Ahon! My Top 10 Activities to Release Stress

Are you caught up in the web of stressful circumstances? Yung tipong lahat na lang yata ng mga kapaguran na available sa mundo sinasalo mo? Yung di ka na makaahon sa dami ng trabaho, yung pressure ng overlapping commitments sinasakal ka na masyado, o kaya naman yung mga polo mo naghuhumiyaw na sa sobrang sikip na nila para sayo? Nakaka-stress ano?

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As stated in my previous post, may mga outlets ako to release stress and tension. Kapag di ko na kaya ang bigat, kapag pakiramdam ko lunod na lunod na ako, may mga go-to places and people ako para maging “shock absorber” (sorry na, peeps!). Dahil lahat naman tayo kailangang mag-unload from time to time para hindi sumabog di ba?

Here are some of my stress-relievers.

  1. Biking

What I love about biking is that you can go places as far as your legs can handle. Kapag masakit na at parang hindi na kaya, uwian na. Haha! It is cheap and healthy activity, pinawisan ka na, nag-enjoy ka pa! Since I am from Marikina, common destinations namin ng mga friends ko pag nagbi-bike ay sa Rizal (Binangonan-Morong-Tanay or San Mateo-Rodriguez), UP or even within Marikina loop, bilang napaka-bike friendly ng bayan kong sinta.

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  1. Hiking

When schedule allows me to, I join hiking activities para naman medyo malayo sa stressful work. Iba rin kasi ang yung feeling na nasa summit ka ng bundok, dinadama ang masarap na simoy ng hangin tapos nakaharap ka either sa dagat or sa mga pamayanan. It changes perspective. Yung sobra kang naka-focus sa sarili mong mga problema, tapos mare-realize mo na mas malaki pa rin si Lord talaga si Lord kaysa mga problema mo.

  1. Vitamin Sea

Again, when schedule allows me to, masaya din na magpunta sa tabing dagat para magtampisaw, o kahit na pakiramdaman mo lang ang simoy ng maalat na hangin habang kinakausap ang sarili na kunwari gumagawa ka ng music video. Aminin mo, kakaibang ligaya ang dulot ng paglalakad sa tabing-dagat, binabalik ang lahat ng masasayang ala-ala ng buhay mo na para kang bida sa telenovela habang panandalian mong nakakalimutan na may babalikan ka pang ga-bundok na trabaho sa opisina. Pero at least, di ba. Masaya ka.img_0402

  1. Pet Cafes

Medyo may kaunting gastos pero masaya. Try mong pumunta sa Barkin’ Blends near Sta. Lucia or sa Bengal Brew + Wolf and Bear sa Cubao. If you are a pet lover, surely mae-enjoy mo itong trip na to. Makipaglaro ka sa mga aso. Kumustahin mo sila. Amuyin mo sila. Ikwento mo sa kanila ang mga officemates mong chini-chismis ka, ang boss mo na mahilig magbigay ng trabaho kapag pauwi ka na, o kaya naman yung ex mo na sa sobrang pagka-pet lover, ipinagpalit ka na lang sa pet. May therapeutic effect din kasi ang pakikipaglaro sa mga hayop, pero word of caution, wag makikipag-relasyon sa hayop kasi may damaging effect sa emotions. Hahaha! Sorry na, ang bad ko dun. 🙂

 

  1. Blogging

Just like now, kaya ako nagsulat ng post na ito kasi alam mo na, stressed ako. Isulat mo ang anumang nararamdaman mo. Isulat mo ang gusto mong sabihin. Type lang nang type. Nakakatulong mag-release ng tension kapag hinahayaan mong ang mga daliri mo ay tumitipa ng keyboard. Mas madiin at mas malakas ang hampas sa keyboard, mas satisfying! Haha! It doesn’t matter kung may magbabasa man ng post mo o wala, may magco-comment man o wala. Basta naisulat mo ang gusto mong sabihin. Pero be careful sa anumang isusulat mo, be a responsible blogger. Wag mag-spread ng fake news. Lagot ka kay Mocha.

