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How Ate Vi deals with anxiety attacks and sadness during pandemic

/ 12:02 AM August 11, 2021

Santos with (clockwise, from top) Ryan Christian Recto, Luis Manzano and daughter-in-law Jessy Mendiola

“It’s normal; even I have experienced it,” said veteran actress Vilma Santos when asked for her advice on how to best handle mental health issues during a pandemic.

Vilma, who is also Batangas representative, recently indulged her Facebook and Instagram followers in an hourlong virtual chat, where she readily answered their questions.

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The veteran actress, who goes by the title Star for All Seasons, was accompanied by her sons Ryan Christian Recto and TV host Luis Manzano, as well as her daughter-in-law Jessy Mendiola.

“Don’t worry too much. We’ve all gone through this, especially since we have been dealing with COVID-19 for over a year and a half now,” she began. “Even I felt anxious and sad. There were days when I’d wake up already having negative thoughts in my head. I would sometimes ask, ‘What will happen to me today?’ but I know that I need to fight this, that I have to get this out of my system.”

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Vilma said she would often deal with negative emotions by praying and exercising. “I would also remind myself to think only of positive things. I then keep myself productive with Zoom meetings at work,” she said, adding that there were times when she would experience anxiety attacks at night, too.

“It’s good that I have my family with me. I just look at them and the feeling of gratefulness comes rushing back,” said the wife of Sen. Ralph Recto. “Also, it’s best if you stay connected with your friends. Talk with them, pray with them. But, if you feel that the anxiety attacks are getting worse, don’t be ashamed to ask for help from professionals.”

Vilma was also asked to reveal her secret to aging gracefully. To this, the 67-year-old replied: “To be honest, I really don’t know. [The youthful glow] is probably from within, from the heart. Wrinkles and sagging skin are part of aging. It’s unavoidable. Let’s simply embrace them.”

Vilma Santos

She further said: “I don’t apply too much cosmetics on my skin. I only make sure not to sleep with makeup on. I wash my face with warm water and then apply moisturizer on it before going to sleep, and then in the morning, I wash with iced water. That’s it!”

Asked what she thought was the key to contentment in life, Vilma replied that one should never feel complacent at all. “It’s important that we look forward to doing something every day, otherwise we will deteriorate. Never feel contented. You have to keep learning new things every day,” she pointed out. “Rather than contentment, it’s more important to strive to live simply and comfortably. Never stop learning. Find challenging things to do every single day.”

She then expressed gratefulness to having sons, who are “not perfect” but are individuals she is most proud of. “I guess people would call me plastic for this, so I’m already telling you that Lucky (Luis’ nickname) is not perfect, Ryan is not perfect. However, they are independent and God-fearing. They are also able to make important decisions on their own even at an early age because that’s how I raised them. I’m so blessed to have them as my sons. God is indeed good to me,” she said.

“If there were challenges in our lives, I’m thankful because we were able to surpass them. Family is indeed the most important unit in our society. This means that before you become effective in serving others, you should first be able to serve your own family well. As a public servant, it’s my family that became my inspiration as I tried to serve a bigger family, which is Batangas.” INQ

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