Don’t forget to do a mental health check | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

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“Take a chance! All life is a chance. The man who goes farthest is generally the one who is willing to do and dare.”—Dale Carnegie

Tag! You’re it! Hide! You’re sick! Just like the game hide-and-seek, dodging this Omicron virus could be pretty tricky. You never know when the evil germ monster will zap you.

Keeping safe as much as I could, I have been following all the safety protocols, from wearing masks, social distancing and staying within my “bubble,” to endless hand sanitizing until my nails turn brittle.

After testing negative on the fifth day of an exposure, I thought I was safe. I was exposed to a driver who tested positive but was asymptomatic. Luckily, we were all wearing masks in the car. A strong believer in face mask protection, I believe I stayed negative thanks to that.

Thank goodness I was able to get my Moderna booster shot at Aegle Wellness Center in City Club, Makati City (check @aeglewellnessph for other wellness treatments). Along with my soulmate sister Vina Francisco, I brought my sister-in-law Tina Valdes to get her first vaccine shot. I was confident that we had another layer of protection somehow.

Feeling feverish last Monday, I decided to test again with the X-Aria home kit. Lab2Test is a home-use kit that is affordable, accurate, accessible and backed by the most advanced digital medical platforms. It is a qualitative antigen rapid immuno-assay and visual read test done through nasal swab, and is just an easy three-step process: swab, drop, wait. Check out

Within 15 minutes, I knew the unwanted outcome! The dreaded two-line result meant I had the virus and had to instantly isolate and quarantine in my room for the next 10 days. Luckily, I was already isolating so my daughter, Athena Valdes, and all at home were far from me. Thankfully, they tested negative.

Close contact

There was a period of panic after testing positive—not just for my own health, but for the health of others I may have been around recently. I alerted all who came in close contact with me prior to my fever (at least two days prior to symptom onset or testing positive). Close contact is defined as being within 6 feet of someone for a combined total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period while contagious. Bottom-line: It’s incredibly important to let people know that they have been exposed.

So within a few days, I have become an expert in home recovery and self-discovery while in isolation due to COVID. For starters, it’s best to eat and sleep in your own space, away from others, as well as use your own bathroom. If you do need to be in a shared living space, wear a mask; avoid contact with others, including pets; and do not share items, such as towels, blankets and cups.

To supplement the medicines your doctor prescribes, I recommend Usana Poly C Vitamins and other Usana essentials to keep your immune system strong. Keep hydrating with water and take Hydrite, oral rehydration salts, twice a day. My Red Charity Gala partner Kaye Tinga made sure her daughter ate, even with no appetite, to recover faster.

Aside from the basic steps like getting enough sleep, keeping hydrated and loading up on vitamins, my sister-in-law Ria Prieto told me she cleaned up her Instagram feed to make sure it’s inspiring and positive. She “unfollowed” those who post bad vibes to protect her mental health.

For the most part of 2021, I was thrust into a world of the unknown. For months, I was emotionally distraught, enduring mood swings throughout a given day. Not only were my past and future uncertain, but I also doubted my present relationship. Like Ria, I need to do a mental health check! During this isolation, I used most of my time to dive into self-help books that were recommended by Xandra Ramos of National Book Store.

When people fall out of touch, it is quite common that we outgrow them. If there is no forward progress, the mindset needs to declare and make a choice. Journaling is another activity to keep us busy while in home quarantine. It helps with finding that new direction and choice.

Wearable art

This pandemic has made me miss out on a lot of events. One of them was the recently concluded affair Fundacion Sanso X Septième Rebelle, a fashion and art exhibit.

Fine art has, unsurprisingly, inspired the creation not only of museum-worthy couture, but also wearable yet stylish and impeccably constructed designer pieces. Such is the case with Manila-based couture label Septième Rebelle whose collection, “Awakening,” is inspired by the work of no less than distinguished Spanish-born painter Juvenal Sansó.

Unbeknown to many, Sansó dabbled in fashion as a textile designer while he was a student at the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Paris in the 1960s, as a means of supporting himself when the Central Bank had set caps on the financial support that could be sent by his father from Manila.

Sansó’s hand-painted textile designs depicted florals and foliage, as well as geometric shapes and abstract patterns. The House of Balenciaga was his biggest client.

Robbe Santos, owner and creative force behind Septième Rebelle, is no stranger to Sansó’s work as a patron of the arts himself. But Sansó’s story of working as a young textile designer in Paris may have added another dimension to Santos’ appreciation of the renowned painter, prompting a vision beyond his—that of an art connoisseur. Santos draws a connection between his experience as a fashion designer inspired by fine art, and Sansó’s experience dabbling in fashion many years ago.

Santos chose to name his collection “Awakening” as a nod—or rather, a curtsy—to the revival of fashion after World War II, which was the time a young Sansó made contributions to fashion as a designer for fabric houses and ateliers overseas; and to the hopeful resurgence of high fashion after limitations set by debilitating lockdowns. More than a showcase of wearable art, the collection is also part of fundraising efforts in partnership with Fundacion Sansó.

Wishing you all safer days ahead!

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