My Top Wish for 2023

On our last office team huddle of the year, we were asked to dress up depending on how our 2022 looked like. Our office shifted to hybrid working arrangements in the second quarter of this year, with most of us being asked to be in the office four times a month. It was expected that my teammates attended the call in their home clothes. I did the same with my pajamas on, and I added something that would perfectly describe my 2022. I put an icebag on top of my head! Haha!

I’ll be turning 39 in January. For some odd reason, I always get sick days before my birthday. I was talking to Boyet and Zayne a few days ago, and I told them that I think it was because they both celebrate their birthdays in November. The stress of planning for their birthdays is followed by the Christmas holiday rush. And to add to that, even if I plan so hard, I still end up rushing to finish year-end stuff that piles up at work. And let’s not forget the erratic changes in weather here in the Philippines. And so even if I stock my body with more fruits, vegetables, and vitamins than usual, my almost non-existent immune system still fails at the beginning of the year. (I’ve always been strict with our family’s diet. I make sure that we have tons of servings of fruits and vegetables in our daily meals.)

My Facebook memories always remind me of getting sick before Christmas and my birthday. There was one time when my husband had to rush me to the emergency room on December 23, right after my shift at work. Good thing I was discharged on the morning of Christmas eve. Back in 2019, I had a health scare which made me hospitalized for more or less a week. I was discharged a couple of days before my birthday. I panicked when I started having dry and itchy throat a week before Christmas. Good thing that hot tea and manuka honey worked wonders, and my symptoms didn't progress.

Christmas Photo
(with occasional sniffles :p)

We took the lockdown very seriously during the pandemic. We did almost all of our transactions online and refrained from accepting visitors, including our relatives. But despite all efforts, our family still caught the virus on January 2, and the only time we broke our bubble was when we had to go to dental appointments because of Zayne’s tooth infection. Suffice to say, it wasn’t the best way to welcome the year. Our symptoms were gone in two days, but the long-term effects took a toll on our health. I remember still feeling weak and fatigued up until the first week of March.

Anxiety started to kick in when offices started the RETURN TO OFFICE mandate to follow government regulations. Although I’m lucky that our company opted for the hybrid setup, the change in routine starting in April of 2021 still shocked us. I usually experience migraines or acid reflux the day after I go to the office. Even my teammates who didn’t usually get sick pre-pandemic started using up their sick leave credits. Some of my teammates developed allergies and rhinitis for the first time. I even have a teammate who experienced having an asthma attack for the first time in her 30s! During the start of the school year in August, most schools also began doing face-to-face classes. Although I was excited because it was Zayne’s first time, I was so anxious with the unknowns. True enough, Zayne told me that her classmates would take turns in missing classes due to illness. By October, Zayne missed school for a week when she caught the flu.

I still consider myself lucky because my job provides both flexibility and food on our table. I’m delighted to see Zayne enjoying school so much. I feel so blessed that despite having less gifts under our tree, my little family is closer and happier. It was also so nice to finally get to reconnect with families and friends after years of lockdown. But when Zayne asked me a few days ago what wish I would ask for if a genie pops out of nowhere, I told her that I really want better health for all of us. I know that I can speak for all moms out there, but sickness in the family is very stressful!

After two years of lockdown, our company finally made APE (Annual Physical Exam) mandatory again. I was surprised that I have teammates in their 20s with cholesterol and uric acid levels crossing the borderline. I’m glad that my blood results were not alarming, but I had something in common with my teammates - almost all of us on the team gained weight during the lockdown! It was inevitable being in IT working from home with food as our primary source of stress relief. I gained ten pounds. I’m at my heaviest, excluding the time I was pregnant with Zayne. My tummy literally looks like I am on my third trimester.  Although my current weight is still within the normal range, the ten pounds I gained is obvious for someone like me who is only 4’11’’! When I came back to the office, I started wearing a “uniform” – straight cut black dresses. You’ll probably think I’m going minimalist, but it’s really because none of my old clothes, especially my pants, fit me. Huhuhu.

Aiming for my weight loss goal is not mainly to look good. The deeper reason is really my health. I think that my recent health issues, especially in my gut, are because of my lifestyle. Although I’m conscious of WHAT I eat, I sometimes neglect HOW I eat. I recently read about MINDFUL EATING and realized that I have been eating mindlessly for years. Things like eating fast, eating while working, munching something while watching TV, and using food to escape stress are just a few of the many mindless eating habits that I’ve developed. I believe this contributed not only to my weight gain but also to my health issues. Apart from this, my sedentary lifestyle is also to blame. At the beginning of the lockdown, I was glad that I found time to do more exercise. I used the treadmill and even followed yoga tutorials on YouTube. But then I started neglecting it, giving myself the “I’m too busy” excuse.

Again, I’m turning 39 in January. I have a seven-year-old daughter, and my wish is to live longer for my family. My health issues have been preventing me from doing more things for myself and for my family. Of course, I also want to look good in my 40s, so living healthier and losing my belly fat should be my main goals for 2023!

Wishing you all a happier and healthier 2023! :)

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