FI YOUTH EMPOWERMENT AMIDST THE GLOBAL HEALTH: FROM ISOLATION TO CONNECTION

FI Youth Ministry Mental Wellness Webinar 

The world-wide development of the COVID-19 pandemic has brought forth a variety of new terms that aids in the understanding of how we are to approach this global crisis. Terms such as lock down, social distancing and isolation are words that are mostly associated with safety and precaution but these words are also linked towards mental health, a pressing issue that the majority of the society has currently been facing. Lock down is not only perceived as physical confinement as it can also be seen as trapping yourself in a negative state of mind

Social distancing is not just physically separating yourself from those around you but it has manifested itself through detaching yourself from the ones that are close to you. Isolation is not solely just secluding yourself from the outside world, but is also about alienating yourself from those that matter to you. Amidst these troubling times, it is important to seek awareness of the significance of prioritizing and taking care of oneself which is why the Hijas de Jesus congregation has organized a Mental Health Webinar, with  Fr. James Wenceslao U. Gascon, SJ, as the resource person to help remind us of the simple and positive things about life we tend to forget. Moreover, Pope Francis kept on telling us that the youth are treasures of the Church that need to be nurtured in order to bloom and  become bearers of the Good News. The said webinar was held last June 12, 2021, via Zoom, with more than two hundred (200) youth-participants from the eight (8) FI schools all over the country. 

Who do you wake up for every day? This is a simple question with varying responses from different individuals; however, the answer that must be put first is yourself. On the other hand, what does one do in a day aside from sleeping and eating? The outbreak of the aforementioned virus has expeditiously robbed us of our normal lives, including daily interactions with others, face to face classes, and the unending list of activities goes on. As such, it is quite difficult to separate work from rest as we remain at home for most of our endeavors. The four corners of the room quickly consume us as our anxiousness heightens because of these circumstances. With this occurrence, it is notoriously inevitable that the seed of poor mental health sprouts into our narratives, hence the decrease in motivation to accomplish even the simplest of tasks

This is where the second query must be reflected upon. In the webinar, the significance and impact of our faith towards our overall well-being was highlighted. The uncertainties of this world certainly induce us to have an apprehensive outlook of the present time, but the security of knowing that God is in our midst steers us away from these fears. To further elaborate, the strengthening of our faith must be simultaneously upheld while you are taking care of yourself or in Fr. James’ words “Be good to yourself because God is good to you.” You may opt to attain something as simple as meditating, reading, listening to music, or even exercising. Do not be afraid to try something new as this will help you cope with our current situation. Do not feel guilty of taking breaks for the sake of your sanity. Afterward, it is only right to check in on your friends, family, and other affiliations, for allowing ourselves to exchange sentiments can go a long way into how a person experiences and perceives his/her 24 hours. With this information, hopefully you may take yourself back to the webinar, immersing yourself in the discussion once again. 

Improving oneself is a process and in a process, contains several steps. In light of all this, let us have the courage to take the first step of improving ourselves by turning these deep realizations into concrete actions. Make time to listen, understand and empathize with other people’s problems but never forget to prioritize and make time for yourself as well. When clouds of doubt hover over you, remember to have faith by seeking refuge and peace in God. Find comfort in the certainty that God loves and will continue to love your imperfect self. Use this realization to learn to love yourself, just as God loves you because it is only through loving yourself that you learn to love others as well. When the time comes that you learn to love both yourself and others genuinely, you can truly be ready to help enlighten, inspire and empower others and help make this world a little better.

Indico-Pacific Province

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