Breakthroughs, Breakouts, and Workouts

Libra season is here and it’s slayin’

If you’ve seen this blog before, chances are you already know that I created this to help with the burnout that I am experiencing from work, to rekindle the passion that I have for writing, and also to meet people over the web who shares the same passion and interests that I have. And now three months into this blogging life, I can already notice some great changes in my daily life and I also have you, yes you — the one reading this to thank for.

In my last post, I mentioned that I resigned from my job. A fierce, bold move in the midst of the pandemic when a lot of people are being laid off and looking for work. I myself am dumbfounded with my decision but it is one that I had to make if I wanted to keep my sanity in check. With an economic crisis, this thought should not even be entertained, but after some careful and dreadful thinking, I still believed that it was the right thing to do – I have to quit my job, even without a job prospect in sight.

It might even be called reckless or stupid, but I wanted to see what I can get away with. Sometimes, life requires you to take the leap off the edge to teach you how to fly. And as the last quarter of the year started, 2020 decided to throw in an awesome plot twist my way: I got offered a job opportunity that was better than what I even hoped for.

And to top it all off, I also experienced significant improvement in terms of my mental health. Of course it hasn’t been all up to fate and the universe, I also did a lot of changes and tried to incorporate mindful techniques and other healthier lifestyle habits as much as I could in my every day life. And as it has helped me, I also want to be able to share some of it with you:

  1. Workout – With all the snacking and food deliveries that became a routine during the six months of quarantine in my country, I had to find a way to keep my body burn those calories off. I found some good and fun exercises on Youtube and on the Rebel app that keeps the endorphins coming. I’m admitting though that I still am not that disciplined yet.
  2. Skincare – I totally disregarded my skincare routine when I suffered burnout from work. Months passed by that I did not even bother to put on any moisturizer or even wash off my face with some cleanser before sleeping. I was too tired to care, and even more to function. But last month, I decided to step up my game and bought a whole new skincare set and has been religiously taking care of myself in that area.
  3. Mindfulness – I learned about mindfulness from a couple of self-help books that I was reading a few months ago but only truly gave it a try when I hit rock bottom. Simply put, it is a type of meditation wherein you focus on the present, and nothing else at all. My favorite exercises are breathing exercises as it really works like magic on me. You can also checkout a beginner guide here.

Honestly, I just wanted to share the good news and also to bring some positive light to this blog too. And if you’re reading this and need an ear to listen, or a virtual friend to talk to, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I’m also open to suggestions! 🙂

Cheers to the sunrise and new beginnings!

Stick It!

I started this blog for a sole purpose – to act as my passion project as I start working on my self-care. For the first few weeks, I have tried to write religiously as possible to justify the cost of purchasing the domain, and honestly, because I am excited with the community I found here and it also was my sort of escape. However, I have been in a slump for about two weeks now not because I don’t find this fun anymore, nor because I felt lazy and decided to just quit out of the blue but because I realized that there’s more than one way to practice self-care during this time of pandemic.

A month ago, I decided to quit my job. Yes, during such a crazy time. And yet, as I am writing this, I know deep in my heart that it is the right thing to do – the job has taken the life out of me and the anxiety and the sadness (depression(?), I wasn’t medically diagnosed yet since I haven’t had the courage to see a doctor in this pandemic) that it brings outweighs the pros of staying – mainly, just my salary. It was such a bold move and my anxiety got even worse, there were times that I could not function the whole day -I would just stop and stare at my laptop screen instead of doing my job, then breakdown. It wasn’t a pretty sight. I wanted to write but I also could not find the energy to open my laptop and do it without thinking about the work I should rather be doing. I know I had to do something about it so I took a few days off from work to give myself some space without feeling guilty.

I filed for two days off before and after that weekend to have more time to gather up my thoughts and “fix” whatever it is that I’ve been feeling. I also did not tell my family about the leaves so that they’d give me my space, thinking I was working. It was during those days that I realized that self-care truly comes in different forms but it always starts with this step – you’d do something good to yourself, for yourself.

