Annnnnd I’m back from another long absence from the blogging world! Gosh I keep promising myself that I’d blog more often but I keep on breaking that over and over. 🙁 I don’t want to. But so many things keep happening with my day job, it stresses me out so darn much!

I know that everyone has their own kind of job-related stress but did you guys know that there are some jobs that are more stressful than others? Guess what? My job in PR is actually ranked 6th in the most stressful jobs of 2014 by Forbes
You know what too much stress to someone? A lot of negative things that’s what! A lot of stress can give you tension headaches, upset stomach, an elevated blood pressure, chest pain and can even result in sleeping problems. At the very least, too much stress can tire you out easily and even make you look old. Like way, way older than your actual age! Yikes! 
When I let stress get the best of me, you’d be able to tell. I have a couple of friends who are so darn right frank that they tell me outright “Mukhang stress na stress ka” (You look really stressed out). I dislike it when they give me such unsolicited opinions – who wants that di ba
But I also appreciate having them around to tell me that because it makes me so much more aware that I have to do something about it! Because who wants to get sick, old and ugly from stress right? Definitely not me! 
With April being the Stress Awareness Month, I thought I’d share some of the ways I fight off stress. 
1. I drink green tea.

I’ve read a lot of articles that say that drinking green tea helps alleviate stress. Researchers believe that it’s because it has L-theanine, an amino acid that has a soothing and calming effect to people who drink it. Also according to the research, that ingredient found in green tea affects the brain’s level of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine which can affect a person’s moods.

Plus drinking green tea helps me lose weight! 

2. I get a healthy dose of sunshine. 

The sun is a source of Vitamin D and according to studies, it also affects the levels of serotonin in the body which not only affects one’s moods, but also appetite, sleep and memory. When I’m feeling very stressed out, I try to make it a point to get out for awhile and walk around in the heat of the summer sunshine. I do feel better when I do that. And I find myself smiling after a few minutes of getting dosed with sunshine. 

3. I listen to music. 

Commuting to work alone is a stressful event for me most of the time especially since I have to take the MRT, which is often crowded and slow, to get to the office. So to help me relax, I listen to music on my phone. Thank God for a reliable Smart data plan and Spotify with its wide music selection! 

4. I play games on my phone.

Because there’s nothing better than just tuning out the whole world for awhile and lose yourself in the game! Find out what my current game addictions are here
5. I read books, magazines or comics. 

Some researchers say that this is the faster way to relax – faster than drinking tea or listening to music for instance because the mind has to focus on what you’re reading and being taken into the story distracts you from whatever it is that has been bugging you. 
Most of the time, what I do is I read a comic book at night before I go to sleep. I love reading Archie Comics! The stories are so amusing and sometimes downright funny! 

6. I meet up with friends. 

Studies have also shown that a good conversation with someone helps fight off stress by providing you with social support. Meet some of my awesome friends whom I often hang out with:

My best friend, Ryan and I. This was taken in HK Disneyland!
Mai, my fashion confidant and favorite ka-chikahan about Hollywood celebs! 

Me and my friend since 6th grade, Erin
And this is me with Maila, my friend from work. The one who absorbs all my work-related rants. 

7. I sing my heart out doing karaoke! 

Well a lot of Filipinos have a fondness for karaoke, am I right? My friends and I, we love singing songs from Spice Girls because well we’re the kids of the 90’s!

This is me with my high school friends at a karaoke bar somewhere in Pasay City 

8. I play with our pet cat. 

My mom a few months ago was given a cat named Aljur. Don’t ask me why. The cat already had that name before we owned it. But my guess is the former owner was a fan of GMA 7 shows and probably thought naming the cat after a hot celebrity actor from that channel was a good idea. Like most cats, ours doesn’t come running to me whenever I get home from work, slobbering me with wet kisses or at the very least wagging its tail as a sign that it’s happy to see me like dogs would do. But I still like to pet him a lot especially after a long day in the office!

9. I indulge myself in retail therapy aka shopping! 

I think Becky Bloomwood (Confessions of a Shopaholic) described the feeling that comes with shopping best when she said, “That moment. That instant when your fingers curl round the handles of a shiny, uncreased bag—and all the gorgeous new things inside it become yours. What’s it like? It’s like going hungry for days, then cramming your mouth full of warm buttered toast. It’s like waking up and realizing it’s the weekend. It’s like the better moments of sex. Everything else is blocked out of your mind. It’s pure, selfish pleasure.” 

and lastly…

10. When time and money permits, I go on a vacation. 

It’s already a relaxing feeling the idea of not having to open my email for awhile. Or commuting to work… Of not thinking about stuff I have to do at the office. Sometimes when I have the time and money, I take an out-of-town vacation with friends. Just recently, I went to Cebu with two of my high school friends, Mark and Jordan. I’ll blog about that next time.

I admit I used to not take time off from work – mostly because I was in a company where I was the only Account Executive so a lot of the day to day coordination with clients was on me and also because in my former company, when you don’t use up all of your vacation and sick leaves, at the end of the year, it gets converted to cash.

But in my current company, that’s not the case. If you don’t use up your leaves, at the end of the year, that’s all gone. So I take my vacation leaves. Plus I realized it was actually good to take time off from work from every now and then. It’s re-energizing to do so.

By the way for my readers based in the US, I recently found out about this new kind of health insurance company in New York and New Jersey called Oscar. Here are some of the ways they simplify healthcare and help their members be more proactive about their health:  they have a mobile app that let’s members get reminders about upcoming appointments and prescriptions. It even allows them to talk to a doctor anytime through a unique tool they call, Doctor on Call and they also provide each member with a free Misfit activity tracker so they can keep track of their health everyday and get rewards for being active! 

Personally that part “rewards for being active” got my attention. So I google-d a little more about Oscar and here are a couple of tweets I found about those rewards:

Sounds awesome right? I wish there was something like this in the Philippines! I think that would get so much more customers like me to sign up for health insurance honestly especially young, working ones like me. I mean I do have health insurance but it’s nothing like Oscar! They really seem to have taken it to a whole new level! Anyway if you want to know more about them, you can check out their websites in New York and New Jersey.

Tada! Does that look like the face of someone stressed out? 

I actually like this selfie I recently took. I’m tooting my own horn here but I dare say I look blooming in this photo. He.He.

So those are the ways I deal with stress. I’d also love to hear how you personally deal with stress too!