WEBCOMIC: When working out at home isn’t working out

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As the quarantine extends longer and longer, it seems that these hobbies are starting to feel more of a distraction than something that’s productive. Illustration by ELLE SHIVERS

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines Life) — While we’re all in quarantine inside our homes, it seems that a lot of people have picked up a hobby or two, perhaps to use the extra time they have in their hands or to finally pursue these interests that they have put off before (because now, there’s no endless hours sitting in traffic to eat hours and hours of our me-time). There’s brewing coffee, plant parenting, baking, and home workouts. But as the quarantine extends longer and longer, it seems that these hobbies are starting to feel more like distractions than something that we do for productivity. This is something that illustrator Elle Shivers hones in in their webcomic, “This is not working out.”

“I wanted to convey the experience of developing a hyperfixation on the pretense of being productive or in the spirit of self-improvement, but having it backfire with it ending up becoming an unhealthy habit. And all as a roundabout means of distraction,” they said.

The restriction of comic panels adds a feeling of claustrophobia to the webcomic, emphasizing the nature of limited space while we’re all in quarantine.

“There’s a real compulsive drive for people to pick up a new hobby or hyperfixation because we’re under this illusion that we have more time on our hands,” they said. “In my case, it was exercising and dieting, which didn’t turn out so great. There's the feeling of helplessness and loss of control in the weird space between wanting to be or do better and but also fighting off the urge of letting it consume you.”

“This is not working out” is often too real, especially now that we’re five months into community quarantine — in all its various forms.

“I just miss looking at things, and being with people,” they say. “I miss the physical affection from my friends, or being able to hold an actual menu in my hands. There are substitutes, but maybe if I’d have known in March that I’d have to settle for those, I would’ve hugged them extra tighter or ordered a bit more food than usual, for the road!”

Read the webcomic below.