Farmers’ secret to mental health is sunshine and physical activity: Pangilinan

TO Filipinos adjusting to the various quarantine levels during the COVID-19 pandemic, Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan reveals farmers’ secret to mental health: sunshine and physical activity.

That was part of his response to a question during the webinar entitled “Moving Up: Youth Empowerment on Leadership and Personality Development,” led by the student government of the General Vito Belarmino Integrated National High School over the weekend.

Pangilinan, father to three school-age children, pointed out the importance of taking care of one’s mental health during this pandemic.

“Hindi biro yan. Sa panahon ngayon hindi normal ang buhay. Hindi natin nakakasama ang ating mga mahal sa buhay at mga kaibigan. At ito ay may negatibong epekto sa atin. Let us acknowledge na lahat tayo ay apektado,” he said.

Pangilinan said recognizing that we are under enormous amounts of stress is the first step to addressing the problem of mental health, especially during the pandemic.

“Sabi nga nila identifying the problem is already 50% of solving it. Personally we can take our own steps in addressing it. Kami ni Frankie, nag-e-exercise kami sa loob ng bahay dahil exercise manages stress,” he said.

“Yan din ang sekreto ng mga magsasaka: Vitamin D na galing sa araw at ang physical activity. Pwede tayong magpa-araw kasi nakakabawas din ito [ng lungkot] at malaki ang epekto sa ating emotional well-being. Umattend ng mga seminar regarding mental health kagaya nito,” he added.

Pangilinan said keeping busy will help build and maintain our mental health.

“We can keep ourselves busy. At syempre tandaan na lilipas din lahat ito. Tibay-tibayan ang ating mga dibdib at sikmura and let us do what we can,” he said.

During the webinar, Pangilinan highlighted the role of young people as catalysts of change. He said young people must take opportunities and experiences, and use their skills and talents in nation-building.

“Tungkulin na maghanda at madagdagan ang kaalaman so that you become productive citizens in the country,” the senator said.

“As students, kayo ang involved sa critical thinking. Sanay kayong nag-aanalisa, tinitingnan ang problema tapos maghahanap ng solusyon. Kayo ang susunod na henerasyon. You have the zeal and you have the passion,” he said.

Pangilinan cited the examples of Filipino heroes Jose Rizal, Graciano Lopez Jaena, Juan Luna, among others, of young people who have effected transformative change in the country,

“Iyon ang kanilang ambag. Kayo, ano ang magiging ambag ninyo? Kayo ang mitsa ng pagbabago. It is both a burden and a responsibility for your generation to use your skills, your talents and energy in order to make a difference in your community and in our nation,” said the former University Student Council Chairman of the University of the Philippines-Diliman.

Melvin Josh Revilla, one of the organizers of the webinar, thanked Pangilinan for accommodating their invitation.

“Natutuwa [kami] dahil hindi nyo lang po [kami] binusog ng mga bagong matutunan, gayon rin ang mga isyung natalakay ay nabigyang linaw. Salamat po nang marami at hanggang sa susunod po muli,” Revilla said.