Coping by connecting

LAST Friday was a free day for many Valenzuelanos. Malacanang declared November 12 as a special non-working holiday in Valenzuela as the city commemorates its 398th founding anniversary.

Some of my friends took the opportunity to go out and relax. Some went out with their coworkers and others had a trip with their families. If only my husband and I had no prior speaking engagements, we could also spend a whole day together.

But I did not let that day pass without squeezing in some time with him. So what I did after my talk, I invited Jay (my husband) to have a dinner date with me while my daughter had her own time-out with her former classmates.

Holding hands, my husband and I went to a nearby Japanese restaurant and spent time talking and enjoying our ramen.

For almost two years now or since the pandemic began people are restricted from being closer to each other (literally) while health protocols are being implemented. And to many, this gives the feeling of isolation and makes things more difficult to face pandemic-related stresses. So when the government eased the restrictions, we Filipinos immediately grabbed the chance to enjoy and relax with people we love to be with.

Connecting with other people is the original design of God to each of us. When God created Adam in the book of Genesis he said that it is not good for a man to be alone (of course the same goes with the woman).

Jesus even commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves. If people are obeying this commandment many will have not just a smooth relationship but will also have a constant source of strong social support that can buffer against negative situations in life.
Even in the field of behavioral science, social support is proven to help in fighting the negative effects of distress.

Social support has been defined as “a social network’s provision of psychological and material resources intended to benefit an individual’s ability to cope with stress” (Cohen, 2004). Furthermore, studies also link social support to a man’s physical health (Unchino, 2004).

It is good to know that we Filipinos have this natural way of relieving stress by being a “group-oriented” people. This can be proven by how we respond to calamities, by how overseas Filipino workers overcome loneliness by gathering together to have fun, and by having close family ties.

This unique social culture of us reflects what the Bible says in Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 which says, “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if one falls down, his companion can lift him up; but pity the one who falls without another to help him up! Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm; but how can one keep warm
alone? And though one may be overpowered, two can resist. Moreover, a cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

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