Her life changed when she focused on self-care. Now she's helping others do the same.
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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.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.