By Karen Galarpe


I chuckled at the sight: one of my toenails in black currant polish. Suddenly I felt so out of character, and ready for adventure. The manicurist laughed with me, as I asked, “Won’t I look like a vampire?” Then I thought, why not? It’s time to try new shades, new things.

It was a lazy Sunday afternoon, and I tried out this salon on West Avenue after I found no parking space at the salon I usually go to. New salon, new hair stylist, new polish–yeah, bring it on.

I have a job that is kinda stressful. We’re in full adrenaline rush mode when there’s breaking news, like the Japan earthquake and tsunami last March, or the Halalan national elections last year. On other days, we’re still in some kind of rush, as we need to write, edit, and publish news as they happen.

So when other things come into play at work (changes, et cetera), it can get more stressful than usual. My hyperacidity kicks in, I can’t eat, my back hurts, and I get bone tired at the end of the day.

But I’ve been through other stressful times, and found that there are things one can do to bust that stress. Here are my tried-and-tested stress busters:

1. Treat yourself to something yummy. For me, sometimes it just takes a kiwi Sprite float, a great tea drink, barako coffee, or dark chocolates to lift my spirits.

2. Phone a friend. Or text, tweet, send a Facebook message. I love that my close friends are ready to listen to me, or if they’re busy, will get back to me when they have time to hear me out.

3. Go to a salon. Pamper yourself. Try a new shade of nail polish like I did.

4. Read a book that’s not for work or about the work that you do. Discover the sheer pleasure of reading and getting lost in someone’s world or finding some truths you can apply in your life.

5. Go for a massage. It’s painfully liberating to have those little hard knots of muscle at the back loosened. A foot spa also does wonders. You come out relaxed.

6. Tune in to some classical or soothing jazz music. Best done on the way home after a long hard day.

7. Pray. Yes, it works. And we can talk to Him like we talk to our close friends.

8. See what’s beyond you. There’s a whole world out there, one where you’re not the center of the universe. Just last week, the man who usually watches my car while parked outside asked me if I knew of a place where his nephew can go have a CT scan for free. There are many people in need around us.

9. Read the Bible. A chapter a day is food for the soul. Start with the gospel of John, or Psalms, or Proverbs.

10. Let go. Face it, there are just some things you can’t control. So let go, sip that coffee at an outdoor table in a cafe, feel the breeze, and watch the world go by.