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Single on Valentine’s Day? That’s where your (single) friends come in handy…

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to visit the Scout Area in Quezon City. The whole place offers an interesting choice of dining places, plus more. Here are some recommendations on where you and your barkada can celebrate V-Day 2018.

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Yes, Valentine’s Day is all about hearts, roses, and romantic dates. But if you’re single on Feb. 14, don’t fret, as you too can join in on the festivities. The day is all about love after all, so why not celebrate it with your fellow single friends? Think of going out together as a great “thank you” gift to friends who will always have your back.

Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to visit the Scout Area in Quezon City. The whole place offers an interesting choice of dining places, plus more. Go Hotels offers some recommendations on where you and your barkada can celebrate V-Day 2018.

Start with considering a staycation.

For instance, there’s a Go Hotels branch in Timog Ave., with the same world-class facilities the brand is known for: clean and clutter-free rooms, comfy ambiance, comfortable beds, hot and cold showers, and free WIFI. A barkada can book up to five rooms, and the earlier the rooms are reserved, the more chances of availing the lowest possible rate. The hotel also offers a spa service provided by Venus Touch Spa.

And while at these parts of Quezon City, why not consider the places for good chow?

Mario’s at Tomas Morato for example is one such restaurant that offers an unforgettable culinary experience. Splurge on a three-course meal and choose among a variety of entrées like their Twin Tournados of Tenderloin Steak Duo with Béarnaise and Mushroom Sauce, or Salmon Fillet with Roasted Garlic and Charbroiled Lamb Chop with Port Mint Sauce, or Rib Eye and Prawn Thermidor. For drinks, they have a wide assortment of wine, vodka, rum, tequila, and beer.

For a livelier atmosphere, why not get a good laugh at the famous Zirkoh Bar in Timog? A comedy bar is just the right place to let all the sawi feelings subside, while enjoying some grub, too. Comedians making fun of heartbreak and other things romantic will leave everyone less upset about the clichés of Valentine’s.

Competitive singles can choose to go Ludo’s Boardgame Bar & Café at Sct. Torillo Street, a perfect place for the whole gang. Just order some food and drinks and all the board games are yours for the taking. Try themed cocktails, inspired by shows and movies such as ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Star Wars’ and dig in into their Chicken Wings, Beef Salpicao, Super Nachos, and their famous Vegetable or Cheese Gyoza.

KTV bar Music Match in Tomas Morato is a top choice for those who want to sing their hearts out on Valentine’s Day. Prepare your Most Requested Song list, grab the microphone, and sing the night away. Choose from a variety of food and drinks from their barkada packages, which include some of our favorite dishes such as sisig, chicken wings, and liempo. Large groups need not worry as Music Match has rooms that can fit up to 20 people.

And last but not the least, for those who look to party, Guilly’s Island in Tomas Morato is there for you. One of the longest running nightclubs in Metro Manila, it is known for the excellent crowd, food and music. Who knows? Maybe some in your barkada might find their one true love here.

Lifestyle & Culture

Fan of fitness? Four unique ways to get in shape

One of the biggest reasons people don’t exercise regularly is because they get bored with their routines. So, it’s important to switch up your fitness efforts frequently. There are so many different ways to stay active, you just may not think of them.

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Regular exercise is important for everyone. Unfortunately, less than 5% of adults in the US get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise they should each day. 

We probably don’t have to tell you about the extensive benefits of regular exercise. Most people already know it’s great for managing your weight, warding off certain illnesses, and even helping to boost your immune system. It can also improve your mental health by reducing stress and feelings of anxiety

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One of the biggest reasons people don’t exercise regularly is because they get bored with their routines. So, it’s important to switch up your fitness efforts frequently. There are so many different ways to stay active, you just may not think of them.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at four unique ways you can work out on a regular basis without getting bored. 

1. Zumba

Are you a fan of dancing? Zumba has been around for quite some time, but many people still swear by it thanks to its fast-paced aerobic burn. Zumba combines elements of salsa and merengue dancing with upbeat music for a high-energy workout that is much more fun than running on a treadmill!

Plus, because most Zumba classes have several people, you’ll have fun dancing with others and encouraging each other along the way. 

2. Hula Hoop

If you ever had a hula hoop when you were a kid, you probably didn’t realize that it was a great form of exercise!

Hula hooping focuses on core strength and balance, and it can also strengthen your lower back. You can do it on your own, or even in a class setting. For an extra calorie burn, try using a weighted hoop. 

