By: Gellie Abogado
Mai Laus, a Lupus and Fibromyalgia Warrior and the owner of Crossfit Cabalen, had long been an advocate of health and fitness even before the pandemic started. “In 2014, after my third child, I was diagnosed with SLE (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus) or simply Lupus, which is an autoimmune disease. And then when I had my fourth child, I couldn’t take care of her during her toddler years. I felt weak and just didn’t have the energy because of it. That is when I realized that I needed to do something about my condition, because I want to be able to take care and spend time being active with my kids.” She started with doing yoga, running, and eventually CrossFit.
As a gym and CrossFit box owner, she felt it was her responsibility to encourage the gym members to still continue being active even in their own homes. She used social media to post her daily workouts at home, and even organized Zoom workout sessions with available CrossFit members, so she can motivate them more to do their home workouts regularly.
Mai wants to encourage everyone to value their health and love and take care of their body, whether there’s a pandemic or none. Being healthy, fit, and disease-free should be everyone’s motivation, because life is best lived when you’re healthy in every aspect.
Chris Garcia, a Registered Nurse and the Head Coach of Crossfit Cabalen, used working out or exercising at home as one of his coping mechanisms during the lockdown. “A lot of fitness enthusiasts know that exercising releases endorphins, and endorphins, also known as the happy hormones, help us deal with stress and also help reduce anxiety, which is exactly what we need especially during the quarantine and in dealing with the pandemic.” Using his years of experience in body building and CrossFit, he managed to create workouts sets, which helped him keep his “gains” even during the time when people thought it will be impossible.
Aside from working out in helping him cope with the pandemic, Chris has also been active on social media, especially on his Instagram (@xtian_odinson), motivating others to stay active too, by posting his workouts online. He said that as his own way of giving back, he posted free workouts for a month during the ECQ (Enhanced Community Quarantine) in Pampanga, which are mostly body weights, and can use even the regular items found at home, like bags, liters of water, and even the door and a towel!
Even up to now, Chris still posts some of the workouts he does on his Instagram stories to continuously motivate people to stay active and healthy, because true enough, it can be of help in dealing with this virus. Whether you’re at the gym or at the comforts of your own home, there is a workout you can do. He has proved it!
Christine Abogado, a 19-year old, up and coming artist and a Fine Arts major in Painting student at the University of the East, used yoga and meditation to deal with stress and anxiety during the pandemic. She learned about it through her psychiatrist, who suggested yoga and meditation to help boost up her endorphin levels as part of her therapy, as she is diagnosed with clinical depression.
For Christine, mental and emotional health is also as important as taking care of the physical aspect. “I realized, through dealing with my depression, that if your mental and emotional health is not taken care of, it will have an effect on your physical health as well. Doing yoga and meditation has, indeed, helped me with a lot of things, and as well as learning how to love my body through appreciating what it can do regardless of my shape, weight, and size.”
Christine does yoga at home learning through various applications she downloaded and watching Youtube videos to guide her through it. “As a student, I have limited funds to pay for yoga classes, so I opted for watching tutorials on how to start out. Especially during the pandemic, when I’m not allowed to go out since I’m under 21 years old, I need to make do with what’s available and what I can afford if I really want to get better.”
Aside from yoga and meditation, Christine also uses her art in channeling her emotions in a more visual way, and posting it on Instagram (@kalopsia_art) to share her stories, her failures, and her successes, as she moves forward toward her battle against depression.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “It is health that is real wealth, and not pieces of gold and silver.” So, as redundant as it may sound, health surely is the ultimate wealth we can ever have and own. And even without the pandemic, we should always strive to taking care of our holistic well-being, because it is what will help us move forward with our lives, and live and enjoy it to the fullest. We all have our own stories, journeys, and paths to take, but if we want to make each moment in our lives count, we need to learn how to love our body, first and foremost, so that whatever bacteria or virus that come our way, we can fight and survive through it. How can we enjoy life if we’re constantly sick and battling through one disease after another, right?
But the most important thing to remember is that every aspect matter – physical, emotional, mental, and even spiritual for some people. These are what make us whole, what keep us functioning, and what will help us get to wherever we want to be.