And while I’ll be talking about these newfound habits and interests of mine in other posts, I’d like to use this post to highlight the help of essential oils to help me relax during such stressful time. During the nights that I have a hard time sleeping due to the anxiety, I’d pop in the diffuser we have at home and let the lavender scent caress me to sleep. Aromatherapy is a practice that has been around for centuries that uses essential oils for its therapeutic benefit. And with the rise of the popularity of holistic living and alternative medicine, also comes the rise to stardom of essential oils. In fact, in the Philippines, there’s a term for people who uses essential oils for healing or those exploring its wonders – “oilbularyo”. The oils have different effect on the body and mind but one particular scent that I like is rosemary as it is said to combat fatigue, mental exhaustion and it smells really fresh too!

The universe’s magic also intervened as Princess from The Mindful Modus shared in her previous post that she’s recently decided to sell her own essential oil inhalers on Shopee. It was exactly what I need – a pocket sized essential oil inhaler of the scents that I already like and trust. Ordered it right away and was delivered shortly after two days.

I tried her three available scents – Dream (lavender and eucalyptus), Focus (rosemary and eucalyptus), and Breathe (lavender and rosemary). I knew before I ordered that I’d like breathe because it’s my two favorite scents from our oil collection at home but I was surprised to find myself really liking her mix of rosemary and eucalyptus for her Focus scent.

So if ever you find yourself dipping your toes on the world of essential oils and would like to test if the hype about it is real, feel free to check out Princess’ oh ma therapie! for affordable personal inhaler sticks. 🙂

Replay Or Rewind

If you had a chance for a “do-over” in life, what would you do differently?

At the young age of 6, I got tested and was said to be ‘gifted’ by a respectable doctor from a research facility here in the Philippines. My grandparents who were living with me during that time deemed it necessary to hone the talent that I was given with. Unlike most children my age, I did not get to experience the typical childhood life outside of the house – I did not get to play physical games with peers, ride around town on my bike, or simply have playmates. Heck, my childhood best friend is my classmate who I competed with for gold medals during quiz bees and school competitions. I was a total nerd but it wasn’t because my grandparents forced me to study or hindered me from a normal childhood life – it was because as early as 7 years old, I already liked to rise up to the challenges presented to me and they made it seem like finishing at the top of the class was a feat.

Come the end of my high school life, when we were all deciding what course to take that’ll help shape our future. I wanted to do something related to Communication Arts but everyone was telling me that I’d throw away my gifts if I pursue it. I ended up going for a ‘tough’ choice, a course everyone thinks is challenging for most, a degree worth pursuing they say – Electronics and Communication Engineering. Up to now, I don’t know what people should really be doing given this degree.

I got through engineering school even if I didn’t like it in the first place, going through each class thinking that it’s only a challenge to conquer, I looked at complex circuits as riddles to be solved. Then right after graduation, I took the board examination and passed the ultimate test. It made me proud but I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t even satisfied. And yet, my dad was ecstatic and proud of his little girl who has just become a licensed engineer. I will never forget the look on his face. For that alone, if I were given another chance, I still would have taken the degree. Even if it leads me to where I am right now – a place full of confusion.

Well, if I am to go through that again, what’s the whole point of the post? What’s something that I would “do-over” if given a chance to hit the rewind button? There’s only one thing that I could actually think of: I’d let myself experience failure. I will not be scared to lose, to fall down, and fall right flat on my face. It took me 25 years to realize that experiencing failures and rising on your feet again is its own reward and would only make success a bit sweeter. I know, there’s no going back in time, so instead of having to “do-over”, I will let this be a reminder as I continue to shape my future and face the hurdles of fate: winning isn’t everything and there’s no such thing as failures, only lessons learned. 😉

Today, V knows the difference of being ‘good’ and being happy.


