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Mountain Province: Adventure haven in the uplands

John Ryan N. Mendoza finds joy in the rustic – while enjoying bugnay, encountering the 9:00 PM curfew, and discovering the mini-Amsterdam – up north.

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First published in Zest Magazine

As a development worker for years in the far-flung indigenous communities in the Mindanao mountains, finding nature just right outside one’s doorstep has been a much missed memory after recent city-dwelling years. So when I got the invitation of some friends to travel to the Mountain Province, a landlocked province in the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon, to support a community effort to help build a children’s library made of trash filled plastic bottles, I immediately packed and sped to the nearest bus terminal for the P445 trip to Baguio City to rendezvous with the group; and from Baguio, caught the non-aircon buses at the Dangwa Station at the back of the Center Mall for P212 that took us through the six hour treat to the dramatic cliffs and mountains of the Cordilleras.

Bontoc

Poblacion Bontoc is quite a compact town center where the provincial capitol building, plaza, market, municipal hall, and commercial center are located. One can either just hike or ride around in a tricycle for eight pesos per trip. The Bontoc Provincial hospital has been one of the facilities I find notable in the country for their promotion of indigenous and alternative health practices; they encourage utilization of Igorot herbs and practices and a traditional Chinese acupuncturist serves fulltime in their physical therapy unit.

We stayed at the Churya-a Hotel & Restaurant that is just situated along the national road – a five story building with verandas on each floor with a cozy view of the townscape. Nights at the poblacion, though, could be a disappointment to travelers seeking more quiet spaces as townspeople spend their time at karaoke bars and disco live bands in the vicinity. Bontoc has been known as the first mining town in this mountainous region of North Luzon, where locals would travel to for leisure and business.

For breakfast, a must-try would be the early morning coffee at the Bontoc Public Market. Locally sourced and organic, Arabica coffee blends only cost ten pesos per cup.

The bottle library is being constructed in the upland village of Guina-ang which is an hour drive of seven kilometers of winding roads up the mountains. Next to Guina-ang is the village of Mainit, which is known for its hot sulphur springs. We decided to spend one night in these invigorating baths before getting into hard labor.

The jeepney ride to Mainit and Guina-ang is parked beside the Shell Gas station in Bontoc. The jeepney leaves usually at 2:30 PM and the next at 4:00 P.M. On days with no rain, one can ride on top of the jeepney and enjoy much of the view of rice terraces while going up. Mainit accommodations priced at P300 per person were very modest. One must be warned that water from the faucet (when flowing) is still sourced from the hot springs, so one could burn him/herself. The hot spring water piped into small pools could be murky, but locals say that it is a good sign that various healthy minerals are present. A warm soak is just a perfect match for this village’s very cool climate.

Spending many days doing community work in the village of Guina-ang has given me a glimpse of the strong collective indigenous culture among the Bontocs. United by a common history and struggle, the Bontocs have learned to rely on their strength as one community to warmly welcome initiatives from the outside if they are deemed beneficial to all and shun any external action that could put them at a disadvantage. The steady progress of the bottle library is attributed to this cooperative spirit that is shown by each one, young and old, in this mountain village.

Surviving Sagada

This first trip of mine to this part of the Cordilleras would be sorely lacking without experiencing Mountain Province’s pride: Sagada. In Bontoc, jeepneys going up to Sagada are located on the street beside the Walter Clap Centrum. Travelling up to this other mountain town would just take less than an hour.

I first noticed the significant drop in temperature when we arrived. We were there in February, the coldest month, when it is reported that temperatures drop to 12 degrees Celsius at night. I stayed at Alfredo’s Inn for P250 a night for a single bed with a common bathroom with hot showers and Wi-Fi. All other hostels also charge the same rate, though with just minimal differences, such as a viewing deck and better accessibility to the town’s public amenities and attractions.

