I haven’t been blogging much because Christmas is killing me, as usual. OMG. The holidays are so exhausting, I swear.
For the working woman who is finishing off the year’s to-do’s at the office in between planning, prepping food for and braving hellacious traffic to attend all sorts of celebrations, PLUS shopping and wrapping presents etc etc etc, let me tell you… IT IS SO NOT the most wonderful time of the year.
But as I like to say all the time, as bad as things may be, they could always be worse, right? It occurred to me as I was mentally whining about all the things I had to do that there are certain types of people it must really suck to be at Christmas time. Here are a few just off the top of my head:
1. That person whose birthday falls on Christmas day
Because who really bothers to give them 2 separate gifts? And how are you supposed to be all “YAY! It’s my special day!” when you’re sharing the limelight with JESUS??? Yeah. Must be rough.
2. That person with no kids who has to buy presents for everyone else’s kids.
Look. I have to admit… I’m that person. And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only PANK (professional, aunt, no kids) with a big family and lots of friends who’s ever thought “Hmm. Someone’s getting the short end of the stick here…” or ”Gosh I love these kids, but OMG why are there so many of them?!?”
And don’t even judge me, you one-kid parents. You know you feel the same way when you have to exchange presents with your neighborhood’s version of the Brady Bunch. Or Octomom or whatever. Don’t even deny it.
3. The guy in the couple that receives couple gifts.
Because we all know that couple gifts are, 99% of the time, women’s gifts. Sorry. That’s just the way of the world, boys.
4. That person on a diet.
Because really..WHAT THE HELL. Holidays = Good Food.
No further explanation needed.
5. All the people who actually do love Christmas, but can’t celebrate it for one reason or another.
Aaannd this is the part where I take a step back and realize I’m being an A-hole.
Because as I said, as bad as things may seem, they could always be worse. And for many people, they are.
So Christmas is a bit of a hassle for me. But many people won’t even get to celebrate it all…so maybe I should shut up and just be grateful.
And I will. DONE.
Cheers, friends! Hectic as they may be, hope your holidays are happy. :)
Not a lot of time to blog today, but I saw this amazing video over my lunch break that had me simultaneously smiling and sobbing like a bit of a crazy person…
…so I INSIST YOU ALL WATCH IT.
OMG ISN’T IT GREAT???
This really struck a chord with me because of my own cancer experience, of course. But I think the lesson - to forget whatever ails you just for a little while - can apply to everyone.
Rough times don’t have to be rough ALL THE TIME. So get out there and do something spontaneous. Surprise someone. Surprise yourself. Be a little silly. Set aside the sad or stressful stuff and find a reason to laugh… even if it’s only for a second or two. You deserve it. And we all need it.
Cheers, friends! Wishing you many carefree moments in the days ahead.
So it’s been about 3 weeks since I started working again, and while I’ve (pretty much) been able to maintain my no-stress zone, I have totally lost that relaxed and refreshed look I was serenely sporting when on leave.
I swear. I look like I had the OPPOSITE OF BOTOX.
I need more naps, man. Or more sleep in general. Or maybe less work. Whatever. All of the above.
Anyway I was reading up on the napping habits of 8 famous men — because it’s so much easier to try and get mandatory nap time approved at the office when you have like, WINSTON CHURCHILL to back you up — when I came upon this cool creativity-boosting “slumber with a key” supernap technique used by Salvador Dali.
Here’s how it works:
“Slumber with a key” was an afternoon siesta designed to last no longer than a second. To accomplish this micro nap, Dali recommended sitting in a chair with a heavy metal key pressed between the thumb and forefinger of the left hand.
A plate would be placed upside down on the floor underneath the hand with the key.
Note: It doesn’t really have to be a key. Anything that will make noise will do. Other articles say Dali’s method used a spoon. Personally I’d go with the spoon.
Anyway, according to Dali, this kind of micronap “revivified” an artist’s whole “physical and physic being.” So basically when you wake up you should experience a new surge of creativity.
