‘New normal’: Find your purpose | Inquirer Lifestyle
Tessa Alindogan finishing her diptych: Real benefits from new way of living

‘New normal’: Find your purpose

What is your ‘new normal’? How are you adjusting to it? What’s your mindset to survive this crisis?

Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez: To lift each other up

Stephanie Kienle Gonzalez

Managing director, Philux furniture

My new reality is similar to my old one in the sense that I try to balance time for work, for family and for self-care. I do my best to stay at home as much as possible and be productive from there. My days start at 6 a.m. with meditation, journaling and exercise, then I organize my kids’ activities before attending to work for Philux. Overall, I feel that I have adjusted fairly well, though there are always good and bad days, and that is OK. While I keep up with the news, I try to avoid too much negativity in the press and focus on more uplifting stories. I also make sure to connect with family and friends because that’s always good for the soul.

To survive this crisis, I believe that we need to be flexible, resilient and compassionate. Challenging times require us to lift each other up. It is an opportune time to do some introspection and find your purpose. Purpose infuses your life with meaning and aligns your everyday choices with something bigger than yourself. I try to advance through my days with a grateful heart.

Multisensory aspect of baking

Tessa Alindogan finishing her diptych: Real benefits from new way of living

Tessa Alindogan

Interior designer, artist

When the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) became a reality, life as I knew it changed. Usually, I have a schedule that I follow and can predict how my day will go. I establish a routine, which more often than not is predictable. This makes me feel that I am in control of my life and offers me a sense of normalcy.

This is a period of collective uncertainty, anxiety and worry. To help temper these feelings and negative thoughts, I had to establish new routines at home and create a new “normal” for myself. I have dedicated part of my physical and mental energies to whipping up treats in the kitchen. The multisensory (touch, smell, sight) aspect of baking can be of therapeutic value and can have a calming and meditative quality.

Just like with interior design, I feel that I have accomplished nourishing my soul with yet another creative channel that yields so much positivity. Baking and interior design take focus to follow the step-by-step instructions and engages a lot of attention to detail. Concentration, patience, a sense of order and refinement are required for a successful end result. Creative endeavors allow me to get out of my head and allow my heart to focus on something else besides the current stressors. It is an effective distraction to get my mind focused on something more productive and beneficial.

Alindogan’s cream puffs with custard filling and caramel glaze
Alindogan’s Basque Burnt Cheesecake

Before the pandemic, my baking experience was the most basic. It was not difficult for me to get into it because I love to learn new skills and like to challenge myself. I am glad I have more time now and I feel incredibly grateful to have the resources to try to turn the current situation into something enjoyable. I have not gained weight from this new found hobby because I only do a bit of a taste test of my products, then share the rest with my family and friends. This is also a way of staying connected to those I love.

I am starting to find that there are some real benefits from this new way of living that I may carry once life gets back to normal. I think now is a great time for everyone to learn a new skill or hobby they have lost time for, as we try to make our way through this insane situation.

Long walks in the forest

National Artist Bencab, Annie Sarthou

BenCab on the farm: More time to paint

As we still don’t know what the “new normal” will be, we live our lives as close as possible to the normal we used to know.

We live in the town of Tuba, just outside of Baguio City, so it’s relatively quiet and you can hear birds singing and roosters crowing in the morning. Not much has changed here since the quarantine started in March except that the BenCab Museum next door to our house has been closed since then.

This has given me more time to paint, clear the clutter in my studio, listen to old records I haven’t heard in a while, and sort through old photographs.

Seniors are confined to quarters so we are lucky to have the garden and forest to take long walks in and the organic farm where we can harvest vegetables, herbs, fruits, coffee, and even peanuts!

Transitioning to the new normal will mean getting used to less physical contact with others and fewer large social events, which we actually welcome as we prefer more intimate gatherings with close friends. We will miss the theater, concerts, ballets, and most of all the travels. There are still many places in the Philippines and the world that we would like to visit before we kick the bucket.

Appreciate the home

Dina Tantoco

Rustan’s executive

My new normal is completely different from my normal. In my “normal” life I am typically out of the house most of the day, getting home after dinner on most nights. In my new normal, my activities are now done at home (work, virtual social gatherings, spirituality and eating). One activity added to my new normal is exercise. I now look forward to going for a walk, virtual Pilates, or a workout app I downloaded. I would say I’m adjusting to it well because I love my new normal of being able to stay put and appreciate the home.

Dina and Paolo Tantoco with their kids