  1. Read books

Pumunta ka sa mga book fairs, sa mga book sale mga bookstores, even sa mga libraries. If you are a reader, you’ll agree with me na sobrang satisfying ang makaamoy ng libro. Yung halimuyak na nakakapagpa-kalma sa pagod mong isipan. Tapos damhin mo yung bawat page, yung texture ng papel, ganun. Pero syempre basahin mo rin. Hahaha! Highlight words na nakapagbigay ng impact sayo. It’s always fun to learn and discover new things.img_2227

  1. Watch movie

Given na to. Kapag lunod na lunod ka na sa trabaho, it’s not a bad thing kung gusto mong manood ng movie. Lalo na for me who loves superhero movies, nakaka-alis ng stress ang panonood ng movie. Pero dahil common na nga siya, lagyan mo na lang ng kaunting challenge ang panonood mo: minsan kong sinubukan na manood nang mag-isa, manood ng sad movie tapos pigilan ang sarili mo na umiyak, at manood ng movie tapos magbaon ng pandesal at palaman. Sa susunod nga, gusto kong i-try magbaon ng kanin at ulam. Hahaha!

  1. Play games

Di ako gamer pero effective na pang-divert ng attention ang mobile games. I installed Wordscapes para naman kapag pagod na ako kakaisip ng numbers, letters and words naman. Ang saya di ba. Nag-install din ako ng Idle Poring. Since hindi na kaya ng schedule ko ang maglaro pa ng Ragnarok, which I really loved playing nung bata pa ako, dun na lang ako sa Idle Poring. Pareho din naman ng sounds and ng characters, iba nga lang ng gameplay at interface. Pero pwede na rin, perfect game for busy person like me. Sabi nga ng kapatid ko enjoy na enjoy akong pinapanood yung character ko na tumatakbo all throughout the game. Kanya-kanyang trip yan!

  1. Run to your accountability partners

It’s always good to have friends to watch your back. Yung sasaluhin ka nila sa panahong bigat na bigat ka na. I am blessed to have friends from church, from PSA and from MYA na alam kong nasasandalan ko for encouragement and prayers. Appreciate your circle of friends. Isama na rin natin ang family natin. After a tiring day, it’s relaxing to know that we have friends and family na uuwian natin. Yung hindi tayo ico-condemn. Yung hindi tayo ipagpapalit sa 30 pieces of silver. Yung ililibre tayo ng burger o kaya ng pizza o kaya ng BFF fries.

  1. Go to Prayer Mountain

Kapag talaga hindi ko na kaya, I go to Touch of Glory Prayer Mountain. Di kalayuan sa Marikina pero safe haven ko siya. I pour out to the Lord all my burdens, my concerns pati lahat ng kapaguran ko sa buhay. Para siyang isang electrical outlet for me to plug myself into, para di ako tuluyang ma-drain. Nakakagaan kapag alam mong iniyak mo na ang lahat sa Lord, isinigaw mo lahat ng prayers mo at kahit mapagod ka kakaiyak at kakasumbong sa Kanya, alam mong nakikinig Siya. Wag ka lang matutulog sa loob ng prayer cell. Kasi naman parang sobrang sarap matulog sa loob. Haha!

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When you feel like sobrang nakakapagod na at di mo na kaya, don’t lose hope. Kapit lang. It takes a clear mind and a fresh perspective para hindi ka ma-overwhelm ng mga challenges mo sa buhay, ahem, I am speaking to myself. Haha! Mabuti na lang may provision si Lord ng mga outlets for me, para hindi na lang ako basta mag-collapse sa kalsada.

And I also thank God kasi He is always available to hear my prayers and my cries. Hindi ko naman kailangan umakyat pa ng Prayer Mountain just for the Lord to hear me. He hears me even when I am in bed, shedding tears kasi… huhuhu, “Lord, pagod na po ako, payakap naman po”. Try niyo, it is comforting, and it develops an intimate relationship with your Creator.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:28-30

I was reminded by the words of Director Phil Coulson of Marvel’s Agents of Shield. In one episode, Season 1 yata ng AoS, sabi niya:

“The world is full of evil and lies and pain and death, and you can’t hide from it. You can only face it. The question is, when you do, how do you respond? Who do you become?”

Ikaw, in the face of your challenges and stress, who do you become?

PS. Baka naman may iba ka pang stress-relieving activities, share mo naman with me 🙂

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Line Busy?

