It was March of this year when the Philippine Government announced a nationwide lockdown because of the pandemic. It was actually unexpected. We had 2 Covid positive patients that time. A month before this, there was a lockdown in Wuhan. We all thought that it could be hell there. We did not expect that the world will experience a more bitter taste of what Wuhan experienced.
I remember my Day Zero. I was at work when they announced the lockdown. I rushed to the supermarket near our office to buy some essentials. People were panicking. It’s surreal to even experience this, as if I was watching an apocalyptic film. “Social Distancing” is not even part of our vocabulary.
This will be a total fuckery, I assumed. But I also assumed that this wont be long.
One month after, we are still on a lockdown. I have to admit that one month inside the house and daily Food Panda orders can totally mess up your mental and physical health. Prior the pandemic, I used to get 10,000 steps per day and only eat white meat. I love walking. During the lockdown, my GPS will only record the distance between my bed and our front door. Pork Sisig became a staple.
It has been said that when life fucks us up, we should get back on our core and our values. Yes! those existential shit “Who are you?” and “Why are you alive?” questions.
So I sat down and reflected on my life prior and during the quarantine–the ghosts of 2019 and my 2020 plans which were put on hold because of this global craziness (which by the way, I did great in January-February 2020). I wrote a few of the values I want to carry with me during the quarantine and of course even after this pandemic.
As I write this post, I am inside a coffee shop, as if the Pandemic was already over. There’s already a vaccine. It will reach the Philippines around mid-next year or earlier. But I want to review the values I wrote a few months ago (which felt like eons ago), what I did about them and if I will carry them over in 2021.
Pre-pandemic: I started working out last January 6, 2020 and I only eat white meat. Although that time, I was more focused on how I look instead of what I feel.
Quarantine: I included this value because I realized that this is very important now more than ever. I also realized that with the proper preventive measures, we can really control whether we get the virus or not. I did some few home workouts and asked the “upstairs gym” to let us in during the lockdown. I did some yoga here and there. I practiced Pranayama because I believed this will train my lungs to work on their full potential in case I get the virus. I stopped because I got lazy and got bored. I also decided to integrate red meat in my diet. I surprisingly gained a good amount of fat and muscles during the pandemic. 7 kilos baby! I tried counting my calories and macros but I feel bad every time I overeat so I find it not really sustainable. I find it very restricting. But the concept is still advisable. I had a few flu-like symptoms which was more mentally stressful than it was physically. Recently I bid farewell to the upstairs gym and moved at a mall gym (goodbye $$$).
2021 Plans: Health will still be part of the core and will still be prioritized next year. I will revert (but not strictly) to eating white meat. I will not count calories but I will still monitor what I put inside my body. More fruits and greens. Less of the junk. I have created meal plans with calories and macros, just for guidance and reference.
Pre-pandemic: I have a weird relationship with spirituality, but to be honest, this is how we should treat spirituality. I have constructed, deconstructed and reconstructed my faith system multiple times in the past decade. Yes, I have unofficially and discreetly moved away from Christianity but still thriving to follow the teachings of Christ. I meditate sometimes. During the start of the year, I decided to develop a sustainable meditation practice but yeah, this is something I suck at.
Quarantine: Spirituality is actually a huge word especially during the quarantine. I still have a roller coaster relationship with meditation as well as going to church (when they allowed churches to open). I did volunteer for a huge project at church although I still feel distant with the attending church concept/idea.
2021 Plans: I really do want to develop a sustainable meditation practice. So for a start, I am going to try a 15-20 minute/day practice. I should call it breath-work instead of meditation. Spirituality will also keep the other values together.
Pre-pandemic: I am a minimalist and I love reading books and watching videos about productivity, time management, and self improvement. I am a fan of the bullet journal and the time blocking strategy. I feel stupid every time I slack off. I occasionally procrastinate but I do get things done. Thanks and no thanks to the very organized Virgo energy.
Quarantine: Like everyone else, the pandemic ruined my routines and my productivity “systems”. Our office required us to work from home so I have plenty of time in my hands. I did try a lot of stuff online. I tried self studying Hangul but eventually got bored. I enrolled for a driving lessons and got myself a license. I self studied workout routines so I can go to the gym without any trainor. I am actually proud of myself for the projects and systems I developed at work. I also did some livestreaming but eventually left because I stopped being productive. And recently, I did become a plant daddy.
I included productivity as one of my values because I want to be conscious on how I spend my time.
2021 Plans: I am still for continuous learning. If given a chance, I want to learn a new language. I also want to start new projects like vlogging or podcasting. The pandemic made me realize that life is really short so we should start to do things we want to do, regardless of our age, gender, nationality,etc.