3. Jiu Jitsu

Some people think karate is too fast-paced or advanced for them, so they don’t give it a try. If that sounds like you, perhaps you would prefer jiu jitsu. It’s a martial arts sport that focuses on grappling and submission holds. 

While much of what you do will be on the ground with your opponent, it uses nearly every muscle in your body. It might not seem like you’re doing much at the time, but when you wake up in the morning and your whole body is sore, you’ll know how great of a workout jiu jitsu can be! 

You may need to purchase some special equipment to get started, like a Gi. You can find a wide selection at https://www.sportzbits.com/best-bjj-gi/.

4. Jumping Rope

Another activity from your childhood, jumping rope, can burn up to 200 calories every fifteen minutes. It’s a great aerobic exercise that can cause you to break a sweat quickly. Plus, because jump ropes are lightweight and easy to travel with, jumping rope is a workout you can do just about anywhere, at any time. 

These are just a sampling of different ways to stay active that won’t leave you feeling bored. Don’t be afraid to step out of your exercise comfort zone to try something new. You’ll be glad you did.

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Health & Wellness

Gender harassment and institutional betrayal in high school take toll on mental health

97% of women and 96% of men from a pool of 535 undergraduate college students had endured at least one instance of gender harassment during high school. Experiences of gender harassment, especially for those who encountered it repeatedly, were associated with clinically relevant levels of trauma-related symptoms in college.

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High school students who endure gender harassment in schools that don’t respond well enter college and adulthood with potential mental health challenges, according to a University of Oregon study.

The study, published last month in PLOS ONE, found that 97% of women and 96% of men from a pool of 535 undergraduate college students had endured at least one instance of gender harassment during high school.

Experiences of gender harassment, especially for those who encountered it repeatedly, were associated with clinically relevant levels of trauma-related symptoms in college.

“We found that the more gender harassment and institutional betrayal teens encounter in high school, the more mental, physical and emotional challenges they experience in college,” said lead author Monika N. Lind, a UO psychology doctoral student. “Our findings suggest that gender harassment and institutional betrayal may hurt young people, and educators and researchers should pay more attention to these issues.”

The study, the three-member UO team noted, served to launch academic research into the responses of high schools to gender harassment, beyond media reports of institutional betrayal by schools since the #MeToo movement began.

Gender harassment, a type of sexual harassment, is characterized by sexist remarks, sexually crude or offensive behavior and the enforcement of traditional gender roles.

Institutional betrayal, a label coined previously by the study’s co-author UO psychologist Jennifer Freyd, is the failure of an institution, such as a school, to protect people who depend on it. A high school mishandling a case of gender harassment reported by a student is an example of institutional betrayal.

“The more gender harassment and institutional betrayal teens encounter in high school, the more mental, physical and emotional challenges they experience in college,” said lead author Monika N. Lind.

Participants included 363 females, 168 males, three non-binary and one who did not report gender; they were initially not aware of the study’s focus.

They completed a 20-item gender harassment questionnaire about their high school experiences and a 12-item questionnaire about their schools’ actions or inactions. Trauma symptoms were assessed with a 40-item checklist that explores common posttraumatic symptoms such as headaches, memory problems, anxiety attacks, nightmares, sexual problems and insomnia.

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon from Unsplash.com

An analysis that considered gender, race, age, gender harassment, institutional betrayal, and the interaction of gender harassment and institutional betrayal significantly predicted trauma-related symptoms, but, Lind said, a subtle surprise emerged.

“We expected to find an interaction effect showing that the relationship between gender harassment and trauma-related symptoms depends on institutional betrayal, such that people who experience high gender harassment have different levels of symptoms depending on how much institutional betrayal they experience,” she said. “Instead we found that gender harassment and institutional betrayal are independently related to trauma-related symptoms.”

That issue, Lind said, needs to be further explored. It’s possible, she said, that the pool of students wasn’t large enough or that the measures used were not robust enough. Another factor may be that the study focused more on institutional betrayal than impacts of institutional courage.

“This is like measuring mood and only letting respondents report negative to neutral mood – you’re missing a bunch of variability that might be captured if you extended the scale to go from negative to positive,” she said. “Expanding the scale to capture institutional courage might increase the likelihood of identifying a meaningful interaction.”

Experiences of gender harassment, especially for those who encountered it repeatedly, were associated with clinically relevant levels of trauma-related symptoms in college.

How schools might respond to the issues identified in the study should begin with listening to students, Lind said. Asking about problems and listening to responses is an example of institutional courage. Interventions that do not do so often fail.

