The cure for anything is salt water –
sweat, tears, or the sea.
via Candice Celeste Jensen on Pinterest
When you peel the layers of a person, it just comes down to skin, flesh, and bones. At least, this is what most people would agree.
We often forget that further still, right underneath our rib cage, there is the beating heart, and further beyond the heart seats the soul.
Considering the skin is the largest organ in the human body, it’s easy to think that it’s everything. Our looks, our image, our reputation. People go crazy these days, doing everything they can to make their skin tight and appear “right” and inject artifices with all their might, but they still perish. What happens to the flesh? It lusts after a particular appearance and envies those particulars of others. While it’s busy lusting and envying and greedily hauling the latest technologies to operate their skin, the flesh loses its density over time, as constant as gravity pulls, and all these sagging mass won’t be able to support itself with weak, drying bones.
All the while, everything beyond the heart is neglected. People would nod in agreement with the adage, the heart is fragile. But you know what’s even more fragile? These layers above it that’s supposed to protect it: Our bones, our flesh, our skin. It’s one big vessel that withers with age, and someday, layer by layer, it will turn back into dust.
The soul, on the other hand, is eternal. Where it may go after the rest of you died is up for question. Regardless of your choosing1, it’s where true healing begins. It’s the center where your spirit23 sovereigns over all the layers of your self, the impartial atom of your very being. That moment you feel empty inside? That’s when you forget the soul’s existence, after too much complying, complaining, and compromising. As your vessel undergoes the copious operations you let it through, the light within you wanes and wrinkles and wastes away. It vanishes, even, when you neglect it long enough.
So what’s a girl to do from hereon?
1. Tennis engages you physically as well as both mentally and emotionally – an all-rounder for your health.
2. It helps you stay in shape. And no, round is not a shape.
3. You’re less likely to get sick too, obvs.
4. You’ll burn fat and build muscles simultaneously. #timesaver
5. That said, you become more efficient with your time at the gym, ’cause you already get both cardio and resistance training in one game of tennis.
6. Which is why it’s an excellent, non-boring cross-training for those of you specializing in any other particular sport.
7. I mean, you ever watched Federer play? His movements are fluid and his limbs are flexible, pretty much all the requirements you need to do yoga.
8. Or what about Rafa? His hits explosive, his core strong, his strikes consistently powerful, his feet constantly moving. These are the hallmark skills of a true boxer.
9. You also get to understand your own pace and rhythm in your movements (long-distance runners, anyone?).
10. Tennis reduces stress. Something about running around, sweating it out, moving around, changing directions, sometimes lunging, often dashing, constantly reaching and jumping and striking the fuzzy yellow balls … that loses the appeal of yoga classes and hitting punch bags.
11. The more you play it, the more agile you become. You know when and where to start, stop, and pivot in unpredictable directions.
12. In between watching the oncoming ball and determining the perfect contact point, you’re improving your hand-eye coordination faster than playing Flappy Bird.
13. You simply become more alert than most people, especially in today’s ADHD-driven world.
14. You’ll develop an impressive reaction time. It’ll come in handy in daily life as well.
15. You’re more coordinated than non-tennis-playing people, ’cause you need to move quickly into position and adjust your body accordingly to hit the ball.
16. You a become a better decision-maker. There’s a longer anticipation between your opponent hitting the ball and you hitting back compared to other racquet sports. This allows for a timeframe to plan and act on a powerful countermove immediately, as the game is all about quick maneuvers (and not just hitting back and forth mindlessly).
17. This way, you’re going become a much more disciplined person, because as long as you’re on the court, you’re constantly practicing control.
18. Over time, you’ll also fail better. You learn that in order to win, minimizing errors is critical.
19. It’s a social sport. “Hanging out” with your buddies is interchangeable with “playing tennis”.
20. Plus, you increase your social skills. In between pre-match, switching sides on court, and after play, you chat, listen, laugh, help, take turns and just getting along with your playmates.
21. You become more confident about yourself. Hitting with power, increased fitness, anticipating problems, efficient problem-solving, learning from mistakes, improved overall performance, better mood, social validation, hello?
22. THE shot. Nothing feels better than hitting the ball the way you do in your head.
23. For as long as you play doubles, you learn the true meaning of teamwork.
24. You’ll master the art of fair play.
25. Consequently, you’ll also get more business connections. I mean, c’mon, golf? You’re barely burning calories.
27. As physicians and scientists always say, it’s THE sport for a lifetime. You can no longer to kick, dunk, hike, dive or score a touchdown 50 years later. But hey, you can still swing your racquet with style.
28. You’ll also live longer, btw. Scientists have proven this.
29. And play with your kids.
31. Not to mention that it’s the only sport where you get to wear a cute dress.
32. You’ll have stronger bones later in life.
33. And you learn that it’s important to keep moving – in tennis and in life. #footwork #resilience
34. You also learn how to remain gracious, both in victory and in loss.
35. And you will form lifelong friendships, ’cause those who sweat together, stick together.
36. That said, you no longer feel the “work” in working up a sweat.
37. Because it’s recreational, it’s competitive, and it’s just plain fun.
Are you watching the Wimbledon this year?
As you may know, I’m a big fan of essential oils. They’re like little bottles of elixir that can heal every health and beauty need you can possibly imagine.
Now you might also know that I’ve been experimenting with mosquito traps and repellants. As promised, I’m sharing the ways that work and dismissing those that won’t.
Essential oils is just one way, and by far the best one IMO. This is because these plant concentrates are so versatile that you can use them to your advantage: Inhale the fragrance using a diffuser, ingest the essence with a dilution, and directly applying the oils across your skin.
My favorite way is the last – using them topically. It’s not your room or your internal organs that’s concentrated with the aromas – it’s every inch of you where mosquitoes can bite. All the places they can suck blood is tainted, and this ultimately makes mosquitoes hate you. Just remember not to overdo it, because we’re going full-on undiluted with volatile oils here. But trust me, it works.
For the untrained nose, patchouli smells like your granny’s clothes. But the musky essence is my go-to scent whenever I’m looking to calm my mind or just looking to ground myself. In ancient Asia, silk traders used to pack patchouli leaves with their silk cloths to prevent moths from laying eggs, while in the 60s, patchouli was the rage when it comes to incense. Some even use it as an aphrodisiac, but I’m afraid you perfumed with patchouli could repel both the mosquitoes and your boyfriend (true story).
Based on this 2005 study, patchouli was one of the 4 fragrances that provided 2 hours of complete repellency from mosquitoes (along with clove, citronella, and makhwaen). While I haven’t tried makhwaen before, I can testify that citronella also works, but patchouli is better when you’re easing yourself to sleep. Citronella is for when I’m out playing tennis and sweating, and we all know all that heat and sweat and CO2 are evermore delicious for mosquitoes.
Alternatives: Citronella, catnip, thyme
This scent you’ll associate most with cough syrups, medicated oils, and Fisherman’s Friend. If you’re a fan of minty freshness, then eucalyptus is your friend, only much stronger. Contrary to popular belief, eucalyptus does not belong to the mint family. It belongs to the myrtle family, from where other woodier scents such as cajeput, clove, guava and allspice also belong.
You’re probably already using eucalyptus for throat, breathing, and digestive problems, but now you can also cash in on it to avoid the harmful side effects of DEET-based repellants (eucalyptus-based repellants works better) and to prevent mosquito larvae from growing in the first place.
Alternatives: Lemon eucalyptus, lemongrass, peppermint
I have a theory on why cloves are so warm and spicy: They have the highest antioxidant capacity of most, if not all plants (1,078,700 µTE/100 g) on earth. I found this fact when I found the ORAC chart from the USDA Database, so if you’re looking for the most powerful antioxidant activity from the inside-out (and in this case, vice versa), go with the cloves. The spice remains an important commodity in the trade from ancient times till today, and as an Indonesian I’m proud to say the myrtle plant is native to Indonesia.
Today, aside from cooking, people are also using cloves as mouthwashes and for overall dental health. Not to mention that of all the essential oils we’ve covered so far, clove oil worked the best on me to keep myself free from mozzie bites all night. Based on the study we mentioned earlier, clove oil provides the longest time of 100% repellency, up to 4 hours compared to the 2 hours of other oils (as well as the other oils in this 1999 study). Bottom line: Clove oil’s efficacy against mosquitoes is proven legit. So start hauling the spice before food and drug companies mark up the price.
Alternatives: Fennel, vanilla, garlic
Still not convinced? Try going one night with any one of these oils to sleep. Rub just 1-2 drops of the oil on your face and neck. Not only are you going to sleep tighter, the nasty midgets are going to flee from you all dusk and all dawn.