#UsapTayoLite: Make room for you


January 10, 2022

Writer: Azie Libanan
Editor: K Ballesteros
Creatives: Jacklyn Moral, Ian Stephen Velez, Marc John Paul Agbuya, Christine Joy Salva Cruz
Moderators: Marga Miñon, Ella Mae Militante
Documentor: Tobey Fhar Isaac Calayo
Spaces: Eula Mei Labordo, Roy Dahildahil, Azie Libanan

It’s 2022! How are you? ?

In the Philippines, 2022 is an election year. For many affected by the typhoon Odette last December, and for everybody who experienced pandemic stress, anxiety, or fatigue, it will be a ‘recovery’ year, hopefully. 

For some, it will be a new year to regroup, refocus, and restart. But for others, 2022 will be just another year— spent with everyday struggles and strife, hopes, joys, successes, and dreams, and regular, unexpected, and extraordinary days all together.

Whatever your feelings and thoughts at the stroke of midnight last December 31st were (were you awake?), and however you imagine that this year will unfold, we’re all glad to have you today.

For showing up last year, for choosing yourself, for sitting some important things out when you had to, and for taking it one day at a time, however difficult: cheers! 

How do we go about another year in the pandemic era?

Doing what matters

The World Health Organization, in 2020, has published an Illustrated guide to Doing What Matters (in times of stress), well we assume that life has been (and will be) stressful for all of us in this pandemic. 

And the guide shares five useful and practical tips that can help us navigate through life this year.

  1. Ground
  2. Unhook
  3. Act on values
  4. Be kind
  5. Make room


Ground yourself during emotional storms by noticing your thoughts and feelings. Slowing down and connecting with your body by slowly pushing your feet into the floor, stretching and breathing, and then refocusing and engaging with the world around you. 


Unhook yourself with these three steps: 

  1. Notice that a difficult thought or feeling has hooked you. Realize that you are distracted by a difficult thought or feeling. 
  2. Then, silently name the difficult thought or feeling; for example:
    “Here is a difficult feeling”
    “Here is tightness in my chest”
    “Here is a feeling of anger”
    “Here is a difficult thought about the past”
    “I notice here is a difficult thought”
    “I notice here are fears about the future”
  3. Then, refocus on what you are doing. Pay full attention to whoever is with you and whatever you are doing.


Acting on values

Choose the values that are most important to you. For example:

  • being kind and caring 
  • being helpful 
  • being brave
  • being hardworking

You get to decide which values are most important to you! Then, pick one small way that you can act according to these values in the next week. What will you do? What will you say? Even tiny actions matter!

Being Kind

Be kind. Notice pain in yourself and others and respond with kindness. Unhook from unkind thoughts by noticing and naming them. Then, try speaking to yourself kindly. If you are kind to yourself you will have more energy to help others and more motivation to be kind to others, so everyone benefits. 

Be kind. You can also take one of your hands and imagine filling it with kindness. Place this hand gently somewhere on your body where you feel pain. Feel the warmth flowing from your hand into your body. See if you can be kind to yourself through this hand. 

Making Room

Trying to push away difficult thoughts and feelings often does not work very well. So instead, make room for them: 

  1. Notice the difficult thought or feeling with curiosity. Focus your attention on it. Imagine the painful feeling as an object, and notice its size, shape, color, and temperature. 
  2. Name the difficult thought or feeling, For example:
    “Here is a difficult feeling”
    “Here is a difficult thought about the past”
    “I notice here is sadness”
    “I notice here is a  thought that I am weak”
  3. Allow the painful feeling or thought to come and go like the weather. As you breathe, imagine your breath flowing into and around your pain to make room for it. 
  4. Instead of fighting with the thought or feeling, allow it to move through you, just like the weather moves through the sky. If you are not fighting with the weather, then you will have more time and energy to engage with the world around you and do things that are important to you.


And hey, it’s 2022, most important of all, though, make room for you. 






[1] World Health Organization. (2020). Doing what matters in times of stress: an illustrated guide. Retrieved from: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240003927

How do you feel about this?

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