Have you ever felt like there’s no one who listens? No one who pays attention? Have you ever felt like there’s no one who cares? Maybe you’ve been calling on a busy line. Maybe you’ve been looking after someone who isn’t really there.

I bet you know the feeling na binagsakan ka ng telepono. Nakakasama ng loob, sa totoo lang. Yung feeling na lahat ng self-confidence na binuo mo sa kabuuan ng existence mo, biglang babagsak kasabay ng pagbagsak niya ng handle ng telepono… ang sakit kaya! Nakakabingi, nakakaiyak, nakakapanghina.

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Ok, ang OA ko. Haha! Bilang isang taong may pusong mamon, hindi ko lang kasi gusto yung pakiramdam na parang hindi interesado sayo ang kausap mo. Equally painful din yung alam mo na kaya naman niyang sagutin ang linya pero hindi niya pini-pick up ang telepono. Kumbaga sa social media lingo, hindi ka lang na-seenzone, na-mark-as-read-zone ka, ni hindi man lang siya nag-bother na pansinin ang nais mong sabihin. #sadlayp

There was a passage in 1 Kings 18 na pumukaw ng attention ko. It was actually a familiar story- the contest on Mt. Carmel between prophet Elijah and the priests of Baal. You may read the whole account through this link.

Balik tayo sa attention-grabbing verse na sinasabi ko:

29 Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.

The priests of Baal went on to call upon their god for a display of power, but they received none. Wala silang narinig ni kaluskos mula sa kanilang dios-diosan. Walang sagot, walang Baal na pumansin sa kanila. They even went as far as hurting themselves to receive attention from their non-existent god, and then again, no response. Busy much, perhaps?, taunts Elijah.

Ang hirap kung hindi ka pinapansin ng diyos na binigyan mo ng devotion ano? I wonder how painful it was for the priests of Baal na mapahiya sa harapan ng mga Israelites. Sa isang tao nga lang na mapahiya ka ang sakit-sakit na 😦

In contrast, when it was Elijah’s turn to call upon his God, it went like this:

36 At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37 Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. 

There was, obviously a contrasting response between Baal and the God of Elijah. It was a contrast of power and powerlessness, of existence and nonexistence, of attentiveness and inattentiveness, of divinity and the lack thereof. There is no more need to ask who is the true and living God – the Lord already drew the line. Tapos ang laban. May nanalo na.

Total dependence on these Baals will blind you to your need of the One true source of satisfaction. Baals keep us preoccupied and takes our attention away from God

Have you ever been dependent onto something, say a job, a dream, a relationship, or some material possession*, thinking that it will keep you full and satisfied, but at the end of the day you just end up still feeling empty? Maybe it has become a Baal to you. And like the Baals of the Old Testament times, kahit anong tawag mo sa kanila for comfort and refuge, it will always disappoint you. Total dependence on these Baals will blind you to your need of the One true source of satisfaction. Baals keep us preoccupied and takes our attention away from God.

* Don’t get me wrong. These things are necessary for our daily sustenance. These things are not bad in itself. But when it becomes a Baal to us – something that we depend on too much more than the Lord, then it becomes a distraction, a heavy burden for us to bear.

Have you ever felt like there’s no one who listens? No one who pays attention? Have you ever felt like there’s no one who cares? Maybe you’ve been calling on a busy line. Maybe you’ve been looking after someone who isn’t really there. Subukan mong tumawag kay Lord. Wala namang tumatawag sa Kanya na hindi Niya sinagot. Hindi naman busy ang linya Niya. Hindi naman Siya namimili ng mga kakausapin Niya. Tawag ka lang sa Kanya. He’s waiting, in fact. And like what He did when Elijah called Him, He will respond to you. Bakit ko nasabi? Kasi ipinangako Niya yun.

Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’ – Jeremiah 33:3

You may have friends who deserted you, family members who don’t treat you well, or people dear to your heart who failed you. You may have tried to catch the attention of people around you but no one seems to take notice. People may fail us from time to time but the Lord will not. Call upon Him. His lines are not busy. He has great things in store for you.

Promise, hindi ka Niya babagsakan ng linya.

 

Don’t Pull Out the Plug

Whatever your situation, no matter how frustrating it is, we can always bring the matter to the Lord.