Albert Einstein “napped” this way as well, as have other inventors and thinkers who believed this nap inspired their ideas and creativity.These men were unknowingly taking advantage of what scientists today call the “hypnogogic” nap, when the mind, before it reaches Stage 2 sleep, unlocks free flowing creative thoughts. - Art of Manliness
Pretty cool, huh? Definitely something to try in the near future. The very, very near future. Like NOW.
Cheers, friends! Happy napping! :)
One of the very first blog posts I wrote was about my chronic klutziness, and you’d think that since I’m so aware of the problem and all, the klutzy occurrences would lessen with time… but NO. I’m actually convinced I’m getting worse with age.
Just the other day I fell not once but TWICE, while attempting an eat-athon with my friend Chary at a popup food stalls type of event. I’m not sure whether I should blame my wedge heels, the loose round stones surrounding the stalls, or my own inability to balance. Maybe all of the above.
Whatever the case, OMG. THE HORROR. The first time wasn’t quite so bad because I was surrounded by tables and therefore didn’t have much space to sprawl onto.
But the second time, on my way out, was one for the books.. or rather, the blog. Because of COURSE I was being all idiotic and “Oh I can carry everything myself!” even if I could’ve asked for help — especially since I was carrying a whole box full of things, plus an enormous umbrella and my big-ass bag. Add to that of course my innate clumsiness, plus the stupid wedge heels, and yes, MORE goddamn slippery stones in my path of exit, and you can probably imagine what happened next.
YUP. CRASH! Basically I ended up landing in a wobbly sort of semi-genuflect on the grass with my stuff all around me, looking up at this dude who just happened to be passing by… like I was about to make the most awkward and unattractive marriage proposal EVER.
Horrors, I tell you. I’m actually very impressed that the dude kept a straight face the entire time as he helped me gather up my stuff. I mean, if our roles were reversed I would’ve been helpful too, of course - but TOTALLY GIGGLING.
Because let’s face it, people falling is the funniest thing ever… as long as they don’t get majorly hurt. And this particular fall was totally LOL-worthy. But you know what? It wasn’t even my most embarrassing fall of the year.
No, THAT honor would go to this time a few months ago, as I was entering a darkened foot reflexology room in a new spa. OF COURSE I didn’t notice the step so I totally TRIPPED, propelled forward into a crazy one-legged hop-dance while doing that whole “My arms are like windmills!’ thing to try to keep my balance — and ended up in this really bizarre legs apart, knees bent, arms outstretched pose… like a nincompoop ninja attempting some sort of “fighting frog” stance.
All this in front of an audience of about 6 people in the previously peaceful room, just GAPING at me in shock and awe. And it really did not help that after that, my husband, who was behind me and also gaping in shock and awe, sort of came to and announced, “Ladies and Gentlemen… MY WIFE!”
.. before hauling me up and dragging me outside so we could laugh our asses off without disturbing the silence of the spa any further.
So as you can see, it’s TRUE. I really am getting klutzier with age. I’m actually feeling quite lucky that I haven’t broken a hip or anything yet (though I must admit I do have some pulled-muscle-type pains from Saturday’s rather spectacular SEMPLANG).
I’m also pretty lucky that the older I get, the less embarrassed I get too. Really. What would’ve caused me to run red-faced into the nearest available room in my younger years is just fodder for future laugh trips now. And for that, I’m grateful. Because when it comes to klutziness and me, I really do fear that the worst is yet to be. :)
So wish me luck. Now off I go to stock up on calcium. And maybe some knee pads. :D
I was looking for an old article I’d read last week about willpower, because well, it worries me a bit that it’s possible I HAVE NONE. Seriously. This was me (the trying-hard vegetarian) last night at my family’s impromptu “We’re not American, but what the hey, lots to give thanks for so let’s EAT!!!” Thanksgiving dinner.
Seriously. WTH. I was like some out-of-control carnivorous version of Cookie Monster or something.
Because I have NO WILLPOWER.
To be fair to myself though, I have been pretty good about quitting smoking. 3 MONTHS WITHOUT A SINGLE PUFF, MAN!! Woohoo! Yup, it’s been a while since I last felt the urge to attack a random stranger just to hijack his/her cigarette.
