It’s going to be a difficult year. How do we survive it? Here are some tricks I’m going to use for my own sanity.

1. Think of yourself as a person, not a brand.

Not everything has to be monetized. This is something that we should remind ourselves of again and again and again. We’ve been bombarded with messages for years about the importance of crafting a ・゚☆✧ personal brand ・゚☆✧ that will magically bring us better opportunities. 

I get that. And I respect that. In many cases, it’s important. But that should not apply to the hobbies we take up outside work – and that often means what we do or what we post online. For me, I no longer care if recruiters will find my newly minted gaming channel when they look up my name on Google. I don’t care if my Instagram is curated or not – or if it’s updated at all. 

I’m tired of viewing everything as something that can be monetized. That’s a thought I’m leaving behind in 2021. Life is not meant to be lived as a source of content material hehe. (So maybe I’ll start making silly TikTok videos soon, IDK.)

2. Don’t take your work too seriously.

I think it’s wrong to pour your entire soul into your work. Yes, be passionate at work, but not too much that you’ll forget to have a life outside your 9-5. Too much emotional investment at work can be disastrous – especially when we take it too personally, and we think of it as a measure of our worth as a person. We’re not always going to be great at what we do, but that’s okay.

Be excellent, but find your balance, whatever that looks like for you.

We deserve to have a life when we’re not busy making a living. lol

3. Choose your battles.

The Philippine elections are coming up. It’s going to be messy, like 2016 all over again. Let’s choose our battles carefully. Me, I’m trying not to engage the trolls who don’t deserve my attention – unless it can jumpstart a conversation with the people I care about around me.

We don’t have to react to every piece of news that comes out. Find a few things you really care about, learn everything you can about it, then just try to advocate for that particular issue. I like talking about bikes, public transportation, and consumer rights (especially for PWD/senior citizens).

I’m not an expert in any way, but I often read about these issues that I care about. My Twitter feed is usually filled with opinions on these issues. I try to limit the news I consume to anything related to these topics. This way, I don’t (usually) get overwhelmed by the sheer immensity of everything that’s gone wrong with the world.

4. Discover something you can obsess about (like you’re 16 again)

Whether it’s a K-Pop group, an anime, a game, a toy, whatever – find something you can be a total geek about. As for me, I’m planning to explore sketching and digital illustration (that Procreate app shouldn’t go to waste, after all). I even made an Instagram profile for my drawings.

It’s going to be another brutal year as a Filipino, but I hope we can all survive it. When this is all over, I hope we can all get back together and talk over coffee about everything we’ve discovered about ourselves this year.

The stories we’ll tell!