DAVAO

Minding the pandemic

THE quarantine has seemingly put the world communities to a standstill. Work and usual daily activities have to be suspended to contain the spread of the virus. Socialization and communication patterns have taken different forms as physical proximity is deemed unhealthy and must be prohibited; unless people live in the same abode.

The digital platforms have never been more useful and needed. And people just need to connect.

To gain more insight into Covid-19 pandemic, the Healing Missionaries of the Holy Spirit (HMSS)-Davao through the initiative of couple Atty. Jaime “Jun” Lopoz and Jane “Yayet” Lopoz aided by their digital native children Ja-im, Juri, and Jimmu conducted a series of webinars that worked to bridge understanding of the real and its connectedness to the spirituality of the experience.

On May 2, 2020, they braved the unknown world of the virtual and cybertechnology to beam their maiden webinar on Mental Wellness via zoom. Participants, members and non-members alike came from all over the country and a few from outside the Philippines.

The series opened with the talk on Mental Wellness with speaker Melba Irene G. Gabuya, RN MN, clinical instructor of the Ateneo de Davao University School of Nursing known for conducting personal, occupational and motivational talks to some government and private agencies in the country.

In the webinar, Gabuya underscored the impact of community lockdown on the mental health of the individual and why people resist being asked to stay at home for longer periods.

She cited studies that showed how isolation can increase the risks of morbidity and mortality in the human population. She warned that while communities are working to protect people from the virus, another epidemic associated with mental health might be started.

Gabuya shared that “the uncertainty and the extended lockdown brought feelings of restraints, limitations, anxiety that many may suffer from insomnia or lack of sleep as its initial symptom.”

It is feared that insomnia may trigger taking increased amounts of sedatives and alcohol in some. As this continues energy might be depleted rendering the person to be unable to focus and function even at a minimum that eventually may lead to feelings of depression. All these combined may trigger immune responses to slow down that will render the individual more susceptible to Covid-19 and other opportunistic pathogens.

She also cited how stress can bring about physical and mental illness due to the activation of the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal Axis, which when stimulated triggers the release of the stress hormone Cortisol which is significant in managing sugar levels and in controlling blood pressure, among others.

Hence, an increase in stress also increases the release of cortisol which may cause the dysfunction associated with blood sugar and blood pressure.

On managing Covid-19, Gabuya highlighted the importance of maintaining communication with other human beings like connecting intimately with those who are with you at home.

It is also good to limit anxiety-laden feeds from one’s facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Moreover, she explained that the quarantine has positive sides too. It allows more time and space for mindfulness and deeper tuning in with the self, like planting flowers and vegetables which can be truly rewarding especially when one begins to harvest the fruits of his or her labor.

Oh, what I like most about her sharing is the power of lending an ear to others in this time of Covid. And I agree that it is always important to begin listening to ourselves before we can listen to others because we cannot give what we don’t have.

More importantly, it is always important to engage in activities that bring holistic benefits. So, sleeping early, eating right, exercising , and meditating or praying should always be a priority.


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