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Cigna 2017

In 1996, Tomasa Macapinlac was in her early 30s, very successful, and working for one of the tech world's biggest companies. She was also extremely exhausted.

15 years of grinding it out in corporate America had taken its toll. "I was working my butt off. I had two small toddler daughters. I was married at the time, so I had a lot of stuff going on," remembers Macapinlac.

No doubt, many Americans have felt these same burnout feelings, which can have real impacts on physical health. In fact, stressful jobs are a known cause of high blood pressure.


Image via iStock.

In Macapinlac's case, it was the severe exhaustion that hit her, and over time, she fell ill — so ill, in fact, that she could barely climb out of bed.

"I didn't know what was wrong with me," says Macapinlac. "I'm pretty strong immune system-wise, health-wise, and I could usually kick things out. But this time, I couldn't."

So Macapinlac went to a doctor and was told to get three days of bed rest. But even after that, nothing changed. "I got back up and I was still not well," she adds. "I wasn't well for a while."

Macapinlac knew she needed to make a change and start taking better care of herself.

She was on the lookout for solutions that would help her feel better. So when a co-worker approached her and suggested she visit a holistic practitioner, it piqued her interest, and she decided to check it out.

Image via iStock.

Once there, she got up on a table and immediately received some hands-on healing. "It's very similar to acupressure," describes Macapinlac. "It's like being a jumper cable and recharging someone."

When it was over, Macapinlac already felt better. "I said, 'I don't know what you did, but I'm coming back,'" she remembers. And that, she says, was just the beginning of her whole journey of self-care.

Since then, Macapinlac has taken the time to create a self-care ritual that works for her.

Image via Tomasa Macapinlac, used with permission.

Of course, everyone is different and self-care is going to vary from person to person. For some, it's about following a thorough daily routine. For others, it's as simple as not missing preventive care annual doctor visits to keep an eye on the four health numbers — blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, and body mass index (BMI) — so they can take control of their health and hopefully prevent disease before they get sick. For Macapinlac, it was about finding ways to destress and eat well.

To do that, she adjusted her work hours, she followed some ancient healing practices, and she eliminated packaged, processed foods from her diet. She also gets in regular exercise by doing things she loves. "I jazz and hip-hop dance, and then I'll hike every day because I love being in nature," she says.

Image via iStock.

Her key finding was that balance in everything she does — from work to sleeping to working out — is crucial to her feeling healthy and happy.

Her daily rituals helped her get rid of her chronic body pain, fatigue, and nagging health issues, such as asthma and allergies. She also stopped losing energy early in the day and had much more time to be there for her daughters. (In fact, Macapinlac's rituals have inspired them to prioritize their own self-care.)

Image via iStock.

"I'm going to be 54 this year, and if you take a look at my latest pictures, I feel that I look much younger than I did in my 30s," Macapinlac explains with a chuckle. "A lot of people want to know where I get my energy from."

That's why Macapinlac continues her practice by helping others get through their own self-care challenges.

In fact, she eventually left the corporate world and became a holistic practitioner herself.

Image via Tomasa Macapinlac, used with permission.

"What I began to realize was that I'm really all about people taking care of themselves," she explains. "Because the truth is, when you take of yourself, then your glass is half-full, instead of half-empty."

"Then you can be there 100% for other people or whatever it is you want to focus on."

Today, she practices her own blend of ancient healing arts and she wrote a book entitled "30 Days to a Vibrant, Healthier, Younger You." Today, she is known to many as the "Self-Care Queen."

Image via Tomasa Macapinlac, used with permission.

Yes, different things will work for different people. But taking time to care for yourself — no matter how you do it — can help improve your health.

And if you don't know where to get started, you can always talk to a health care professional near you. Even something as simple as getting a health check to know your key health numbers can give you a good starting place when it comes to developing a self-care plan that works for you.

"I encourage everyone to find what’s right for them," says Macapinlac. Because that's what it's all about: taking the time to find a self-care ritual that works for you so that you can improve your health and well-being.

Image via iStock.

Learn more about how to take control of your health at Cigna.com/TakeControl.

10/10. The Mayyas dance.

We can almost always expect to see amazing acts and rare skills on “America’s Got Talent.” But sometimes, we get even more than that.

The Mayyas, a Lebanese women’s dance troupe whose name means “proud walk of a lioness,” delivered a performance so mesmerizing that judge Simon Cowell called it the “best dance act” the show has ever seen, winning them an almost instant golden buzzer.

Perhaps this victory comes as no surprise, considering that the Mayyas had previously won “Arab’s Got Talent” in 2019 and competed on “Britain’s Got Talent: The Champions.” But truly, it’s what motivates them to take to the stage that’s remarkable.

“Lebanon is a very beautiful country, but we live a daily struggle," one of the dancers said to the judges just moments before their audition. Another explained, “being a dancer as a female Arab is not fully supported yet.”

Nadim Cherfan, the team’s choreographer, added that “Lebanon is not considered a place where you can build a career out of dancing, so it’s really hard, and harder for women.”

Still, Cherfan shared that it was a previous “AGT” star who inspired the Mayyas to defy the odds and audition anyway. Nightbirde, a breakout singer who also earned a golden buzzer before tragically passing away in February 2021 due to cancer, had told the audience, “You can't wait until life isn't hard anymore before you decide to be happy.” The dance team took the advice to heart.

For the Mayyas, coming onto the “AGT” stage became more than an audition opportunity. Getting emotional, one of the dancers declared that it was “our only chance to prove to the world what Arab women can do, the art we can create, the fights we fight.”

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