“Schools should engage in self-study, including interviews, focus groups and anonymous surveys of students, and they should take students’ reports and suggestions seriously,” Lind said. “When you’re trying to intervene in adolescence, you’ll do better if you demonstrate respect for teens’ autonomy and social status.”

Researchers have not focused on such issues in high schools, where students are emerging into early adulthood from the physical, neurological and psychological changes occurring in adolescence, said Freyd, a pioneer in academic research on issues of sexual harassment, institutional betrayal and institutional courage.

“Until now, all of the education-focused institutional betrayal research has considered the experiences of undergraduate and graduate-level college students, as well as those of faculty members,” she said. “There also has been work on these issues in the military and workplaces, but we don’t know a lot about gender harassment or institutional betrayal in adolescence.”

UO doctoral student Alexis A. Adams-Clark, a member of Freyd’s lab, was the study’s third co-author.

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Health & Wellness

There are two sides to every story

In the Philippines, one in five people suffers from mental health problems. Between 17% and 20% of Filipino adults experience psychiatric disorders, while 10% to 15% of Filipino children suffer from mental health problems. But addressing mental health is not yet among the priorities in the country.

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It all happened one busy Monday, in between unfinished deadlines and piling up of workload. The conversation suddenly ended, and it left him dumfounded. He kept looking for answers why it happened. He questioned himself; reviewed all his replies. Everything seemed okay.

His name is Andy. He considers himself as an introvert. There may be times when he can be talkative, but “that is different; I am not face-to-face with the person.”

Sometimes, people call him a “player,” claiming that he just wants to hook them into his “game”.

What not everyone knows is that whenever he starts to be close to someone, he (un)consciously builds walls around him, preventing anyone to get through particularly when he feels there is an attempt to make a deeper connection.

Andy said his intentions are always good. But most of the time, “I am read wrong and taken negatively.”

And every time that kind of thing happens, it just contributes to the sound he has been hearing in his head.

Running away

Sometimes it takes on the form of fear… fear of the current situation or the unknown. There are times when it invades his dreams, waking him up in the middle of the night with either a bad headache or heavy breathing. It is usually mistaken as stress.

A glass of warm milk or chilled rosé, a dosage of paracetamol or Valium, counting backwards from 100 while listening to calming music – any of these usually help, but only temporary.

“I found out a few years back that I am dealing with emotional and psychological trauma. I never knew I had one,” Andy said.

A type of mental health condition, trauma is a response to a stressful event. This is usually triggered by a terrifying situation, either experiencing or witnessing it firsthand.

Edgewood Health Network Canada listed down some of the most common symptoms of psychological trauma, i.e.:

  1. Disruptive recollections of the trauma, including flashbacks
  2. Emotional and physical reactions in response to reminders
  3. Negative beliefs about oneself or others
  4. Inability to feel close to others
  5. Being easily startled
  6. Dissociation
  7. Emotional numbness
  8. Inability to remember aspects of, or all of the traumatic event
  9. Avoidance of anything that reminds one of the trauma
  10. Hypervigilance (Always being alert, scanning and assessing for threat)
  11. Difficulty concentrating and focusing on reality
  12. Inability to fall asleep or to remain asleep, frequent and frightening nightmares

“When I am interested with someone, to either date that person or befriend him, after a few days, all of a sudden I will shut down,” Andy said. “There are even times when I would literally run away towards the other direction.”

Studies show that trauma also causes anxiety. When there are frequent occurrence of situations related to what caused the trauma or constant exposure to trigger points – confusion and overwhelming emotional and psychological pain will set in – and these translate into anxiety.

In the Philippines, one in five people suffers from mental health problems. Between 17% and 20% of Filipino adults experience psychiatric disorders, while 10% to 15% of Filipino children suffer from mental health problems.

Dealing with trauma

“Sometimes it is better to be alone because you do not need to explain yourself or adjust to them,” Andy said.

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there are three common ways to cope with trauma:

  1. Avoiding alcohol and other drugs
  2. Spending time with loved ones and trusted friends who are supportive
  3. Trying to maintain normal routines for meals, exercise and sleep

How long will it last? Unfortunately, there is no way to find out since it is not possible to expedite the healing process of trauma. But the intensity of emotional and psychological pain reduces with time.

“I create distractions whenever I feel I am placed inside a box,” Andy said. “Just recently, when I did something like that, the person suddenly disappeared. I was left hanging, I felt like I was all alone.”

Distractions are created by anyone to give themselves breathing space, a moment to take a step back and look at the big picture.