I would like to thank Think Talk for nominating for the Liebster Blogger Award and for providing a beautiful set of questions which inspired me to write this post. I feel deeply honored knowing that someone out there appreciates the things I write.

words enchanting


Skulls and roses,
the heart and the mind,
Thoughts and emotions,
butterflies and bones;
each are alike,
yet each seems to oppose.
*
Through rise and fall,
of celestial orbs;
Through the constant tick and tock
of mechanical clocks;
Through doubts and indecision,
suddenly,
a magical moment found.
*
Years passed,
caged in an enchanted sleep;
Yet in this magical night,
and the splendor of words,
ignites the sleeping beas
t


The notebook in the photo was what I once called as my perfect notebook the moment I laid my eyes on it. I can’t seem to find the courage to start writing on it since it was given to me as a gift. I hold it with so much reverie that I think that my thoughts and my emotions aren’t worthy enough for the blank pages it beholds. In fact, I even searched and bought for a new one. Yet, just only last night, this magical moment happened, and I was finally able to gather up the confidence that I need to start devouring the pages and fill it with my own wonder.


one of those nights

I stare at the keys, taunting me
illuminating blue light, dark thoughts
it’s crazy how these feelings do.
Raw, unfiltered, unmasked
letting it all go in heavy, little presses.
Where to start, how to continue?
Ten thousand more hours I need,
to make little pieces that count.
Trying times, jaded mind,
the white canvas, blank lines
my bunker underneath this mess.
A scream of plea, a cry for help,
created a world to keep me safe.


Pandemic Made Me Do It

By now you’ve probably seen tons of photos, articles and blog post that are all related to this pandemic. What can we do? This has been monumental for everyone of us – like it or not, we’re all affected by the rapid spread of this virus and it is such a game changer. We were all forced to take a pause from our daily routine, our sense of normalcy disrupted and have since been adapting to our new normal. But as social beings stuck in this world of capitalism, we still found ways to create new fads.

It started when Dalgona coffee took the internet by storm. This easy to make beverage is everywhere on the first few weeks of quarantine – you name it, it’s all over your face each day. The fact that it is easy to make, its ingredients readily available (for a fair price too), highly aesthetic and actually tastes good got the most of us whipping our hearts out. Then came the basque burnt cheesecakes and other pastries. By now, some of your friends have probably opened their own homemade bakeshops that you’ve already tried (
#supportlocal). And let’s not forget the release of Animal Crossing: New Horizons that everyone (including the celebrities we follow. Hi Elijah Wood and Brie Larson ) jumped on the hype train and went gaga over the deserted island life simulation game that even Nintendo was surprised by the sales not just of the game, but the consoles too. But I think, one of the most common guilty pleasure we all share right now is online shopping. It’s convenient, it’s hassle-free, and yes, it’s plain old “retail therapy”.

Again, what can we do? We all have our own coping mechanisms and online shopping can boost our mood or at least gets us something to look forward to. Careful though, it’s a slippery slope to going broke. I myself am a culprit of spending some hard earned cash during this pandemic period to help me get by and let me share with you some of the stuff I loved
:

  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons
    I am guilty of being completely crazy over this game for the first two months since its release. I was playing (more like grinding) this simulation like game which helped me escape from the clutches of reality during the first few weeks of the quarantine. Check out my thoughts on this game here.
  • Kindle Paperwhite
    Late last year, I broke my Kobo (another ebook reader) and has been meaning to replace it ever since but only got around to it during this quarantine period when I stayed with my grandmother. All my books were at home and it also didn’t help that I slept in the same room as to keep tabs on her and therefore could not continue with my late night reading. For those reasons and the sale on Lazada (the leading online shopping platform in Southeast Asia) got me eye-ing this new version of the Paperwhite, I haven’t been disappointed by this since I was able to get my hands on it!
  • UVC Sterilizer
    Even before the virus outbreak, I already have a small bottle of alcohol with me inside my purse or my pocket. I bring it with me when stepping out for lunch or while drinking with friends. When traveling, I see to it that I buy some sanitary wipes and alcohol on the first or nearest convenience store that I could find. So when this pandemic hit the Philippines, I was one of those people who are a bit more careful – spraying alcohol everywhere, getting my hands clean all the time, wearing mask even inside the car, and now, carrying with me a UVC sterilizer too. I just had to up my disinfection game! The efficacy of this product is debatable especially when dealing with the corona virus, but I did my research on the dos and don’ts, and also looked for a reputable brand that I believe in.

