Before you start filing those quarantine leaves
We’re just coming into 2021’s third month, and we’ve already had three holidays and three long weekends, if you planned a day off after the EDSA Revolution Anniversary. Despite everything though, I’ve been feeling a little worse for wear anyway (and that’s putting it gently).
Don’t get me wrong; I still crave for long weekends as much as I did in my pre-pandemic state. The only real difference is that the long weekend no longer recharges me to the same level that it used to.
I’m not the only one, right?
Quality vs Quantity
There’s an article that I stumbled upon that I found really interesting from The Washington Post. TL;DR: the quality of our rest just isn’t the same anymore, though we arguably get more opportunities to do so.
I know what it’s like to commute to and from central business districts in Metro Manila. I have stood in bus lanes for two hours only to get stuck on the bus for an hour and walk another 30 minutes home—I know how that drains a person. You would think that removing that commute would allow me (and all other commuters) more rest, but it doesn’t. I might be in bed hours earlier and wake up a little later than I used to, but I’m waking up more tired than before anyway. And it’s because the quality of my rest isn’t the same.
Those five hours of pure and restful sleep do better for us than eight hours of anxious-ridden unconsciousness.
I’m no doctor, but I’m willing to bet that more of us suffer from chronic stress—the prolonged and constant feeling of stress—nowadays. And I honestly think it’s because of the entire premise of work from home; there is no division anymore, and it’s getting to us.
While we used to have the office to put us in the mindset of work and the home to likewise put us in the mindset of rest, such physical and obvious divisions are no longer at play. Sure, we’ve all read the articles of creating a workspace at home (shit, I’ve even written a few myself), but it just doesn’t work to the same capacity.
Maybe it’s just me and I just can’t control my mind enough, but there are just too many factors at play: the parents upstairs, the kids online schooling a few feet away, the siblings’ coming in and out, everyone feeling completely entitled to your time simply because you’re within reach. And even the holidays (or the weekends) aren’t enough of a barrier to divide work from personal, from what you need to do from what you need to do for yourself.
Where’s the light at the end of the tunnel?
I don’t know about you, but knowing an end is coming has always been a good motivator for me to keep going. Whether that’s trudging through fast food for a few more days until sweldo comes or putting on a smile until the end of a project or campaign—it’s worked for me. But when it comes to this pandemic and getting into the normal I long so much for, there is no telling. And that in itself is a little disheartening.
Quarantine leaves are all well and good and obviously welcome whenever and wherever possible, but it’s just not the same as the standard vacations and personal time offs. Because unless we can actually and truly get away from whatever it is we want rest from—work, family, the frequently visited home bar, Netflix, the goddamn couch—it just doesn’t matter. It doesn’t feel the same.
If I had to compare it, it would be like this: Quarantine leaves are like long distance lovers; you can say that you feel them with you and you appreciate their presence, but they will never hold a candle to holding your lover to sleep.
Art Matthew Ian Fetalver