Bend, Breathe, Paint: Staying safe and sane while staying at home

The Omicron wave is sweeping the country and the start of the year has not been easy.

For two years, many of us have been staying mostly at home and just when we thought we would finally see better days this year, here’s another variant of the COVID-19 virus that is spreading like wildfire.

It is important to stay safe and healthy by getting enough sleep, vitamins and nutrition but it is equally important to take care of our mental health. We need to keep our minds strong and creative. We need to stay positive in mind and spirit so that our bodies respond accordingly.

Here are some tips I would like to share with you on what you can do while locked up at home, whether you are isolating, on quarantine or simply staying safe:

Join a painting class

I, for one, attend a virtual Chinese painting class by master artist Alex Chan Lim. He is the son of master artist Jose Chan Lim, patriarch of the Chan Lim family of artists who are instrumental in creating an appreciation for the fine art of Chinese brush painting in the country.

Some of the author’s works during Alex Chan Lim’s class

At first I wasn’t sure but a friend enrolled me in the class so who am I to complain? I found myself really enjoying it. As an instructor, Sir Alex is very encouraging and is a highly skilled teacher. He does not put drawings or pictures for you to just copy. He patiently teaches you the right strokes, the amount of paint you should have on your brush, the kind of paper to use, and gives you loads of encouragement.

I enjoyed it so much that I enrolled again for another 10-session class, which concluded last year. I am looking forward to another session which will start soon.

Oh and by the way, Sir Alex knows how to teach virtually. It’s a breeze and not difficult at all. The class is held via Zoom. He has a great setup with a camera over his artist’s table. 

Alex Chan Lim offers different classes. Here’s one which will start on February 6.

I’m proud of the work I did. I am not saying I’m now an expert but I learned new things — from how to draw specific flowers and landscapes — and what is important is that I enjoy doing it. It gives me a breather at least for a few hours.

If you want to try your hand at this, you may email Sir Alex at [email protected].

Attend a virtual yoga class

Believe it or not, you can attend a yoga class virtually and while there are adjustments, it’s very much doable.

Certified yoga instructor Lalah de Dios teaches Aquanimous Yoga and offers online classes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Certified yoga instructor Lalah de Dios on a stand-up paddle board

Here’s what Aquanimous Yoga is all about:

“Aquanimous Yoga is a complex 5000-year-old tradition of yoga that is about a very simple thing: Happiness (Ananda). Yoga tells us that in order to realize lasting happiness, we must discover our true, spiritual nature.

“Although our true nature, or spiritual Self, is always present and the same, we are not aware of it as it is obstructed by our conditioned thoughts, emotions and patterns of behavior.

“Every single technique that we’ll give you is a tool to remove these obstructing (mental) clouds, which, if practiced correctly, will bring you back to your natural state of balance so that you may come to enjoy the sunshine within.”

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Learn a new skill

You can also learn a new skill while staying at home.

With YouTube and almost anything available online, one can easily learn new skills, whether it’s improving your hair and make-up skills, nurturing plants, learning how to cook or mastering some DIY home repairs.

Broadcast journalist Ces Drilon posted on her Instagram that she tested positive for COVID-19. While isolating, she has been using her time to work on a new smudge stick with a lot of local herbs.

Check out Provenciana’s Instagram page

“I am staying upbeat, keeping busy with my garden and air drying leaves and flowers that may go into use for my enterprise Provenciana,” she said in an Instagram post.

I checked Provenciana on Instagram at provenciana.naturals. It sells smudge sticks “to help us deal with the turbulence we feel inside.” I ordered a bundle for myself.

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Listen to podcasts, read a book, breathe

There are many other things to do at home while isolating or simply staying safe.

It is important to keep our minds strong so that we will be able to battle the challenges ahead.