So yeah…whee! GO, ME!!!
Anyway I couldn’t find the willpower article but I did find something else. (Okay, FINE. I got distracted and gave up because hello…were you not paying attention? NO WILLPOWER.)
The new article I found - about 13 things that mentally strong people don’t do - was really interesting though, so I thought you all should read it.
Here’s a quick illustrated summary that you can use as a quiz before you go to the original article for more deets.
Out of the 13 things, I only do 3 - okay, maybe 5 - so I guess I am quite mentally strong (despite the willpower problem) . How about you?
GO… read the article, and let me know! :)
I actually wrote this article last year for Rappler, but hey, it still applies! Yes, in spite of all the crazy shiz that’s happened this year. And I think it always will apply, so here we go… a very timely repost and reminder for us all. :)
Thanksgiving falls on Thursday… and although it’s an American holiday, it’s a good reminder to take some time to think about life and be grateful for the people and things that make it worth living.
We all know it’s good to give thanks, but what a lot of people don’t know is HOW good gratitude can be for our health, happiness and general well-being.
Dr Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at the University of California Davis and author of "Thanks!: How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier," says that frequent thankfulness can actually boost happiness by 25%. A growing body of research has shown that people with an attitude of gratitude tend to be kinder, more positive and creative, achieve more goals, and have stronger social relationships.
This is not all that surprising if you really think about it. It makes sense that grateful people are happier and have more friends than grumpy ingrates.
I was more surprised to discover that gratitude provides some significant health benefits as well.
Studies have also shown that grateful people sleep better, exercise more, and have higher energy levels and stronger immune systems, among other things. (You can read more about these findings here and here.)
I’m a well-mannered woman, so I do say “Thanks” whenever appropriate. I like to think I’m pretty grateful. But hmm… I have yet to experience these health perks. (Well, except maybe for the sleeping bit. The part about exercising more just made me LOL.) So I was a bit leery of these supposed findings at first, until I read further and found out that real gratitude (i.e., the awesome type with all the perks) is a little more complex than just minding your manners and providing the occasional pat on the back.
Dr Emmons says that in order for gratitude to yield all these happiness and health benefits, it must be chronic – a habitual attitude of thankfulness, as opposed to one-off reactions. “Feeling gratitude must be ingrained into your personality, and you must frequently acknowledge and be thankful for the role other people play in your happiness.”
This is easier said than done. Like any good habit, gratitude takes time and effort, as well as a good bit of reflection and a side helping of humility. The benefits are worth it, though, so it’s certainly something worth striving for.
There are several ways to cultivate an attitude of gratitude (Emmons’ book offers 10) but in the interests of keeping things simple and doable, here are 3 easy ways to get started.
1. Keep a gratitude journal.
Counting blessings daily is an essential component of the attitude of gratitude. The best way to do this is to make a habit of writing them down. Just list 5 things you’re grateful for each day in a notebook (or your gadget of choice). Not only will it make a difference in the way you look at your day; chances are it’ll remind you to actually thank people, or show your appreciation in other ways, and consequently make a difference in their day as well.
2. Turn negatives into positives.
Leo Babauta of Zen Habits says that one of the reasons gratitude makes such a significant difference in his life is that it has the power to transform bad things into good things.
Admittedly, when bad things happen, a little whining is normal, and venting is therapeutic. But these solutions are short-term (and in the case of whining, usually pretty useless). There’s something to be gained and/or learned from every negative experience. Find it, and be thankful. Sometimes the only difference between a curse and a blessing is your attitude.
3. Imagine what life would be like WITHOUT a certain blessing in your life.
This is a really good reflective exercise if you’re the type of person who tends to take things and people for granted. My mom used to make me do this when I was younger, and furious at my dad for one reason or another. She’d tell me to sit by his bed when he was asleep and imagine he was dead. Gah! I know, right? Morbid to the max. But it was really, really effective.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to appreciate the people and things that make your life what it is. Take a few minutes of each day to imagine life without a particular blessing you take for granted. This could be a person, a talent you have, or something as basic as air or running water. I’m pretty sure it will make you see everything and everyone with new and more grateful eyes.