Quarantine: This value seemed very superficial but I included it because for me, beauty is synonymous to quality. More than having a muscular physique and having a skin care regimen, this value speaks of how I should carry myself so that people will feel respected. During the quarantine, I have decided to include this value as a practice on how I present myself to the world after this pandemic. I read books about communication and how to talk to people. I have watched youtube videos about walking and proper posture. I watched youtube videos of Charisma on Command and videos by Vanessa Van Edwards. Unfortunately, I had a couple of mini social meltdowns. Part of being human, right?
2021 Plans: Because of endless video conferences brought by the pandemic, our physical communication skills deteriorated. I would really love to focus on this area in 2021. I want to learn more about communication. I want people to be comfortable when they are with me. And yeah, the superficial part, I really want to achieve another level of glow up. Cause why not? This is also the best excuse to prioritize skin care products. If it’s a value, then invest. *winks*
Pre-pandemic: The start of the year at work was actually pretty for me. My team members are also my friends. I have a few moments when work is a bit dragging, but it’s tolerable. I don’t want to brag, but I am on that stage that I can say that I am grateful with my work. Just a background, I spent 10 years of my life dealing with Micro entrepreneurs. Part of my job is to help backyard industries market their products.
Quarantine: I could say that my workload became easier despite the challenges of the times and the limitation of working from home, but I also feel bad for the businesses I assist who closed, almost closed, and failed to keep up because of the pandemic. In the middle of the pandemic, I was transferred to another section and asked to lead new people. I included this value because at this stage of my life, my duty to my community is already plotted out for me through my 8-5 job.
2021 Plans: I would like to develop new systems and improve old systems at work. I want to personally target 50 new businesses to assist next year.
Pre-pandemic- I am vocal about being a minimalist, but I find myself as a hypocrite. Like dude, wtf? I am an impulsive buyer and buy stuff that I do not really need. I don’t even think about my purchases. Marie Kondo will be very disappointed!
Quarantine: Surprisingly, 3-4 months without going to the mall forced everyone to become minimalists. On a deeper level, this quarantine also allowed us to see that we don’t really need a lot of things. We finally got the chance to appreciate the small things we took for granted. I remember one random day during the ECQ when my dad and I went to this small grocery to buy essential items. I stopped going to this store ages ago because why should I go here if there are plenty of huge supermarkets around me? But this time was different. Not going out of the house for months made this small, old, stinky grocery my new heaven. Seriously! Like I literally almost cried!
2021 Plans: I want to stick with this value and actively pursue simplicity and minimalism. I used the word “actively” because it’s easy nowadays to compare ourselves with other people and what other people have.
Pre-pandemic: It has been said many times that gratitude goes a long way when it comes to our mental health. It allows us to appreciate what we have and not long for anything that we do not have. This is also related to the simplicity value.
Quarantine: Everyday is a gift during the quarantine. Unfortunately, I failed here. My mom told me that the most important thing during the pandemic is to stay alive. And she’s right. Being alive now should be something to be grateful for already. We could not ask for more.
2021 Plans (or ASAP): I really want to practice gratitude. Again, to actively practice being grateful. I want to wake up in the morning and just be happy that I am alive. Or maybe have a gratitude journal. Gratitude should be a non-negotiable part of the day.
I am not even sure if this pandemic will end soon even with the presence of an almost effective vaccine. But to keep our lives intact, having these set of values will help us go back on track. This crisis helped us accept the fact that we are broken people and we are prone to falling to pieces every once in a while.
How to Write Your Own Values
1. Writing your Values using the Six Spokes Strategy
I recently read a “theory” on Medium. It’s called the Six Spokes Theory by Darius Foroux. According to Foroux, the strategy to live an optimal life is to keep the following aspects balance:
If you want to draft your values, you can start using this theory. Make specific activities and projects in order to balance these aspects.
2. Writing your values using the Pesonal Mission Statement of Stephen Covey (from the Book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People)
According to the popular self help book 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, we should write down our Personal Mission Statement in order to guide us throughout life. In order for us to write this, we should be able to answer the following questions:
a. Character: Who do you want to be?
b. Contribution: What do you want to do?
c. Achievements: What are the core values and principles that govern your CHARACTER and CONTRIBUTION?
3. Choose your values.
This is what I actually did when I drafted my values because this is the simplest way. I checked on Scott Jeffrey’s 200 Core Values list and just chose the values which spoke to me during the quarantine.
Here’s the link https://scottjeffrey.com/core-values-list/
There you have it. If you wish to draft your core values with my help, just message me and let’s talk about them. Email me at email@example.com