Self-Work Bago Work Self: How We Learned That True Inspiration Starts Within

By: Jasmin Uson Reyes

Jasmin Uson Reyes is a loving wife and mama of three. She is the author of the book “Mama, You Have Power Beyond Measure” and Strategic Planning Director for RadManila Communications. She is still a work-in-progress, and she believes that every woman is a diamond in the making. She believes in empowering women and helping them discover their own brilliant light.

What an interesting time to be alive!

If somebody told me a year ago that I will be spending almost 24/7 locked down  with my family in our house for a year, I would have called that person crazy. But look where we are now, one year into the lockdown. I’m the one hanging on the verge of insanity.

Truth be told, I actually enjoyed the first few months of the lockdown. All of a sudden, life was simple again. I didn’t have to worry about the whereabouts of my husband and children, didn’t have to deal with the traffic from the South to the Central Business District, didn’t have to think about what clothes to wear. I truly enjoy being with my family so having everyone at home all the time was a gift. We were thrust into this new reality without any warning or preparation, and we managed to not just get by, but thrive. 

But if you have too much of a good thing, it will get old eventually. After a while, I started to crave for some me time, without my husband and three young kids clinging to me. With no break from the demands of marriage and motherhood, I was starting to feel heavy and distressed. I became easily irritated with my children, too sensitive with my husband, and felt overwhelmed with the workload. How ironic that surrounded by family 24/7, I started to feel isolated. I needed an escape, or even a short breather. But there was none to be had. The outside world was banned and inaccessible.

When I started hearing of Covid 19–related deaths of friends’ loved ones, fear started to settle in my heart. Our family had several health-related emergencies including a brain surgery and Covid-positive family members. In the midst of this madness, I was dealt with the biggest heartbreak of losing a loved one to cancer. I was unraveling. I felt like I was drowning in a sea of grief and uncertainty. I don’t think I’ve cried as much in my entire life as I did the past year in lockdown. 

But just like Covid and the challenges it brings, the storms in our lives are there for a purpose. This journey forced me to go deeper inward, and the profound truths I realized changed me and the way I choose to live my life

  1. Time is a non-renewable resource. Use it to share your talents and knowledge with others.There was a brief lull during the lockdown where our Clients were still assessing whether to push through with the planned campaigns for 2020, and we found ourselves with extra time in our hands. As a company, we decided that we will take this opportunity to give back and help others. We conducted free marketing and advertising online workshops for small to medium entrepreneurs so that they will have additional tools to grow their businesses. By sharing the knowledge that we have gained over decades of being in this industry, we were able to use the time more meaningfully to bless others.

  2. Carefully choose the company you keepThe pandemic has made us realize that relationships are truly the most precious parts of our lives. Our work takes up a big chunk of our waking hours and it’s important to have good relationships with our colleagues. RadManila became another family where we all support each other’s well being. Since the lockdown started, we’ve only gotten together once during an overnight planning in Tagaytay last December 2020. This is the only meeting I’ve attended where the CEO started the session by asking all of us how we were and what kind of support we needed emotionally and mentally. We all took turns expressing what was in our hearts and many tears were shed in the process. It was a simple gesture, but we were unburdened and we came home the next day feeling lighter. During that session, we all agreed that our highest values as a company are love and compassion. When this is the foundation, excellence will follow. Because this is the kind of culture that inspires us to give our best every single day, pandemic or not.

  3. You need to allow yourself to be vulnerable. Allow others to see you through your weak moments, instead of trying to carry the burden all on your own.
    Genuine friendships make the burden easier to carry because the load is shared. I used to think that being strong meant not showing your weakness to others and telling everyone you’re okay, even when you’re not. But this is the perfect recipe for a mental or emotional breakdown, and even a work catastrophe when the brave façade you put on comes crumbling down. That’s why I consider myself very fortunate to be part of a company where relationships are founded on solid friendship. When I was going through a really tough time dealing with grief, my work colleages were there for me and gave me the space and time to heal emotionally. We helped carry each other through this pandemic and all the challenges it brings, and preserved our sanity in the process.

  4. While relationships with people are important, I also need to nurture my relationship with myself.At the very core, the most important relationship we have to deal with every single day, is the one we have with ourselves. When you look in the mirror, do you like the person that you see?We can’t come up with great work if we don’t take care of ourselves first. We can’t give from an empty tank. So it’s important for all of us to generously and regularly fill that tank with a love that comes from within, and from God, the highest source of love.

What powers us to do excellent work is our authentic self that embraces who we truly are. RadManila encouraged us to do this and sponsored “Heart of the Matter” learning sessions that gave us tools to ground ourselves, be more mindful, and allow us to discover our innermost selves. When we are centered and grounded, inspiration comes more naturally, creativity flows, and excellence is easier to achieve.

Decades from now, I will look back at this year-long pandemic and choose to be grateful for the valuable lessons and insights that allowed me to grow by leaps and bounds – emotionally, mentally and spiritually. I will say a prayer of thanks for the relationships that sustained me, including my RadManila family. Like diamonds that form out of extreme conditions, this pandemic is a formative time that allowed us to individually and collectively discover our true selves, and step into our highest purpose as a company. If we allow Him to work in our lives, God truly orchestrates everything, even a worldwide pandemic, for our highest good.

Here’s a little bonus to help you on your self-care journey – a short mind, body, and awareness exercise from Reiki Level 3 practitioner, Faye De Leon.


YouTube video