Life may not be perfect, but it’s good nevertheless. We just need to remind ourselves of that as often as we can. So I’m thinking of celebrating Thanksgiving this year by making it the start of daily mini-thanksgivings that I’ll practice all year round – hopefully for the rest of my life.
Feel free to join me, if you wish. :) Happy Thanksgiving!
Okay, don’t even ask me why I only discovered Kid President today. I honestly have no idea. Apparently he’s been around for a while and I’ve been living under a rock or something.
Anyway, HA! I’m in the loop now. And this Kid President is killing me! Because he’s adorable.
And also, AWESOME.
Awww… aaand cue the lump in throat and quivering lip…
Anyhoo.. *clears throat*…aheerrrm… my new pal Robby (aka Kid President) recently came out with this video called “20 Things We Should Say More Often" which I love, and I think everyone should watch… even just for the bonus bit at the end.
So here you go:
I was thinking about adding a few of my own, but you know what? I think 20 is enough for now. If we can remember to say maybe 5 of these more often this week, I think we’ll already have made the world around us a more pleasant place to live in.
Cheers and have a great new week, my friends!
So it turns out I’m obsessed with boats. WHO KNEW?? I honestly had no clue until this month, when the US sent over the USS George Washington to come and help out with relief efforts for Haiyan victims.
Eeek. OMGoodness. Aircraft carrier. I was so starstruck. I actually squee’ed. Like it was George CLOONEY or something.
This is probably because I watch all these American action movies all the time, so it’s like my brain’s trained to see aircraft carriers and think “We’re saved, we’re saved!” — and simultaneously play stirring, dramatic background music…And then expect some hunky sailor to come ashore and personally save me and sweep me off my feet…
Umm, ok. Getting a little carried away here.
So let’s get back on point… BOATS. They’re awesome. So yeah, I’m all over my good buddy Google all the time now, checking out all these OTHER boats that are coming into the Philippines. Like that fan-freaking-tastic floating hospital the USNS Mercy.
Because how cool is it to have a fully-functional hospital that floats? Especially when it’s coming to help my countrymen? Umm…SUPER COOL, my friends. SUPER COOL.
Now don’t get me wrong. I’m totally digging all the awesome airplanes that are coming in too. (Pic below nabbed from Chuvaness’ blog)
But I’m partial to boats. I like big boats. And I cannot lie. :)
I guess this is because I live on an island in a country made up of over 7,000 islands, and my family used to spend most weekends and summers at one beach or another. I can’t help it. Many of my life’s most memorable moments involved boats. Not always big boats, admittedly, (or even particularly seaworthy ones, come to think of it) - but boats nonetheless.
Countless beach and island-hopping trips? BOATS. Scuba diving? BOATS. Sailing the high seas for an incredible whale shark experience in Sorsogon with my friends? BOATS.
One of my family’s favorite stories — about when my brothers almost drowned? (It’s way funnier than it sounds, trust me). Yep. BOATS.
And even simple but precious, almost-forgotten moments like early summer mornings in Marinduque with my dad, watching the fishermen come back with their catch…
BOATS. And my dad. Sigh. I miss him.
Anyway it’s that last memory that’s been stuck in my head the past couple of days — ever since I saw this appeal on Facebook to help rebuild the livelihood of the fisherfolk in Dolores, Eastern Samar by donating boats to replace the ones they lost in the typhoon.
I love it. It’s so “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” - except we’re not teaching, just helping. Whatever. It’s awesome. Long lasting relief. And hope… that floats.
I LOVE IT.
So yeah, I’m definitely going to get one in the memory of my dad and those early Marinduque mornings, and name it something I think he’d like. If you’d like to donate a boat too, GO!! You can contact the Rotary Club of Makati Dasmarinas for more info.
I’m also planning to get a group together to donate another boat (or two, or more) to The Peter Project of the Negrense Volunters for Change - which is similar but a little more extensive (and therefore a little more expensive as well).