Aside from these three and the local food businesses that I support, the best purchase during this period is actually this: yes, this blog. engrvwrites.com. I was a bit hesitant at first because this is my hard earned money that I’d be spending to fund this little passion project of mine but then I realized that if I’m not gonna believe that I’m worth it, then probably nobody else will. I took a bet on myself, and it has not been the same since then.

How about you? What are your favorite purchases this quarantine period? 🙂

Mondays And Headaches

How are you feeling today?
What is the root of that emotion?

1 Page At A Time by Adam J. Kurtz

It’s the 125th day of the quarantine here in the Philippines. Since last March, I’ve been working from home and about two weeks ago it was announced that as a part of our organization’s business continuity plan, we’ll continue with this work from home arrangement until the end of the year. It gave me a sense of relief given that I won’t have to face the risk of going outside to carry on with my job unlike most Filipinos struggling in this situation.

Had someone told me that I’ll be working from home six months ago, I probably would have entertained that news with glee. But now, being holed up in in my room for more than four months, I feel the psychological impact of this set-up, and it doesn’t help with the burnout that’s been looming over me for quite some time now. You might be reading this and feeling the same way or maybe just stumbled upon this post without having been affected by this global pandemic, anyway, let me share with you a little tip I got from a self-help book:
your feelings are valid, and when you get to the bottom of it, it gets easier to ride the wave.

To answer the question above, I’m actually feeling frustrated right now – I always look forward to the weekend, especially when the work from home arrangement started that when Sunday afternoon hits, I end up feeling well, yeah, frustrated. How come I haven’t made the most of my free time and WHY DOES IT HAVE TO BE MONDAY AGAIN?!

I sat down, grabbed my trusty notebook and the nearest pen I could get my hands on. As I scribble down my feelings, I realized that this strong negative emotion stems from the work related problems that I’ll be forced to face again tomorrow. It takes me back to the responsibilities that I am obliged to do, and the tedious tasks that I have to repeatedly do for another five days. If I’m honest with myself, hell, I may be feeling this way because of my fear of failure and that I still might not be able to provide the solutions that I’m responsible to come up with. It’s not about my weekend activities or lack thereof, because in reality, I was able to spend time with my family, watch the 2020 Hungarian Grand Prix and even the qualifying, play console games for a few hours and even see an anime film for the first time. In the end, it’s about this hard truth: my frustration stemmed from my fears.

Knowing and understanding this makes a great impact, because now I can address my feelings better and accept that there are things that I have no control of, and those that I do have, I can start working on. Instead of feeling miserable for the rest of the night, I now have the choice to refocus my thoughts on solving my problems or pushing them at bay to deal with tomorrow to take the rest of the night off peacefully reading blog posts and news.

Good night and as a reminder, keep in mind that:

Faith smothers your fear of the unknown

Jen Sincero

Close Them Now Please

from 1 Page At A Time by Adam J. Kurtz

Did you do it? Even for just like 5 seconds, maybe?
You did? Nice!
You didn’t? Well, I probably wouldn’t have either. But you might want to slow down for a bit and read my two cents on it.