At one time or another, we have experienced a season of disappointments on God’s plans and directions in our life. There are moments when we pop the question, “where are You Lord, and why is this happening to me?” We doubt His instructions, and more so His instructions, or most of the time His silence – His seemingly lack of concern to the emotional turmoil we are dealing with.Don't Pull out the PlugThis has been the case with prophet Habakkuk. He lived during the final days before the nation of Judah was conquered by the Babylonians. He was burdened, and in his distress he called out to God in the most honest, truth-seeking prayer he can mutter.

As I read the book of Habakkuk, I was able to glean significant realizations on how do we relate to God during our times of distress and how can we be encouraged with the example set out by the prophet. But the most important thing to note is that Habakkuk is just like us, so natural on his emotions, but unlike most of us, he is exemplary on his faith.

  1. Like Habakkuk, we can honestly cry out to the Lord

The prophet was brutally honest about his frustrations on what is happening around him. Injustice was rampant and he is sick with violence and plundering he witnesses from time to time. His frustrations were vent out to God: “O Lord, how long shall I cry, and You will not hear?”

Is this scenario familiar? Daily we hear the news and cringe on humanity’s dying morality and justice. National issues frustrate us every single day.

Let’s make it more personal. We all have our share of frustrating situations, like being backstabbed by a close friend, or failure to settle a maturing debt. Or maybe, a loved one was rushed to the hospital, leaving us in a state of panic.

The problem is when people have questions, instead of looking up to God for answers, some prefer to form societies, and within these gripe groups they try to seek for answers.

Whatever your situation, no matter how frustrating it is, we can always bring the matter to the Lord. He doesn’t mind you asking Him questions, neither is He bothered when you blurt out your doubts. Habakkuk is a perfect example of a person who courageously uttered His frustrations to God. In the first place, He knows our hearts and all out thoughts, so why shy away in your prayers?

The problem is when people have questions, instead of looking up to God for answers, some prefer to form societies, and within these gripe groups they try to seek for answers. The good thing about Habakkuk’s prayer is not just his honesty, but to whom He expresses it. He knows that when it comes to the matters of the heart such as his frustrations, only the Lord has the answer.

  1. Like Habakkuk, we must wait upon the Lord

Habakkuk received an answer from the Lord, but the answer is not what he has expected to hear from the God of justice. It was like he is expecting that good will triumph against evil, but what he received as a response was “something more evil will wipe out the evil” – a stark contrast from what he desires to happen, or at least expects to happen.  He obviously cannot fathom God’s train of thought on that matter.

Habakkuk embraced God’s promises and sovereignty even in times of his confusion. He trusts God’s timing that someday, justice will be served and His questions and doubts will be given a crystal-clear answer.

Just like us. We pray for certain things to happen but God gives us a different response. Indeed, His ways are higher than ours. His timetable is different, His logic incomparable to us human beings. Hence, some ends up being bitter, forsaking their relationship with the Lord.

Yet when it comes to Habakkuk, the Lord’s incomprehensible response served not as a reason for him to desert God, but as a reason to cling to God more. In fact, his name Habakkuk came from the Hebrew verb “habaq” meaning embrace. Thus his name probably means “someone who embraces or clings”. Habakkuk embraced God’s promises and sovereignty even in times of his confusion. He trusts God’s timing that someday, justice will be served and His questions and doubts will be given a crystal-clear answer.

  1. Like Habakkuk, we ought to put our joy in the Lord

Disappointment in life is often a ticket to sudden halt in our spiritual journey. When things don’t go well, when we can’t find any reason to rejoice because of what we see around us, it is easy to lose focus and energy, even lose joy in our Christian walk.

During the time of Habakkuk, it is hard to find encouragement when you know that imminent danger is coming your way. Yet Habakkuk chose to put his hope and joy in the Lord. Towards the end of his book, he has written an encouraging psalm that is for us to take hold of:

Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the Lord,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The Sovereign Lord is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to tread on the heights.

Habakkuk 3:17-19

Habakkuk is saying, in our language, that “even when all things went wrong – even when the economy falls, when the prices of commodities soar high, when the elections turn out differently from what I am expecting, even when my health fails and people desert me – still I will trust in You Lord. You are the source of my Joy and my strength, and in You alone I place my trust”.