Sagada is known for its natural wonders of caves, falls, limestone cliffs, rice terraces, burial sites, and other historical landmarks. It has a land area of only 8,000 hectares and most spots can actually be reached by just walking. Mountain bike rentals are also available for P500 per day or P100 per hour.

While we managed to find the Echo Valley and the Hanging Coffins on foot, I personally getting a guide mainly for safety. There are two official guide organizations in town–the Sagada Enviromental Guides Association and the Sagada Genuine Guides Association. These associations have done a very competent job in organizing and standardizing their rates for guide services and van rentals. The tourism office ensures transparency through officially posting them and assuring that there are no hidden charges.

It goes without saying that when discovering outdoor attractions no matter where in the world you may be, you must always be properly outfitted – e.g. right clothes (in Sagada, something thicker than is usual), right footwear (here, focus on comfort over just what’s fashionable), and sunglasses for hiking.

A friend came with me to conquer the cave connection, which can be done anytime between 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM. The caving journey begins at the huge opening of Lumiang Burial Cave, which is a 40 minute walk from the town center. The challenge then starts with a crevice that is narrow enough to fit one person. The passage then led down to various awesome rock formations. Moisture is always present on the rocks, so extra caution and strict compliance to instructions have to be observed to avoid accidents. To facilitate safe access through rocks and tunnels, guides usually offer their shoulder as a “human step stool.” There are also built-in ropes with knots in very challenging areas. There are parts in the exploration that one has to swim during rainy season when some of the pools are filled with water. Yet guides can offer an alternate route if this is not preferred. The tour lasted for four hours until we exited at Sumaging Big Cave. The standard fee is P800 for one to two visitors and P400 for every additional visitor. Another P400 is charged if transportation to and from the town center is availed.

Finishing the cave connection did give me a great sense of physical achievement. That was then I understood what the t-shirt print “I survived Sagada” really meant. Important reminders for anyone who would attempt this feat would be to wear loose shirt, shorts or loose pants, and rubber sandals/flip flops/ rubber shoes. Guides generally do not advise people with fear of heights and/or closed space, heart ailments, asthma, and injuries to go through this long route and would suggest other less strenuous alternatives such as the short course caving.

The short course caving is an hour and 30 minutes of spelunking at the Sumaging Big Cave. This cave has a huge chamber and there’s a small tunnel at the end. To date, guides report that this is the most frequented tourist attraction in Sagada. Visitors are treated to amazing rock formations, huge open chambers and boulders to climb over. Sumaging cave is the habitat to thousands of bats. Visitors usually come upon a dung section in one of the huge spacious chambers. All visitors climb back at the same route. On the way back to town, the guide usually brings guests to the entrance of Lumiang/Burial Cave and drop by at the view point if Sugong Hanging Coffins, which is an hour walk. The guide fee is P500 pesos for up to four visitors.

All these other adventure options are in the list of the things I would love to conquer when I get back (Much cheaper when done in groups):

  • The Sagada to Mainit Hotspring Trekking is a five to seven hour climb and trek through rice terraces, villages, and rivers. Guests would then spend a night at the Mainit hotsprings. Guide fee is P2,500 per visitor.
  • The Mt. Sisipitan trekking is a six hour hike back and forth up a mountain of mossy and pine forests with an elevation of more than 2,200 meters. Guide fee is P2,000 per person.
  • The Danum – Mt. Langsayan trekking is a three to four hour traverse hike through mossy and pine forests that overlook two municipalities and offers a vast view of the rice terraces. Guide fee is P1,000 for up to three visitors.
  • The Marlboro Country trekking is an hour and 30 minutes hike from the mountain’s base to the peak. The Mt. Ampacao trekking is a hike to an elevation of about 1,880 meters. Guide fee for each trek is P600 good for up to 10 visitors.
  • The trip to the Bomod-ok Big Waterfall is a three hour hike back and forth from the Bangaan road. Fee: P600 good for up to 10 visitors.
  • The sunrise viewing at the Kiltepan mountain ranges offers an “aerial” view of rice terraces. The trip starts at 4:30 in the morning. Fee is P450 per ride which is good for up to 10 visitors
  • The sunset viewing at Lake Danum starts at 4:30 in the afternoon. Visitors also stop by at Sagada Pottery. Fee is P500 per ride which is good for up to 10 visitors.

The cold nights in Sagada actually spur much drinking and videoke singing. You can either have beer or the locally produced bugnay or rice wine. A 9:00 PM curfew is imposed though, and there are only a number of bars open beyond this. One such is the Sagada Pine Café, which is usually packed with booze and music-seeking foreigners and locals. This place has its hushed reputation of being a small Amsterdam in this part of the country. Go and figure out why for yourself.

Waking up in chilly mountain province mornings has been indeed a surreal joy. Watching the early bustle of women harvesting fresh vegetables and the view of faintly sunlit fog covered slopes from afar are exactly the perfect rustic vibes I have and will always long for. Each new start of the day is another beginning for the endless choices of adventures for all types of thrills.

And so one visit to this upland haven can never be enough; one definitely has to come back for more.

A registered nurse, John Ryan (or call him "Rye") Mendoza hails from Cagayan de Oro City in Mindanao (where, no, it isn't always as "bloody", as the mainstream media claims it to be, he noted). He first moved to Metro Manila in 2010 (supposedly just to finish a health social science degree), but fell in love not necessarily with the (err, smoggy) place, but it's hustle and bustle. He now divides his time in Mindanao (where he still serves under-represented Indigenous Peoples), and elsewhere (Metro Manila included) to help push for equal rights for LGBT Filipinos. And, yes, he parties, too (see, activists need not be boring! - Ed).

Technology

Discrimination on social media results in higher depression, anxiety among minority males

Men may be more affected by ethnic discrimination in social media because it is likely that they are exposed to more egregious forms of racist/discriminatory content that specifically depicts men. Consequently, this may have a stronger or longer-lasting impact, and it may also threaten their concept of masculinity and threaten their perceived social status and power.

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Photo by @nordwood from Unsplash.com

Exposure to discrimination on social media is associated with higher symptoms of depression and anxiety among young males.

This is according to a study by researchers at Florida International University’s Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work, which specifically looked at ethnic discrimination involving young Hispanic males.

Ethnic discrimination and hate speech on social media have been in the spotlight during recent discussions and demonstrations over racial and ethnic injustice, leading to boycotts of social media platforms by advertisers. A 2018 Pew Research Center survey in the US found that 73% of Hispanics reported using Facebook, which has the most users in the country.

The study – published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology – was based on surveys of 200 young Hispanic adults, ages 18-25. Half of the participants were from Miami-Dade County, Florida and half from Maricopa County, Arizona. Researchers found that, upon exposure to social media posts such as photos, memes or videos that include ethnic discrimination, users felt higher levels of depression and anxiety.

“When participants were exposed to ethnic discrimination on social media directly, or vicariously on a friend’s social media page, it was found to have adverse effects on mental health,” said Miguel Ángel Cano, lead author and principal investigator of the study and associate professor in the Department of Epidemiology at Stempel College. “A viral video or meme may not always be directed at you, but when you see someone publicly discuss your social or ethnic group in a negative or derogatory way, it, unfortunately, can have a negative impact on mental health.”

The men in the study, however, were more adversely affected than the women by increased exposure to ethnic discrimination on social media, reporting higher levels of depression and anxiety, even though both men and women had about the same amount of exposure to that type of material on social media.

“Men may be more affected by ethnic discrimination in social media because it is likely that they are exposed to more egregious forms of racist/discriminatory content that specifically depicts men,” Cano said. “Consequently, this may have a stronger or longer-lasting impact, and it may also threaten their concept of masculinity and threaten their perceived social status and power.”

Previous studies have shown that young adults experience higher symptoms of depression and anxiety when compared to adolescents and other adult age groups. When considering the high usage of social media among this age group, especially Hispanics, social media discrimination may be a factor that compounds the risk of developing poor mental health, Cano said.

The researchers determined that more studies on the topic were needed to develop culturally appropriate, evidence-based interventions for adolescents and young adults.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Why straight people love bisexual porn

There are a number of reasons why women are starting to turn towards bisexual porn for their sensual release, and roughly zero of them are because they’re harboring lesbian intentions. Instead, thanks largely to better access, and a whole lot more variety, bisexual porn is quickly making its way to the mainstream.

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Cis-gendered, straight woman are engaging with bisexual porn more than mainstream – so does this mean we all have a girl crush?

Short answer? No. Not at all. But it also doesn’t necessarily mean we all want to smash the patriarchy either. There are a number of reasons why women are starting to turn towards bisexual porn for their sensual release, and roughly zero of them are because they’re harboring lesbian intentions. Instead, thanks largely to better access, and a whole lot more variety, bisexual porn is quickly making its way to the mainstream.

Porndoe, a website dedicated to delivering our innermost desires says that it may come down to that simple fact that there are just more and better options available these days. “For decades, even in the early 2000’s, porn was essentially a ‘one size fits all’ sort of production. While there were still many smaller groups experimenting with niche porn genres, nearly all of them were incredibly male-centric. Bisexual porn often depicts men as well as women living out their sexual fantasies, which is something that mainstream pornography rarely addresses.” The makers of the adult content streaming site also say that bisexual porn generally has a “softer approach” to sensuality, but begs us to keep in mind that all porn is created differently, with different audiences in mind.

The Type of Porn You Watch Does Not Dictate Your Sexual Preference  

Another super important thing to be aware of, is that the type of porn you watch isn’t actually an allegory for your own brand of sexuality. Just because someone enjoys watching a seven-foot orc with a 10-inch tentacle strap-on take on a tiny princess, does not at all mean they’re actually interested in being tenticaled by monsters themselves. “Pornography is fantasy” Porndoe reminds us. 

There’s also the concept of “arousal non-concordance” to be considered. This concept details the fact that we as humans can recognize something as sensual and become aroused, without actually wanting to engage in those behaviors. But, just because our bits are primed and ready, doesn’t necessarily mean we are mentally aroused. Which is why things like romance novels, or even Animal Planet, can get our parts well lubed and good to go. This may explain why mainstream porn worked for a while, as it spoke to our genitals more than it spoke to our actual sensuality. Bisexual porn often speaks to our sensual minds, watching a woman be pleasured is incredibly sensual in a very heady way- as women tend to employ much more empathy to performers. This suggest that bisexual porn often appeals to women, purely because they can see a woman enjoy it, and more readily put themselves in that mindset. 

Sometimes just watching something incredibly outlandish or super taboo is enough to put our gears in motion. It doesn’t mean that we would actually want to act out those fantasies ourselves. So cis-gendered straight women engaging with bisexual porn doesn’t necessarily mean they want to bang their best friend- instead it just means that bisexuality is a fantasy that they enjoy. 

Most Bisexual Porn is Considered Ethical 

Ethical porn is often used as a buzzword in the industry- but what it means is that all of the actors are consenting and engaged with the work they do, and respected by those in the field they work with. Mainstream porn has long gotten a bad rap for being patriarchal. Often depicting women as objects to be pounded. Much like the chicken cutlets on an episode of Julia Child. 

Bisexual porn on the other hand, often showcases the needs and curiosities of a number of different performers, as opposed to just watching a busty lady get hammered for 12 minutes. The genre explores the use of sexual toys, transgendered actors, male-on-male and female-on-female sexual acts, and a number of other proclivities that other genres of porn don’t often delve into. The genre also seems to host a wider variety of body types and more realistic depictions of sex. 

Which may mean that it’s more enjoyable to a wider number of people. And as the internet goes- the more people that are interested in your product, the more often it comes up. Sexuality is something that is pretty hard to pinpoint or pigeon-hole (unless you’re into that sort of thing). Especially for women, whose sexual desire is often more complicated than men’s, bisexual porn offers them something they can genuinely get excited about while not getting called out by comically busty blondes. 

Bisexual Porn More Often Depicts Sexually Satisfied Women 

Speaking of realistic depictions, it’s also rare that you see over amplified and super fake orgasms with actors flinging their bodily fluids around the room- keeping in mind that there is bisexual porn that presents those sort of sex acts, should you be interested in them. But by and large, the genre seems to be more directly focused on genuine sexual satisfaction, and less focused on just one actor delivering that satisfaction. Bisexual and gay porn seem to be more nuanced when it comes to things like playful sex and the natural fluidity of sexuality. Which is something that many women gravitate towards, as they feel underrepresented, or unidentified by the general depictions of mainstream pornography. 

The new found prevalence of bisexual porn, and an increasingly female viewership of all porn may not be so coincidental. As we march on in our sexual awakening as a society, different types of porn are being made, and different types of people are consuming porn. Where the porn industry once catered almost entirely to a straight male viewership, our burgeoning acceptance for alternate sexualities has brought with it some really positive situations. As more people look to sites like Porndoe to get their fix, Porndoe is capable of offering more and more types of porn. As more and more different types of porn are consumed, the massive chasm between what’s available and what people actually want to watch is closing. Which means that more women are going to start watch bisexual porn. And more bisexuals may start watching straight porn, and we all might start watching hentai porn, or MILF porn, or Asian porn, or any other porn that’s available- because we finally have the variety that speaks to our most basic sensual natures. 

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Lifestyle & Culture

What is an e-cigarette vaporizer and how does it work?

If you are contemplating switching from smoking to vaping or to just vape for the first time, then you must be having a lot of questions.

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If you are contemplating switching from smoking to vaping or to just vape for the first time, then you must be having a lot of questions. Most if not all new users wonder how an e-cigarette vaporizer works and the experience that comes with it. Well, this is expected and the best way to know is to read more about vaporizers before you start.

This reduces the anxiety that comes with using a new device as well as helping you choose the best e-cigarette vaporizer for a beginner.

What is an E-Cigarette Vaporizer?

A device that is used to vape is given many names such as e-cigarette vaporizer, e-cig device, vape device, vape mod, and a lot more. An e-cigarette vaporizer is simply an electronic device with a mouthpiece, tank, and coil, which is used to vape.

Vape juice or e-juice is filled in the tank and then burned by the coil using the power from the batteries. Users draw vapor (smoke-like substance) using their mouth and inhale it into their lungs.

Since vape juice has different flavors and ingredients, the users get different experiences such as sweet, sour, citrus, creamy, heavy throat hit, and smooth experience, among others.

Buying an E-Cigarette Vaporizer Starter Kit

Now that you know what an e-cigarette vaporizer is, it is time to tell you what to buy and how to buy it. If you visit popular vape websites and shops, you will find many starter kits with different features. You have the option of choosing simple e-cigarettes or sophisticated vape mods with incredible features.

  • Epuffer Snaps Rev4 e-cigarette starter kit – If you want to keep it simple and straight to the point, this is a great starting point. The pack comes with a screwless e-cig, charging kits, and a patented magnetic activation, among other technologies. Get more details about this e-cigarette vaporizer on the manufacturer’s website today.
  • Twelve Juno – Apart from e-cig pens, there are various JUULs for beginners that come with simple technology and refillable pods. You need to know how to safely refill a pod to avoid leaks and any bad experiences. JUULs are popular among youths and beginners.
  • VooPoo Platinum Drag Mini – This is in the category of vape mods, which are usually sophisticated. Although many are large fancy box vaporizers, this one is minimalistic. It has a cool 117W, a big tank, and numerous features.

What Starters Should Know About E-Cigarette Vaporizers

These devices deserve the ultimate care to give an amazing experience and last long. Cleaning is part of the care and also changing coils when they are worn out. Always use the recommended vape juice, if there are such instructions. Lastly, keep your new device inside the pouch and store it in a cool dry place when it is not in use. If it is handled with care during use, you can rest assured that your first experience with an e-cigarette vaporizer will be good.

Sometimes, vaping newbies start on the wrong foot and this might change how they view the entire process. The above insights are crucial for all amateurs in vaping since they know more about vaporizers now.

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Lifestyle & Culture

6 Ways to gain control over your mental health

The mind is a powerful thing. It dictates how you live your life in every second of the day. Ergo, a suffering mind is likely to bring about misfortune if not properly treated. If you notice problems in your life that you control, take the time to consider each one.

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Photo by Camila Quintero Franco from Unsplash.com

Gaining control over your own mental health is a vitally important task. Unfortunately, it’s also an extremely difficult one. This is because mental problems are less cut and dry than physical ones, and thus are harder to fix. Therefore, devoting time to analyzing your mental state is imperative. Such an undertaking is, however, confusing for many.

So, here are six ways to start gaining control over your mental health.

1. Calm Your Mind

A cluttered mind isn’t exactly conducive to progress regarding your mental health. In order to understand any issues and solve them, you need to calm your thoughts. This can be a difficult task, particularly for those that have busy schedules. However, it’s vital to at least attempt. You can start off with exercises like meditation. These practices take you away from physical concerns and focus on the spiritual ones. If you’re finding this task near impossible, you might try natural remedies like CBD oils.

2. Picture Your Goals

It’s hard to achieve anything if you don’t know what the achievement will be. Therefore, it’s prudent to make goals for yourself. Since you’re dealing with mental health, this could be a wide variety of things. Try to make each one connected to your personal problems. For instance, someone dealing with depression-based insomnia should have a goal of getting sleep. Keep in mind that a more detailed goal will be easier to reach.

3. Reexamine Your Preconceptions

One of the main ways mental problems persist is that people hold onto preconceptions. You may hold beliefs about how your life should be lived that have become debilitating. For instance, you might not go to a dance class because you believe it would hurt your pride. But if you don’t go, you may be missing a chance to interact with others and exercise. In a more dire sense, your preconceptions could result in the belief that you should stay depressed. Make time for analyzing your thought process and unraveling your limiting beliefs.

4. Know Your Rights

This step may sound a bit like being arrested, but it refers to the inalienable rights of life. Knowing these rights can protect you from those that might attempt to take some away. If anyone tries to manipulate your behavior, recognizing the signs and acknowledging that it’s wrong can save you from being controlled. In a general sense, you have the right to act freely without hurting anyone else. If you’re angry, you can be angry. If you want answers, you’re allowed to ask questions. Most importantly, if you don’t want something, you’re allowed to say no.

5. Analyze Your Actions

If you’re unsure as to where your mental problems lie, as well as how to solve said problems, it’s prudent to analyze your actions. Think about what events trigger you. Consider how you react to these triggers and what effects these actions bring. If you discover that certain actions tend to damage your mental state, try to begin changing your behavior.

6. Make a Plan

In order to move forward efficiently, you’ll need to make a concrete plan. Otherwise, you’ll be blindly groping for your end goal. It may be helpful during this process to speak with someone else. A second party, whether it’s a therapist or a friend, can give you an outside perspective. This may provide a better idea of what you need to do next. Once you receive this information, transform into regular tasks. By following a specific schedule, you can make better use of your time and energy.

The mind is a powerful thing. It dictates how you live your life in every second of the day. Ergo, a suffering mind is likely to bring about misfortune if not properly treated. If you notice problems in your life that you control, take the time to consider each one. See a therapist if you need professional help. Whatever you do, don’t blame yourself for the thoughts that these problems bring. You can only judge yourself for your actions. As long as you fight to do what’s right, you are the hero in your own story. Believe in yourself and protect your mental wellbeing.