Knowing the other side of the story

Before dismissing someone who seems “different” in terms of how he/she deals with situations, it is better to look a little longer first.

Here are few ways you can help someone who has experienced trauma, as listed by HuffPost:

  1. Realize that trauma can resurface again and again
  2. Know that little gestures go a long way
  3. Reach out on social media
  4. Ask before you hug someone
  5. Do not blame the victim
  6. Help them relax
  7. Suggest a support group
  8. Give them space
  9. Educate yourself
  10. Do not force them to talk about it
  11. Be patient
  12. Accompany them to the scene of the “crime”
  13. Watch out for warning signs

Keep in mind that it is not your experience/story that you can freely make judgements on, else “attack” it after feeling sour.

Photo by Ian Espinosa from Unsplash.com

“Some five years ago everything fell apart with my life, in my career and health, my partner at that time chose to fool around and left me alone. It was shit. My friends told me that I was broken for four years,” Andy recalled.

That moment did not leave his mind until now. And it affected his trust issues with anything and everything.

A 2016 report by MIMS Today noted that in the Philippines, one in five people suffers from mental health problems. Between 17% and 20% of Filipino adults experience psychiatric disorders, while 10% to 15% of Filipino children suffer from mental health problems.

Unfortunately, it seems like addressing mental health is not yet among the priorities in the Philippines.

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Health & Wellness

LBG individuals use stimulants at higher rates than heterosexuals

Higher drug use among LGB individuals is likely a result of minority stress – that is, the fact that exposure to stigma and discrimination based on sexual orientation results in health disparities. Structural stigma (e.g. employment or housing discrimination) drives psychological and physical health morbidities among LGB populations, and perceived stigma is associated with cocaine use.

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Lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) individuals report higher rates of medical, non-medical, and illegal stimulant use compared to heterosexuals, mirroring patterns seen in other substance use.

The study by Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health researchers provides the most detailed picture to date on stimulant use by LGB subgroups and gender. Findings are published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The researchers analyzed data from the 2015-2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health to examine associations between sexual identity and past-year use of medical and non-medical stimulants (i.e., Adderall, Ritalin) and illegal stimulants (i.e. cocaine, crack, methamphetamine). They found that bisexual women’s illegal stimulant use in the past year was fivefold that of heterosexual women (7.8% vs. 1.5%), while gay men’s use was threefold that of heterosexual men (9.2% vs. 3.2%).

Non-medical use of prescription stimulants was higher among gay and bisexual men than heterosexual men (5.4% and 6.6% vs. 2.4%) and among gay/lesbian and bisexual women versus heterosexual women (3.3% and 6.8% vs. 1.6%). Past-year medical use of prescription stimulants was higher among gay men than heterosexual men (6.6% vs. 4.1%) and bisexual women than heterosexual women (7.9% vs. 4.9%). There were no differences between bisexual men and women compared to their gay/lesbian counterparts.

Potential consequences of stimulant include substance use disorder and overdose, particularly given increases in fentanyl contamination in illegally produced pills and cocaine and methamphetamine. As many as half of LGB individuals who reported nonmedical and illegal stimulant use also reported nonmedical prescription opioid use.

“This study highlights the need for future interventions to target stimulant use among LGB populations, with a particular focus on harm reduction approaches,” says first author Morgan Philbin, PhD, assistant professor of sociomedical sciences. “The findings have important implications across sexual identities, and demonstrate the need to disaggregate stimulant use by subgroup and gender, particularly related to polysubstance use.”

Higher drug use among LGB individuals is likely a result of minority stress – that is, the fact that exposure to stigma and discrimination based on sexual orientation results in health disparities. Structural stigma (e.g. employment or housing discrimination) drives psychological and physical health morbidities among LGB populations, and perceived stigma is associated with cocaine use.

Bisexuals can also experience “double discrimination” from heterosexuals and lesbian and gay communities, which the researchers say may account for the particularly high substance use among bisexual individuals.

The paper outlines several avenues to address stimulant use, including by educating healthcare providers who focus on LGB communities to screen for and discuss substance use, including stimulants. Communities and providers can also scale-up access to medication disposal and harm reduction services.

The researchers note that their dataset started assessing sexual identity among adults in 2015, so these relationships could not be examined in earlier years or among adolescents. The options for gender included only “male” or “female” and thus did not allow researchers to differentiate between transgender and cis-gender individuals. The dataset does not assess sexual behavior, so this study only captured associations based on individuals’ sexual identity.