This doesn’t mean we will dismiss our questions. This doesn’t mean we will stop seeking answers. This only means that even when we don’t understand his plans, we will not pull out the plug of our relationship with Him.

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Habakkuk is encouraging us, don’t pull the plug.

Conversation with God

Unless you are willing to give up whatever I ask of you, the perfect time will not arrive soon for you.

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God: Why are you crying?

Boy: I’m crying because of her.

God: That one? What about her?

Boy: I invested a lot of feelings on her but to no avail.

God: Is that so?

Boy: Yes. I even pushed myself to the limits. I skipped meals just to save money so I can buy her gifts. I am actually trying my best in everything for her to notice me.

God: Wow! That’s good. You are indeed highly motivated.

Boy: I badly want her to notice me. Have you seen my efforts, God?

God: Yes, and I can say you are an impressive guy.

Boy: But God, she isn’t impressed. What’s the matter with her?

God: …

Boy: Oh! I remember. She’s been in my prayers this past few weeks. You see, I shed tears for her. I like her so much, God. Haven’t You heard my prayers?

God: Of course, I do! I know all about your prayers.

Boy; Then why she isn’t into me yet?

God: Because son, I want you to be happy.

Boy: She makes me happy, God!

God: I know. I know how much you giggle every time you see her. I know how inspired you are whenever you think about her. I know all about that.

Boy: See! But why aren’t You making any actions on it? Do you love me, God? I mean, for real?

God: Of course son! I even died for you remember?

Boy: Yeah, yeah. I have heard that story countless time. But that is not the kind of love I am seeking. I like her, I mean, I love her. Will You give her to me?

God: Let me think about it. But first, I have to tell you some important things.

Boy: Shoot! What about, God? Anything goes.

God: Listen to me carefully. Do you know what love means?

Boy: Hmmm, yes. Liking someone, wanting her near, being sweet to her, You know – flowers, chocolates, gifts. Making her happy!

God: Ok, I get your point. But you’re just scratching the surface.

Boy: What do You mean?

God: What are you willing to give up for her? You know, love is sacrifice, just like what I did on the cross. When you say you love a person, you are saying that you are willing to give up everything for that person, even your life.

Boy: Isn’t that too much, God? Intense!

God: I think so, son. But let me continue. Are you willing to give up your precious ‘me’ time to meet her demands? Are you willing to adjust to her personality? Are you willing to share your resources to her? Are you willing to meet her parent’s expectations? As far as I can see, you cannot even obey your parents without whining or complain.

Boy: …

God: How about your privacy? Are you willing to give up your privacy and share it with her? Are you ready to let go of your pride and allow her to influence your every decision? And son, I am telling you, love is making a commitment. A commitment is not just a promise that is easily forgotten. A commitment has to shape your life. When you commit to someone, it means you are willing to take the risks and losses just to keep your commitment.

Boy: Commitment seems to be a serious thing.

God: Sure it is! So are you even serious about what you are asking me?

Boy: I think so, God.

God: Ok. So let’s start with the simplest sacrifice – your game console. Are you willing to give it up?

Boy: Umm… this one, God? Are You even serious? If there’s one thing that takes the most out of my time, this could be it. I value my games too much, as much as I value my gadgets. This is what makes me the most popular kid! How will she able to notice me if I am not popular anymore?

God: Love, my son, is a sacrifice. And unless you are willing to give up whatever I ask of you, the perfect time will not arrive soon for you. For now, son, finish your studies first. I’ll consider your request once you are man enough and sincerely willing to sacrifice.

The Difference

I had so much to accomplish
that I had to take time to pray.

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I got up early one morning
and rushed right into the day;
I had so much to accomplish
that I didn’t have time to pray.

Problems just tumbled about me,
And heavier came each task.
“Why doesn’t God help me?” I wondered.
He answered, ‘You didn’t ask.”

I wanted to see joy and beauty,
but the day toiled, gray and bleak;
I wondered why God didn’t show me.
He said, “But you didn’t seek.”

I tried to come into God’s presence;
I used all my keys at the lock.
God gently and lovingly chided,
“My child, you didn’t knock.”

I woke up early this morning
and paused before entering the day;
I had so much to accomplish
that I had to take time to pray.

– Unknown