal tun­nel syn­drome (from hold­ing your smart­phone all day), stiff necks, and back­ache.

As a re­sult, we’ve lost track of time, and if Jose Mari Chan didn’t start singing his stan­dard Christ­mas carols, we would not have been aware that from mid-March, yet to wrap up our New Year greet­ings, we seemed to have time trav­eled into the brrr months. Hey, it’s Oc­to­ber, the hol­i­days are com­ing up, and we’re ready to take back our week­ends.

But how ex­actly does the week­end feel if it’s no dif­fer­ent from the rest of the week? What is the plea­sure of lazy week­end morn­ings if, in fact, they have now be­come lazy ev­ery­day morn­ings that can drag well into in­ter­minable af­ter­noons and into un­event­ful evenings? For the busy bees, on the other hand, how to take time off, when work never ends, more con­stant than WiFi, and al­ways ur­gent be­cause you can do it now, whether now is at lunch or at four in the morn­ing? Ac­tor, ra­dio DJ, and mu­si­cian Markki Stroem is among the lucky ones. In his line of work and to the rhythm of his days, the pan­demic has not caused too much of a dis­rup­tion. “I have a ra­dio show called The Morn­ing Rush on RX 93.1, from Mon­day to Fri­day, so work has not halted. Week­ends are when I don’t have to wake up at 5 a.m.,” he muses. “Life has kept go­ing de­spite the quar­an­tine. So time off is still coveted. I usu­ally just go home to my par­ents in An­tipolo on the week­ends.” On week­days, he makes time for af­ter­noon naps. “Be­cause I have to wake up so early, be­tween two and four in the af­ter­noon, I nap,” he adds. “On off hours, I play Poke­mon Go and watch Net­flix or work out to re­lax my mind.”

It’s not the same for Metro So­ci­ety edi­tor Raul Man­zano who, since the early days of the quar­an­tine, has made a point of keep­ing cer­tain hours of the day de­voted to his well­be­ing and es­cape. “3 a.m. to 6 a.m. That is when I run and have free time for my­self. I have a good playlist and I just get lost in my world,” he says. Now, with work al­most back in full swing, he has to make con­scious ef­fort to spend some time away from work. Apart from run­ning, his other fa­vorite ac­tiv­ity is cook­ing, “which is when I let my imag­i­na­tion run wild,” he beams.

So how does he dif­fer­en­ti­ate the week­end from his week­days? “Time off is head­ing for Her­mana Mayor (an iso­lated is­land off Zam­bales) and stay­ing there for at least three days. It’s my par­adise on earth,” Raul says. “Week­days are full of Zoom meet­ings while week­ends—zero!”

Zero is also the amount of work Kaye Tinga does on the week­end, or at least on Sun­day. “I try to limit work-re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties on Satur­day, and def­i­nitely zero work on Sun­day. On Sun­days, I just lounge—no Zoom meet­ings, no work, no ex­er­cise, or any­thing at all other than chill­ing with the fam­ily,” she says. “Al­ways be­ing con­nected is quite anx­i­ety-in­duc­ing, so time off is dis­con­nect­ing from the rest of the world even briefly. My hubby and I would leave our phones at home when we take walks.” For re­lax­ation, Kaye turns to “Net­flix, Ama­zon Prime, and HBO Go or a good book.”

To Miguel Pas­tor, “time off is when you’re able to gather a few friends over lunch or din­ner af­ter work or dur­ing the week­end. I am happy that the gov­ern­ment has al­lowed small gath­er­ings to hap­pen as they help re­lease much pres­sure and frus­tra­tion from the kind of life we have been liv­ing since the quar­an­tine was im­posed.” Net­flix to him has also been god­send, along with VIU and YouTube. “I am usu­ally glued to the screen from 10:30 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.,” he says, adding that find­ing time to do his rou­tine in the gym through Core Ki­ne­sis is just as re­lax­ing. “I value this time as this is the only form of ex­er­cise I am en­gaged in,” he says.

For Pa­trick Martin, it’s sim­ple: Week­days are for work. “Week­ends are for the peo­ple I care about, in­clud­ing my­self,” says the dig­i­tal con­tent cre­ator, who de­fines time off as be­ing with your­self while work­ing on your over­all well-be­ing. “I al­ways al­lot at least two hours in the morn­ing to med­i­tate and work on my health and fit­ness. This sweet spot hap­pens be­tween 5 a.m. and 8 a.m., while ev­ery­one else is asleep,” he adds. “I find read­ing self-im­prove­ment ar­ti­cles ther­a­peu­tic. I also al­low my­self to get out and do some ad­ven­ture from time to time, ei­ther on the moun­tains or in the ocean.”

Easy does it on the week­ends for ac­tor Carla Abel­lana. “I save er­rands, ap­point­ments, projects, work, and work­outs for week­days,” she ex­plains. “I usu­ally go easy on my­self on the week­ends.” Of­ten, her plea­sures are as easy as just stay­ing in bed, watch­ing Net­flix or YouTube, hav­ing a cup of cof­fee out­side, and tak­ing naps in the af­ter­noon. “Feels so good,” she beams. But even on week­days, Carla de­votes sa­cred time to re­lax­ation. “Most morn­ings,” she says. “Just hav­ing a cup of cof­fee or ly­ing around on the sofa or in bed.”

It hasn’t been as easy for chef and busi­ness­man Fran­cis

To­lentino, who runs bars and restau­rants, such as Stu­dio 28, Loft, and Al­ma­cen. But he doesn’t let the chal­lenges of the pan­demic ruin his week­ends. “What I do on week­days is pen­cil push­ing on how to make my busi­ness sur­vive the pan­demic and help my staff get through this,” he says. “On week­ends, I tell my­self that I’ve done my part in help­ing my team for the week, so I shut down my lap­top and it’s time to drink a bot­tle of wine or two.” What does time off mean to him now? “Not think­ing about the busi­ness, watch­ing Net­flix, and lis­ten­ing to Whit­ney Hous­ton,” he says. “And wine, of course, as well as karaoke and catch­ing up with lock­down friends.”

Not all of us can spend the week­end on the beach or up the moun­tains, but we all need some time off, es­pe­cially in these tough times, even if all we can man­age is a gad­get-free lunch or 15 min­utes of med­i­ta­tion. Start by re­claim­ing your week­ends to re­store your senses and to re­plen­ish your en­ergy re­serves. Bet­ter yet, steal time out of your ev­ery day, es­pe­cially on the most stress­ful week­days, to start morn­ings slowly, to take restora­tive breaks in the af­ter­noon, and to un­wind at night for some rest­ful sleep.

But what are you do­ing this week­end?

I’d be quite happy if I spent from Satur­day night un­til Mon­day morn­ing alone in my apart­ment. That’s how I re­fuel. —Audrey Hep­burn

 ??  ??
 ??  ??
 ??  ?? Kaye Tinga
Kaye Tinga
 ??  ?? Raul Man­zano
Raul Man­zano
 ??  ?? Miguel Pas­tor
Miguel Pas­tor
 ??  ?? Fran­cis To­lentino
Fran­cis To­lentino
 ??  ?? Markki Stroem
Markki Stroem
 ??  ?? Carla Abel­lana
Carla Abel­lana
 ??  ?? Pa­trick Martin
Pa­trick Martin
 ??  ??

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