By Yey Coronel, FASGI Executive Director; Melanie Sabado-Liwag, PhD, MPH – California State University, Los Angeles Faculty; Reener Balingit, CHES – FASGI Mental Health Program Coordinator; and Nicole Aniceto, California State University Los Angeles, Master of Public Health Student
Filipino American Service Group, Incorporated (FASGI) continues to serve Filipino-Americans and all of the residents in Los Angeles County as the spread of COVID-19 increases the number of cases, deaths, and hospitalizations in our community. More than ever, we need one another to support each other through these difficult times.
FASGI aspires to keep the spirit of hope in our community. Our ongoing partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health; universities and student groups like CSULA and UCLA Pilipinos for Community Health; community organizations – Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity, The Better Angels, MoTHER Movement, Westin/Carson Adult Day Health Care, FYLPRO and Pilipino Workers Center; and volunteers allow us to continue to serve our community. To name a few efforts that we initiated, the BalikBAHAY Project recognizes our vulnerable and valuable community members through care packages containing essential items and COVID-19 resources. The FASGI CARES Project provides mind and body healing through meditation, exercise, health coaching, and social activities to alleviate anxiety, stress and depression caused by the pandemic, as well as immune boosting strategies to build individual and community resilience.
We aim to continue these services in the new year and support our community however we can.
Taking Care of Ourselves
It’s a wild time to be living through this pandemic. There’s so much uncertainty that it is sometimes scary. A lot of us are feeling worried, sad, left out, and concerned for our future. And that’s okay. We want to reduce as much stress and stressors in our life as much as we can control. Stress can contribute to adverse body responses such as weight gain/loss, anxiety, depression, upset stomach, loss of sleep, and other undesirable effects.
Here are some tips to make our life less stressful:
- Give your body the fuel to keep YOU functioning. Like plants, our bodies need hydration and nutrients to flourish. Drink water and eat your fruits and vegetables. If it’s hard for you to eat your fruits and vegetables, consider eating a variety of colorful produce to ensure you get your daily vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
- Make space for headspace. The COVID-19 pandemic left many of us confined to limited amounts of space to live, be, and exist how we would normally prefer to live. While our circumstances may vary, it’s always a great time to create new boundaries for yourself to avoid over-exhaustion. If our role in life is to care for others besides ourselves, we need to make sure we put our own oxygen mask on first, always. Self-care is not selfish; it sustains our energy capacity to focus on others when we have already taken care of ourselves.
- Pay it forward. Keep our spirit alive by keeping in *digital* touch. We can still be emotionally close to our loved ones through video chat, (planner or spontaneous) phone calls, or a simple message to let someone know you were thinking of them. Share what you would like to see more of in the world. Words of love and acts of kindness can go a long way, even impacting those we may not know.
Get enough quality sleep. Adults need an average of 7 hours of sleep. Without enough sleep, there is a higher risk for chronic diseases and conditions such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and depression.
- Incorporate movement into your daily routine. Ideally, we’d love for everyone to participate in moderate exercise for at least 30 minutes 4-5x a week, but we understand that this pandemic has disrupted more than our regular routine. Solve the zoom overload and pandemic fatigue, pick your favorite physical activity and release some steam!
- Take a moment to be present through prayer or meditation. If we cannot find peace in our life, let’s call on it to meet us. Ask and you shall receive.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Community as Immunity
Staying emotionally connected as a community even if we temporarily become more physically isolated is critical to our overall health and wellness. By staying in community, even if we are more physically separated, we can and will get through this crisis as we have gotten through so many others in the past — together.
We have compiled resources on how we can help ourselves, our loved ones, and our community in coping with fear, stress, anxiety, depression, grief, and uncertainty.
- Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health 24/7 Help Line: (800) 854-7771
- Peer-Run Warm Line for Emotional Support: (855) 845-7415
- Disaster Distress Helpline: (800) 985-5990
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255
- National Youth Crisis Hotline: (800) 448-4633
- Receive 24/7 support via text messaging: Text “LA” to 741741
- Los Angeles County COVID-19 Guidelines, Protocols for Reopening, Daily Updates: dmh.lacounty.gov/covid-19-information
- National Domestic Violence 24/7 Hotline: (800) 799-7233
- Referrals to agencies and community organizations that offer emergency financial assistance: 211.org
- Online resource that connects users to free and reduced cost local resources such as medical care, food, housing, transportation, etc. Auntbertha.com
- Government programs that help with bill payment, temporary assistance, jobs/unemployment, credit, etc. USA.gov/help-with-bills
- Free support services to help your family navigate the sudden loss of a loved one: carsonsvillage.org
- Suicide prevention resources for LGBTQ youth: Trevor Project (866) 488-7386
- Friendship Line for 60 years or older, or adults living with disabilities: (888) 670-1360
- COVID-19 Hotline California For All: (833) 422-4255
- Project Roomkey for housing people experiencing homelessness: covid19.lacounty.gov/project-roomkey/
Sources: Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health
What’s Your Why?
We get buried underneath the stress life seems to pile on our plate. Remembering our goals and purpose helps us to stay focused and align our actions with our intentions.
While some days are harder than others, what is your motivation that keeps you continuing?
Remember: you are not alone. FASGI is always happy to help and honored to serve!
For more information, please contact FASGI at [email protected] or call (213) 908-5050. You may also visit our website for more details on our programs and initiatives to support our community at fasgi.org.