Why am I, a stranger, being such a pushover and asking you to close your eyes or maybe take some deep breaths?
Because we all we have to. At least once in a while. Living in this day and age, amidst a pandemic, in an economic dip, being bombarded with news filled of abuse, hatred, and hopelessness, things can be pretty upsetting and overwhelming. And yet, even in this “new normal” while we’re still being forced to live in quarantine life for everybody’s safety (including our own, please wear your mask), we are being expected to push ourselves to our limits for the sake of our jobs, finances, stability, hell even the comeback of the economy.

We’ve been programmed to measure our “worth” in our productivity. However, more often than not, this so called productivity is being wrongly measured as simply the amount of time you’ve worked. Which then leads people to think that in order to be productive, you have to work your ass off as much as you possibly can. This I believe has created a generation of young adults so desperate to prove their worth in this big world and has ended up with so much cases of burnout that it has now become a household term.

Burnout can come at you no matter how far you’ve risen in the ladder, how many medals you got, and how many times you’re revolved around the sun. It has gotten to me so bad. So bad that I considered quitting my job without the prospect of another opportunity, so bad that I found myself crying at 3 in the afternoon feeling miserable and unaccomplished despite of everything I’ve achieved thus far (engineering school ain’t for the weak, the board exam rattles most, getting promoted).

I am not immune to this. I simply don’t know where it all went wrong – I have a stable relationship, a career, hell even a title I don’t ever use (except for this site obviously), and yet I feel trapped in a perpetual state of exhaustion. With my fear of failure and love for challenges, I always strive to come through and do all that has been tasked to me without considering my work-life balance and in total disregard of my time. I do all that I can to meet deadlines, and deliver what has been asked of me, not even pausing to ask myself if I want to do it and why. AND THIS, THIS IS THE REASON WHY I STARTED WRITING AGAIN.

It feels like I hit rock bottom and you know what they say, there’s nowhere to go but up. But damn do they made it sound so easy. In reality, this has forced me to read on self-help books I used to shy away from. Instead of staring blankly at my laptop thinking that I’m working, I tap into resources that poses information that could possibly do me good. It also forced me to think about how I overcome all the hurdles I had to pass and how I’ve succeeded. I was forced to look back and go after my passion – what drives me to live and not just exist.

It forced me to take a break. I cannot stress how important it has been to me and this journey to getting myself back up on my feet. I know I am not there yet and I’m in no position to instruct somebody, but if anything and it helps, do not forget to let yourself get some rest.

Take a break.

Close your eyes. There is nothing to see here. That’s the point.

Peanut Butter Banana Toast with a Twist

peanut butter banana toast — I tried.

  • sliced ripe bananas
  • slice of bread
  • generous (or not so?) amount of peanut butter
  • sprinkle of courage
  • dash of hope

Let me be honest and straightforward – I am not fan of peanut butter and I totally have no idea why I created this afternoon snack. I just decided to slice up some ripe bananas and oh so generously cover my bread with a hefty amount of peanut butter and shove it inside the oven toaster – I know, in the state of the world right now, mindless snacking should be the least of my concerns.

After five minutes, the timer ran out and ceremoniously “ting-ed”. The result is a bit oily, a bit soggy, a bit crunchy peanut butter banana toast. It definitely isn’t the best I’ve had but honestly, it’s pretty decent and I don’t hate it all. What I hate is this uneasy feeling of burnout that looms over me. It keeps me feeling tired and spent – as early as I open my eyes before my alarm starts at 8:01, and even as I gobble down this greasy peanut butter banana toast. It’s the feeling of being lost and sad, and everything in between its deep dark void. That’s what I hate.

But even in this state, I know better, or at least I think I do. So I try, and I fight. I live to see another day battling all these uncertainties. Because I am a jedi equipped with my lightsaber (gifts) and the unlimited Force, even if all I get to save is my own little world. It’s not heroic, and I may not bring balance to the galaxy as it so needs right now but these everyday fights are not as easy as getting myself some peanut butter banana toast. And yet, trying to get myself back up again and maybe helping somebody on my way sure is worth trying.

There goes.

I hope you find the perfect peanut butter banana toast you’re looking for.