Being cooped up at home made a little more manageable
On a Friday night Zoom call (thankfully the last meeting of the week), one colleague quipped that his grand plans for the weekend involved a trip—to the kitchen. We had a good laugh about it because frankly, the definition of “weekend lakad” now is getting to literally walk around and within the same confines of home (this new sedentary lifestyle be damned).
The fact is, though, I was taken by the genuinely excited tone this colleague took. It turned out he was to prepare dinner for his family that evening. And he so looked forward to unwinding with them over a nice, thoughtfully prepared meal. All the chaos outside considered, everything would be all right again if even for a moment. That, for him, was something the kitchen had the magic of doing.
While there is no single antidote to cabin fever, what I’ve noticed and experienced myself is that it helps to tune into one’s space. A question to possibly start with is this: four months since the quarantine announcement, which part of the home has continuously brought you solitude, contentment or a sense of balance? The answer to this is something we like to call a happy corner. A person’s favorite spot in their favorite room. The space at home that sparks the most joy.
Eager to know more about the different ways these different spaces help people cope and even thrive, I checked in with four quarantining individuals and struck up a single-snapshot virtual tour. Their happy corners are just up ahead.
I like being productive and getting the work done, so I curated this desk in my room: a space where I can intimately express my vision towards art direction, design, and photography.
Since the pandemic, this desk has turned into a serious desk. It feels weird to be carrying my work files from home and getting the work done in my boxers. However, since being in my “sanctuary space,” it has opened up new ways of working and has challenged me to continue doing what I do especially at times when work feels overwhelming.
My way of coping is definitely different from others: it’s being productive. Knowing I’m doing something for myself is what keeps me sane.
I picked this part of the house (our garden) because I’ve always been fond of nature. From this area, I could also see neighboring trees and play with our dogs.
Throughout quarantine, the whole family would always hang out here in the afternoons when it’s breezy and cool for cups of coffee or little chats. We learned more about each other as adults because of this. We bonded mostly under this tree.
Bonding with my loved ones (dogs, mostly) in the garden has kept me grounded and calm throughout the pandemic, especially during those times when things feel so overwhelming and out of hand. Seeing how nature stays as beautiful as it is tells me that the sun will still shine as it will on me.
I’ve always fancied my olfactory system being stimulated. And with the outside world being in shambles, one of the things that has helped me with my well-being is aromatherapy. Prior to the pandemic, I already had a thing for candles and would collect the ones that would catch my eye. Locally, one of my favorite brands would be Finn the Label––I was able to snag their limited edition custom-made pots (shaped like a boobie) in collaboration with artist Ugu Bigyan a while back. (My favorite scent from the brand is called Peppermint Crunch which has a mix of peppermint + coffee, it easily fills up any room once lit and if you’re into that scent I highly recommend it.)
As a content creator, I get to partner with brands and just last month I became a Vitruvi ambassador so I got access to their premium essential oils. Ever since then, it has become part of my daily routine to diffuse a certain blend depending on what I’m feeling and it has definitely helped with my overall mood. I just love how scents can make you travel to a certain time or place without actually traveling, it gives me hope and something to look forward to once this is all over.
After staying home every day for months now, I’ve found that [my work desk] is my happy corner because there’s a lot I can do. I’m thankful, too, for where the table is situated because I always have a view of the outdoors. Looking out through the window gives me a chance to breathe.
The quarantine memories tied to this place are playing new video games I’ve fallen deeply in love with [during this time], livestream gigs, journaling and collaging, emotional breakdowns, the way the light comes in through the windows. I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights this lockdown, too, so I know how this particular corner looks from sunrise to sunset. Regardless what time it is, it always gives me peace.
This corner keeps me sane because it feels safe. We’ve been living with so much uncertainty and anxiety this year, but this desk is one of the only things that hasn’t changed one bit for me. It’s also a space where my creativity and brain juices really unfold in peace. And whenever I get tired, my bed is just a turn away.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver