Do we still hear music when we’re on the road? That ecstatic joy deep in our chest when we’re heading towards a new venture? Perhaps, we need to go ahead again.

2018 when I started in the education sector. Back then, during the 1st semester, I had less than 60 students to teach and encourage. Everything else was manageable and “else” includes my craft on visual arts and writing, family life, physical welfare, active social connections and a quite healthy relationship with Abe. However, about halfway in my first year stint, I’ve noticed the declination of these healthy aspects of my personal space. The root cause: mismanagement that led to some unproductive days, constant exhaustion and anxiety.

I accepted piles of assignments where I constantly failed to say “no”. It would be more pleasing to just get assignments done I’d believe but this only resulted to substandard work. There were instances where I’d rearrange my room on a weekly basis to challenge my daily routines. Such times were also incorporated with the bad habit of bringing home school papers and other documentations. But, this did not work out at all as I’d bring the untouched papers back to school during Mondays. Then, I’d sleep at night in my cluttered room contemplating the next usual days. 23 years old in her room, disturbed and sleepless. Enthusiasm died off.

 Recently, I bumped into an online article at the World Health Organization (WHO) site. It tells about a familiar term which was identified as an occupational phenomenon: burn out. “Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions: feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy. Burn-out refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life.” (WHO, 2019)

I concluded that this might be it. So, we bought a ticket going south without any plan in mind. The only goal I kept in mind is: solitude and being able to grasp new fire along the way. I needed a different burn – for passion, life, for my anticipations and my dying craft.

These are some of the mindful insights I’ve perceived in the process of exploring the unfamiliar.

Slow down

Slow progress is okay. Give yourself the right amount of rest in between your endeavors. At times, we may compare ourselves to the growth of others but there will be times when we have to listen to our own pace. Paths as diverse, yours might be different.

Observe your habits

Have you been observing your routine and/or habits lately? Are they working well for your current? There will be new and rarely noticed few changes on our daily walks on life. Some old will remain but, let’s focus on the new ones. Observe your habits if they are beneficial for your daily living. What particular goodness do they provide you?

Leave when necessary

There are two types of leaving: temporarily and permanently. Which one do you think you have to step on for you to proceed? Some things hinder us towards fulfilling productivity or merely being able. It takes serious notes to leave but, leaving to seek rest (temporary) and starting over (permanence) is an understandable need. Just remember, you have people to back you up of you have to decide. Openness towards close kin will help.

Intention checking

What purpose do you want to pursue? Do you visualize good intentions – selfless, socially helpful and beneficial for others? Will you be able to answer when asked what are your goals and/or objectives? These are all questions because, basically, we must seek reasons behind what we offer or share.

Trust the process

This sure is an overused statement but that is why: it is useful. Create a mantra you’d be proud to carry everyday, an unbreakable oath to self. Personally, this is a good one for me and for co – creatives who are almost losing in their battle towards keeping their passion: Trust the process. Majority of our time is occupied by creating – a process in itself. Do not undo, keep pursuing.

Understand situations

Contemplate. Think thoroughly. Appreciate good situations to attract more good happenstances. While we can’t avoid experiencing adverse situations, stay awake by embracing the art of calmness and rational positivism. Solutions first then comes lessons to keep in mind. Acknowledge goodness in every bad angle, the reasons and what it will leave us.

Develop beneficial interests

Wake up at 5:00 a.m.; spend more time with your old folks; paint trees with your nieces; visit house models that resembles your ideal home; take note of the provinces you want to visit; or enlist particular local food you want to try. I got this idea from Where To Next?’s planner which I bought to purposely track my 2019. Do not be afraid to try new things. Be glad you have the chance to do so. We are rapidly aging so might as well gift ourselves with new experiences. They can start off from a simple “wake up at 5:00 a.m.”!

Echoing the good

I was thinking of another way of saying it more properly but, maybe this one is enough. Echoing the good is sharing the best out of your experiences outwards and forward. Paying it to other people who might be going through the same “burn out” as you do. Echo, to me, is the perfect word to describe sharing. It goes on from you and forward.

The trip to south was in all ways a first for me. Will talk about it on a separate note. For now, I am only here to share this journey towards embracing solitude. It was also only after this short exploration that I discovered what I actually needed that I have been looking for, kahupayan.

Kahupayan, a beautiful Cebuano word which may simply be defined as “peace/solitude/solace”. I found a word I would be proud to embrace on a daily basis. When I could no longer hold myself together, it’s what I tell my self since: kahupayan.

As a conclusion, here are some other relatable notes from friends you could consider when you’re on the brink of being burned out:

Do something new to you. It’s a win-win situation.


Doing actually nothing for a time.


I watch a lot of Netflix and cry to rom-com while eating my favorite food.


2 replies on “Kahupayan — rebuilding one’s solitude

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