Spring Philippines founder Bettina Jose takes care of herself by taking care of others

Spring Philippines founder Bettina Jose takes care of herself by taking care of others

“It’s just one life, one soul in the dark.”

When it comes to self-care, selflessness is probably the last thing that comes to mind. We have our carefully mastered routines of doing face masks at night with Etta James in the background, all while burning a giant cinnamon candle for that maximum hygge. On the flip side, some people’s idea of self-care involves creating comforts for others. This is one thing I learned while talking to Spring Philippines founder Bettina Jose.

Launched in 2018, Spring’s main goal is to encourage people to have honest and candid conversations about mental health. They hold talks in different schools and organizations about their personal experiences with depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders. Their live activations in select schools are especially fun with yoga classes, nutrition talks, art therapy sessions, and bullet journaling workshops. While these activities sound like your regular Sunday afternoon, they serve a bigger purpose, too. “We’re trying to give them different ways to cope with their mental illness or improve their mental health without going to the doctors,” she says. “After dealing with high school kids, (I realized that) not everyone is open about it with their parents and mental health therapy is expensive.” By doing these live activations, their team provides some sort of emergency kits in case the clouds get dark.

Spring Philippines encourages having open discussions about mental health by holding talks in different schools and hosting special activities like yoga and art therapy sessions.

While they’re founded on community building, Spring also upholds their responsibility in treating mental illnesses as a medical issue. Psychiatrists and psychologists are also present in their talks to help kids understand the biological aspect of these illnesses. Spring also has a pool of medical professionals that they can refer their community members to in case they need help.

It takes selflessness and generosity to organize these massive talks for hundreds of people. Her team sees beyond their own struggles, and looks at how other people can learn something about their journey. With all the daily operations in running Spring, Bettina found herself in a dark place just last year. “Masyado akong napiga.” I had to learn na there won’t be Spring if I do not take care of my well- being,” she shares. Taking care of others helps her take care of herself, and vice versa. That’s a beautiful, mutually beneficial cycle that we can all learn from.

For Spring Philippines founder Bettina Jose, being able to get at least one person out of the darkness is already a success for her and the community.

This year, she’s taking better care of herself and it also starts with identifying your triggers, which, for her, involve social media. It’s ironic, though, how Spring’s community mostly thrives online, when a lot of people from this generation point to Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as the main culprits for their depression and anxiety. But Spring utilizes it so well that it makes you feel good and more aware about your thoughts in a positive way. They do constant check-ins via Instagram, asking their followers how they’re feeling. Who knew that something as simple as filling out a Google form with your innermost feelings can be cathartic? Seeing them transformed into art validates your existence in some way. It’s like they’re saying, “We see you, we hear you, and whatever you’re trying to overcome now — and we believe that you will — everyone else is going through it, and we’ll defeat it together.” It makes someone’s day better for sure, knowing that a group of people is always willing to listen.

 

“We see you, we hear you, and whatever you’re trying to overcome now — and we believe that you will — everyone else is going through it, and we’ll defeat it together.”

 

Social media helped Spring a lot in establishing their brand. But Bettina recognizes that it’s also a double-edged sword. In college, she started as a micro -influencer, posting about brands for work. She has slowly built her following through the years, and now she’s starting to focus in on how she wants her influence to work. “I’ve really decided to use my social media as my outlet to speak about these things,” she says. “ Nandyan na may boses ka na, might as well use it to make a difference.”

That in itself already takes a lot of courage. It takes a certain kind of heart to walk to the edge of the cliff knowing that there’s a possibility of falling. For Bettina, if it means that you get to help others, pull them out of the darkness, that’s already a job well done. “It’s just one life, one soul out of the dark,” she answers when asked about her definition of success. “One person to understand they’re being heard and understood.” If that’s the metric we have for success, then we know for sure that Bettina and her team are already the most successful people in the world.

Follow Spring Philippines on Instagram at @spring.phl.