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Need A Mental Break? Holy Week Online Recollections And Retreats That Can Help
PHOTO BY Shutterstock/Nabilah Khalil
  • As we enter year two of the pandemic, we would think that things should already be manageable. However, the Philippines has seen a new surge, reaching 9,000 plus new Covid-19 cases almost daily these past few days.

    In 2020, the United Nations said that “although the Covid-19 crisis is, in the first instance, a physical health crisis, it has seeds of a major mental health crisis as well, if action is not taken.”

    Uncertainty continues

    Adults have been preoccupied with converting their jobs into digital platforms. There is a general feeling of anxiety, fear, and inadequacy. This is coupled with the daunting task of doing domestic chores in work from the home set-up. It can be very overwhelming and sometimes depressing because there seems to be no end in sight.

    In recent online workshops that I have conducted on psychological health and well-being, adult participants’ responses to self-check questions mainly were the same:

    • getting less than 6 hours of sleep on average
    • overthinking health
    • work tasks and deadlines
    • missing family, friends, and colleagues
    • feeling tired and exhausted
    • worrying about bills

    Many still have difficulty putting boundaries between home and work-life tasks, attending to work-related matters even after dinner, if not until midnight.

    Family’s emotional health

    On the other hand, students report being under a lot of academic pressure themselves, experiencing great difficulty balancing time between school requirements and their psychological need to connect with friends through gaming and social media.

    Studies suggest, however, that excessive use of social media has been linked to depression, breakdown in personal connectedness, and cyberbullying.


    When you combine exhausted parents and overwhelmed kids in one household, it can result in regrettable behavior. Minor irritants like a child’s messy room or at children’s seeming “no care attitude” about sharing household tasks push a parent’s annoyance to anger in explosive ways (e.g., yelling), hurting everyone in the process.

    Taking a mental break

    When emotions are too much to handle, or when you find yourself lacking the drive and energy to get out of bed, that is a signal to press the pause button.

    When we take a moment to pause, we allow our minds to be aware of our thoughts and how these affect our emotions and actions. Some do their breaks through prayer, breathwork, meditation, yoga, or just simply doing nothing.

    These days, however, it is tough to command the mind to do nothing. Often, our minds wander off, jumping from one thought to another, leaving us to feel unsettled, restless, and confused.

    Buddhists refer to this mind restlessness as the “monkey mind.” It is like an inner voice that wishes to be heard. Unfortunately, the inner voices that we hear right now amid the pandemic are fear, uncertainty, and sometimes hopelessness. When we pause, we create space in the mind as we clear the mental fog that causes us to be unwell.

    Holy Week 2021 online retreats and recollections

    Every day is a good day to pause, but the Holy Week is an excellent time to take a personal journey inward because people around you are also determined to take a break and pause.

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    Guided recollections and retreats are ideal because it allows the creation of a sacred space, where we encounter God in a personal way through meditation, silence, reflection, and prayer.

    “Not Afraid” (April 1-4, 9 a.m.)

    Conducted by the Feast featuring Bishop Hoesto Ongtioco, Fr. Reginald Malicdem, Fr. Michael Laguardia SDB, Bo Sanchez, Arun Gogna, Alvin Barcelona, Velden Lim.

    Register for free at https://holyweekretreat.com or on Facebook @thefeastofficial

    “Loved Unto Death and Beyond” (April 1, 9 a.m. / April 3 12 p.m.)

    Conducted by the Center for Ignatian Spirituality-Philippines. Watch the livestream via YouTube through the website and FB posts of the Center for Ignatian Spirituality (CIS)

    “Return to Love” (April 1-4, 4days/3nights)

    Conducted by Cenacle with two options: online P3,800/person and stay-in P5800/person

    “Letting Good, Letting Evil, Letting God” (April 1-3, 9:30am)

    Conducted by Pins of Light of Fr. Johnny Go, SJ. To join, follow @pinsoflight on Facebook

    “Almusalita” by Fr. Luciano Felloni

    Almusalita is a whole day companion with the Word of God. It offers short morning reflections, inspiring quotes, and Bible sharing. Follow them every morning on Facebook @AlmuSalita

    Dr. Gail Reyes Galang is chair of the Family Studies program of Miriam College where she also teaches under the Department of Psychology. She is currently the associate director of the Center for Peace Education. Dr. Galang also hosts a weekly program, “Our Peaceful Classroom” in Channel e. She is mom to four kids and four fur babies. 

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