If you’d like to join my Peter Project gang, lemme know! Or donate on your own… Whatever floats your boat. (Hehe. Sorry, couldn’t resist. :P)
At the end of the day, HOW we end up helping doesn’t matter, as long as we keep doing so. There is so much to be done. Let’s do what we can. As I’ve said before, no effort is too small.
Cheers, my friends! Keep fighting the good fight. :)
I finally went back to work yesterday after a little over 3 months of sick leave and I have to say I really thought I’d be miserable. Waking up early? No longer being able to ignore the hundreds of work emails in my Inbox??
WTH kind of torture was that?? Not to mention I’d gotten quite used to the Matrona lifestyle…
…so I really thought I’d miss it. But NO! Surprise, surprise! Once I got past the first couple of hours or so of “What the hell am I doing here? Someone save me! I know much less than I should about what’s going on… etc" holiday hangover, MAN, it was like I was on fire! I was so on a roll, I swear. Like, ENERGIZER BUNNY LEVELS.
It’s funny, because before I got sick, I distinctly remember feeling really drained and dissatisfied all the time, hating Mondays with a passion and counting the minutes ‘til the weekend. But now? Whee! I love work again! YAY!
Now there are lots of reasons I’m digging being back in the office, but one thing that I think really helps is that I’ve very vocally and officially declared my person and everything within 5 feet — no matter where I may be standing or sitting at any given time — to be a NO-STRESS ZONE.
I think it’s kind of confounding people a little bit, to be honest. And I’m pretty sure that that befuddlement is accompanied by snickers in some cases. But WHATEVS. I remain firm on this no-stress zone thing (despite possible wagers about how long it will last).
I am so DONE with sweating the small stuff.
And if there’s anything you learn from getting cancer, it’s that most of the things we get our panties in a twist about actually fall under the category of “small stuff.”
I think most of us get to this realization given time and the proper perspective — but the problem is we get so caught up in the mundane details of work (or whatever it is that makes up our daily grind) that it becomes really easy to lose sight of the big picture.
This is why it’s good to get shaken up a bit every once in a while. I mean, you don’t have to get cancer or anything like that. (God forbid. KNOCK ON WOOD!) And being “shaken up” doesn’t mean that anything bad has to happen to you in particular. Just looking at the devastation brought about by the horrible Haiyan, for example, should be enough.
Life is not only short. It’s unpredictable in a way that can sometimes seem terribly cruel. So let’s stop wasting time worrying and stressing out about things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.
Maybe a totally stress-free zone is unrealistic. Fine. I accept that. But hey, if I can manage a no-“stupid unnecessary stress”-zone, then that’ll be good enough for me.
That is all. So off I go… back to work. Welcome back, working me! And here’s a little reminder for all of us sitting in our offices trying to make a living…
Lots of anger, frustration and other negative emotions on the social media feeds the past couple of days…
…so I thought I’d share a pretty cool and “happifying” exercise I read about on HuffPo a while back, which I think I’ll start doing today. Here goes…
When Google engineer-turned-mindfulness expert Chade-Meng Tan gives a talk in front of a group of Silicon Valley developers and executives, he often starts with a simple exercise.
“Imagine two human beings. Don’t say anything, don’t do anything, just wish for those two human beings to be happy. That’s all.”
During one recent talk, he gave the group a homework assignment: Perform the exercise the next day at work, spending 10 seconds each hour randomly choosing two people and silently wishing for them to be happy.
The following morning, Tan received an email from an employee who attended the workshop that read, “I hate my job. I hate coming to work every day. But yesterday I tried your suggestion and it was my happiest day in seven years.”
Pretty awesome, right? What a great way to mark the hours of your day.
Now I have no idea if mentally wishing people happiness will actually bring them happiness. But I don’t think that should stop me (or us, if you want to try it too) from wishing it for them anyway. Ten seconds a day.
At the very least, for ten seconds of every hour or day that we do it, we’re trying. And we’re remembering that happiness really does find its way to us quicker when we focus on others rather than ourselves.
That is all. Go try it, if you like. I’m off to start with my first two. Cheers!