If you’re like me and you feel burned out, chances are you’d google “list of holidays” to know when you’d have your next break. And for OFWs in the UAE, the list for 2019 is good, good, good!


If you haven’t heard the good news yet, check the list here.


Now that we are all in the same page regarding this wonderful news, let me tell you about a sad reality. Long weekends or holidays are like your salary, if you would not budget it, you would not know where the heck it went. The old adage “time flies by fast when you’re having fun” and “all good things come to an end” could not have been truer when you are just lounging around and enjoying doing nothing.


So, now that we know we would have long weekends for the year, plan ahead to productively spend these off days. If you don’t have any idea what to do, read below.




General Cleaning

If you haven’t stored your winter clothes yet, now is the time. As OFWs living on borrowed time here at the Gulf, do not spend copious amount of money on OOTDs for the winter season since we would not have any use for

these coats when we are back in the sweltering heat of the Philippines. Take extra good care of your winter clothes and store them properly so they could serve you for a long time and you would not need to buy every winter season.

Air out your mattress, wash your pillows and change the curtains. Start your long weekend with a clean room and or a clean house especially if you do not have any plans to travel or to stay outside since the weather would be tremendously hot during these holidays.




Catch up with friends and family

Friends and family will always be there for you even if at times we forgot to ask them how they are. Now that we have free days, it is the perfect time to catch up with family and friends. If your family is with you, treat them to a dinner and a movie. Meet up with friends or send a message via the various platforms of social media to those who are across seas.




Read a book

It’s tempting to just Netflix and chill but try to avoid using gadgets during the break. I know, I know that it’s impossible or that I am acting like a hypocrite but, our work often involves staring at a computer screen eight hours a day, 5 days a week. Give your eyes a break! Stay away as much as possible from electronics and have some good, old, traditional fun. Don’t be like those people who could not survive without the Internet or their mobile phones. Learn how to enjoy with simple things. If you have been stranded on a deserted island without the Internet, how would you keep your sanity? Read a book and exercise your imagination.




Learn a new dish

To say that we Filipinos love to eat is an understatement. As OFWs, we are used to cooking for ourselves since most of us are abroad alone. So if you are tired of eating chicken adobo, why not use the long weekend to learn a new dish? Ask your mom for their recipe or watch some tutorials on YouTube. Or better yet, whip up a dish with a recipe that is uniquely yours. Use all the ingredients in your ref and you might come up with a casserole worthy of Gordon Ramsay or Jaime Oliver’s time.




Create something

Exercise your creativity and create something. You don’t have to be an artist to create something. Re purpose your old sweater into an oven mitt or sew your graphic shirts into a quilt. Make organic body soaps and gift them for Christmas or turn it into a side business. Write stories, rhyme some poetry… the list is endless. You are only limited by your own insecurities and fears. So what if you are the only one who reads your novel? At least you have tried and who knows after some time you’d come up with a plot so fresh and original publishers would clamor to print it.




People watch

When we go out and eat or drink coffee at coffee shops we usually leave after we consumed our food and drinks. Now that we have some time to spare, why not sit for a while and people watch? Not in the creepy way of course but use this as an opportunity to meet new people. As OFWs we have tendencies to befriend fellow OFWs which is all and good but given the chance, expand your social circle.




Take up gardening

Even if you don’t have a green thumb, try up gardening but start slow. Opt for plants that are low maintenance. When you think you already have the hang of it and you haven’t killed any of the plants you bought, try to grow some edible plants and not just ornamental. After some time, you would soon be able to eat the literal “fruits” of your labor when you started cooking using the herbs you grew.




Sweat it out

When we are busy with work, we overlook taking care of our bodies. During the long weekend, spend some time sweating out. You could enroll in the nearby gym or just run around your block; give importance to your physical (not to mention mental) health.  Exercising is not only a healthy routine; it could also keep you disciplined when you need to develop a new habit.




And of course, never forget to relax

Still allot some down time! Never feel guilty for spending an afternoon sleeping. Fill up the tub and take a one-hour bath. Indulge in pampering yourself. Do an at home facial, a mani-pedi and or show some TLC to your tresses. Holidays are also a chance for you to recharge and re energize before the daily grind of being an OFW starts again.

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