Patiently waiting for work to start can be a nerve-wracking time.

As COVID-19 continues to change the way our world works, job loss and insecurity are high. For overseas Filipino workers that are awaiting deployment, this time is extremely stressful.

While stress is a normal response, there are easy, stay-at-home, and safe ways to alleviate some of those worries. At the same time, help you create healthier habits this new year.

Here are eight things that you can apply to your day-to-day life to keep up with your mental and physical health.

Take a moment to breathe.
Before engaging in anything, take a moment to pause and breathe. Doing breathing exercises can be done anywhere, and it does not require anything other than your mindfulness. Since breathing is effortless, try bringing your conscious mind to your breathing. Notice the pattern of your breath and stay present at the moment. Take your breathing exercise one step further and accompany it with a guided meditation. These are available on various music-listening platforms and also phone applications that help you meditate – even if you are a beginner!

Talk to family and friends.
As the world gets more connected every day, communicating with loved ones has never been easier. Staying in touch with people who love and listen to you can help make these trying times more manageable.

Engage in conversations that positively excite you.

Jot your thoughts down.
For some, admitting stressful emotions out loud is difficult. If you can relate to that, keeping a journal that you can freely express yourself might be for you. Plus, there are countless journal prompts that are available online that can help you write better.

Try ending your journal sessions by coming up with actionable solutions that apply to your situation – this will help you feel better and gain some sense of control.

Find a workout routine that suits you.
Creating structured workout routines at home can help reframe your mind. Studies have shown that moving your body releases endorphins: a chemical the body releases that help you feel positive, upbeat and reduces mood swings. Exercising during the day also aids in getting a better night's rest, which is vital in keeping your mind and body healthy.

Don't be intimidated by this! Keep in mind that it does not have to be intense – a light stretching routine or a dance choreography also helps!

Tweak your diet.
As the cliché saying goes – you are what you eat – keeping a healthy diet is essential in feeling good. A Harvard study in 2010 suggested that enhancing your diet with foods rich in antioxidants – such as leafy green vegetables, ginger, beans, berries, and nuts – eased some of the symptoms of anxiety.

Although it is tempting to eat junk food to alleviate stress, try exploring healthier options that will leave you fuller longer. Search for delicious recipes that use vegetables and fruits, and try a new one every day!
Pick up a new hobby or rediscover an old one.
Another thing that can keep your mind off of things is discovering hobbies that help you unwind. Whether that be watching TV shows or movies, reading books, or cooking up new dishes in the kitchen – remember that it's okay to let loose and enjoy the activity!

Learn via online courses.
There are online courses for every interest and field imaginable, and a lot of them are free of charge. Apart from stimulating your mind, you can also take this time to deepen your knowledge in your work field. You can also take certification courses that could give you better job opportunities, even if they are not directly related to your current job.

Clean up your space.
Don't underestimate the power of an organized space! A study done in 2010 showed that people whose spaces were cluttered showed higher cortisol levels – also known as the stress hormone. So take the time to sort, organize, and let go of items that you no longer need, making it easier to keep up with a cleaner space in the long run.

Playing the waiting game can be difficult, but by reframing your mind and diverting your attention, the lull moment can become enjoyable. While acknowledging your emotions and tending to them is very important, remember to step out of that headspace and take care of yourself – both physically and mentally.

While waiting, update your profile or on WorkAbroad. For more resources and updates on overseas Filipino worker topics, click here for the WorkAbroad blog.