Authors include Morgan M. Philbin, Emily R. Greene, Silvia S. Martins, and Pia M. Mauro of the Columbia Mailman School; and Natalie LaBossier of Boston University School of Medicine.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Why you should see redundancy as an opportunity

If you are concerned about the stability of your job, take a look at why you should see redundancy as an opportunity.

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If you are facing the prospect of losing your job, it can feel personal and the feelings of nervousness about where you will get your next paycheck will soon set in. While redundancy is a traumatic experience for most people, you shouldn’t assume that it will make your life change for the worse. Following your career path religiously, you may think that redundancy will put a halt to your promotion prospects. However, work through the obstacle of redundancy and you can show any potential new employer just how resilient you are.

IMAGE SOURCE: PEXELS.COM

If you are concerned about the stability of your job, take a look at why you should see redundancy as an opportunity.

Retraining

If you have recently been made redundant, you might be online every minute of every day looking for potential new roles. Don’t just scattergun a range of jobs and instead take a step back to upskill or retrain. If you have some savings in the bank, think about investing some of this cash on yourself by heading to a university like Suffolk Online to undertake an MBA. By honing your business administration skills, you can re-enter the job market as a more attractive candidate than your competitors. 

If you would rather reassess your career options, you could embark on a change in professional direction. Retraining is not out of the question. Take a look where there are job shortages and retrain as an electrician, an educator, or a plumber. This may be vastly different to your high flying managerial position, but it could give you more job satisfaction.

Travel

Redundancy can come as a shock and you may not be ready to re-enter the job market straight away. If you want to take a sabbatical and make good use of your time, think about traveling. Traveling overseas and going on a self-funded adventure can be massive amounts of fun and can give you the opportunity to see the world. While your career is important to you, so is your ability to enjoy the world around you. Travel, see new vistas, immerse yourself in new cultures, and figure out what it is that you really want to do. You may find yourself finding work as you travel and you may fall in love with a region that you later go on to settle in.

Start Your Own Business

If you want to leave the rat race, redundancy could give you the perfect opportunity to start your own business. You may have had the amoeba of an idea for a decade or more. Now may be the perfect time to morph this dream into a reality. Think about creating a business plan, sourcing funding, and launching your money making venture. You may want to use your contacts and network within the industry you already have experience with. Alternatively, you may want to change direction and follow a passion for ultimate job fulfilment.

You don’t have to assume that redundancy is the death knoll for your career. Follow this guide and view redundancy as the ultimate professional opportunity.

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Health & Wellness

Sexual minority men who smoke report worse mental health, more frequent substance use

LGBTQ+ people are more likely to smoke than their cisgender and heterosexual peers to cope with an anti-LGBTQ+ society, inadequate health care access and decades of targeted tobacco marketing. Those social stressors drive the health disparities they face, which are compounded by a lack of LGBTQ-affirming healthcare providers, research shows.

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Cigarette smoking is associated with frequent substance use and poor behavioral and physical health in sexual and gender minority populations, according to Rutgers researchers.

The study, published in the journal Annals of Behavioral Medicine, examined tobacco use by sexual minority men and transgender women to better understand the relationships between smoking, substance use and mental, psychosocial and general health.

The researchers, who are part of the Rutgers School of Public Health’s Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies, surveyed 665 racially, ethnically and socioeconomically diverse sexual minority men and transgender women, 70 percent of whom reported smoking cigarettes.

They found that smoking was associated with participants’ race/ethnicity, marijuana and alcohol use and mental health. Current smokers were more likely to be white and reported more days of marijuana use in the past month. The study also found that current smoking was associated with more severe anxiety symptoms and more frequent alcohol use.

“Evidence also tells us that smoking is associated with worse mental health and increased substance use, but we don’t know how these conditions are related to each other, exacerbating and mutually reinforcing their effects,” said Perry N. Halkitis, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health and the study’s senior author.

LGBTQ+ people are more likely to smoke than their cisgender and heterosexual peers to cope with an anti-LGBTQ+ society, inadequate health care access and decades of targeted tobacco marketing. Those social stressors drive the health disparities they face, which are compounded by a lack of LGBTQ-affirming healthcare providers, research shows.

“Our findings underscore the importance of holistic approaches to tobacco treatment that account for psychosocial drivers of substance use and that address the complex relationships between mental health and use of substances like alcohol, tobacco and marijuana,” said Caleb LoSchiavo, a doctoral student at the Rutgers School of Public Health and the study’s first author.

The study recommends further research examining the social determinants of disparities in substance use among marginalized populations and how interpersonal and systemic stressors contribute to poorer physical and mental health for minority populations.

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