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Happy and Healthy Christmas

I want to wish my readers and the entire Filipino nation a happy and healthy Christmas! We deserve to celebrate a very merry holiday season after more than two years of lockdown resulting in muted celebrations of a feast, we are famous for. I also emphasize “healthy” because if there is one thing that this pandemic has shown us it is that we should take better care of our physical and mental health.



Christmas is the best way to improve your mental and psychological health. I know it is stressful — thinking about what to give, braving the Christmas rush hour traffic — but it is also the time when we get to join friends and family in celebration. So be happy, have fun, and reconnect with people you care about.



Now I know that maintaining physical health might be a bit of a challenge in a season that features a lot of delicious food, inflation notwithstanding. But try to eat healthy. If you cannot, do not forget to exercise. Do some walking or jogging in the morning just to burn those calories away.



Christmas or not, that has been a part of my daily routine — jogging. I would usually do it very early in the morning in one of our properties. In Vista Mall Global South for example, I would be in the company of senior citizens walking around the area and groups of people doing Zumba. I would run in our other properties so jogging also gives me the opportunity to visit and check up on our businesses.



I am not a professional runner but what I do is run at an easy pace, a casual run if you may. Aside from the usual benefits to my overall health and immunity, jogging relaxes me. This in turn boosts my mood for the rest of the day. Jogging also releases some of the anxiety and stress I have and prepares me for a, well, stress-full day. In the past, there have been times when I would feel sluggish late in the morning or early afternoon. But now I am able to survive multiple meetings the whole day.



I like to schedule some of my meetings after my run. Sometimes I would ask some of my senior officers to run with me, at least those who want to, and can still run. Those who can’t just stay inside Coffee Project or Dear Joe and have a cuppa while we run. I find that my mind is more active after jogging. Running jogs the cobwebs out of my mind so I am sharper during meetings. And, I might be imagining this, but I swear my memory is better too. I read somewhere that regular running helps improve the “areas of the brain that help with working memory, multitasking, attention, decision-making.” I think this is true. I can go from one meeting to another, from one topic to another and be as sharp as I was when the day started.


So it is not your regular corporate meeting — inside a boardroom with executives in suits — instead you can see us in some cozy corner of Coffee Project having breakfast in our jogging shirts and pants, still sweating and having some of the most productive meetings you can ever think of. We think better after a run so meetings are more efficient and productive. And I think it creates a very informal setting that is conducive to a more open meeting environment.



You do not have to be a gym rat or someone so serious about counting calories, measuring body fat or monitoring your smart watch. Just have some fun jogging. It is the perfect opportunity to go out — alone or in the company of others — breathe some fresh air, and maintain a healthy lifestyle at the same time.


So go ahead, take a bite of that lechon, maybe a bit of the embutido, then the leche flan and buko salad. But organize a short jog with family and friends the next day, have coffee afterwards. Use it as an opportunity to bond or reconnect.



Enjoy the company of your friends and family. Be happy and stay healthy this Christmas season!




Manila Bulletin/Views/MannyVillar