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Health & Wellness

Loneliness in youth could impact mental health over the long term

Loneliness is associated with mental health problems, including depression and anxiety-potentially affecting them years later.

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Photo by Cristian Palmer from Unsplash.com

The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated widespread social isolation, affecting all ages of global society. A new rapid review in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP), published by Elsevier, reports on the available evidence about children and young people specifically, stating that loneliness is associated with mental health problems, including depression and anxiety-potentially affecting them years later.

The review, which synthesizes over 60 pre-existing, peer-reviewed studies on topics spanning isolation, loneliness and mental health for young people aged between 4 and 21 years of age, found extensive evidence of an association between loneliness and an increased risk of mental health problems for children and young people.

“As school closures continue, indoor play facilities remain closed and at best, young people can meet outdoors in small groups only, chances are that many are lonely (and continue to be so over time),” said lead author, Maria Loades, DClinPsy, Senior Lecturer in Clinical Psychology at the University of Bath, UK.

“This rapid review of what is known about loneliness and its impact on mental health in children and young people found that loneliness is associated with both depression and anxiety. This occurs when studies measured both loneliness and mental health at the same point in time; when loneliness was measured separately; and when depression and anxiety were measured subsequently, up to 9 years later,” Dr. Loades added. “Of relevance to the COVID-19 context, we found some evidence that it is the duration of loneliness that is more strongly associated with later mental health problems.”

From the selected studies there was evidence that children and young people who are lonely might be as much as three times more likely to develop depression in the future, and that the impact of loneliness on mental health outcomes like depressive symptoms could last for years. There was also evidence that the duration of loneliness may be more important, than the intensity of loneliness, in increasing the risk of future depression among young people.

For many young people, loneliness will decrease as they re-establish social contacts and connections as lockdown eases (e.g., as they return to school or college). For some a sense of loneliness may persist as they struggle to resume social life, particularly for those who were more vulnerable to being socially isolated before lockdown.

“It’s key that children and young people are allowed to return to activities such as playing together, even if outdoors, as soon as possible, and that they are able to resume attending school, which gives them a structure for their day, and provides them with opportunities to see peers and to get support from adults outside of the nuclear family,” said Dr. Loades. Furthermore, she added “children need more in their strategy for easing lockdown. Alongside this, the government could target children’s wellbeing in public health messaging. And meanwhile, we should also continue to embrace technology as a way to keep in touch.”

So whilst we do what we can to mitigate the effects of loneliness and re-establish social connections, we also need to prepare for an increase in mental health problems, in part due to loneliness, and also due to the other unintended consequences of lockdown, such as a lack of structure, physical inactivity and social and/separation anxiety that might be triggered when resuming social interactions outside of the home.

There are several levels at which we can prepare for the heightened demand:

  • Take a universal approach to promoting wellbeing through public messaging, and by schools doing activities to promote wellbeing in children and young people as they resume normal activities.
  • Seek to identify those who are struggling with loneliness as early as possible and do so by targeted interventions to help them overcome their struggles. This may be through the provision of extra support in schools, helping them overcome anxieties about returning to school, or giving them an extra hand with reconnecting socially with peers.

For those who continue to struggle over time, and can’t get back to doing the things they normally do as a result of their struggles, we need to ensure that they are made aware that services are open, and can provide specialist help, and to make sure that they know how to access this help and are supported to do so.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Hassle-free ways to look for an apartment in Washington, DC

If you are considering moving to DC but are worried about the struggle of finding a suitable apartment, we are here to provide you with hassle-free ways to look for an apartment.

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Washington, DC is a very versatile city; the wide array of activities it offers makes it an interesting place to live for just about anyone. Named after George Washington, the first US president, Washington, DC is rich in history and culture. In addition to the many attractions and activities it hosts, different sports events are held there every season and there are numerous routes that bikers and hikers can enjoy, so it’s a great location for fitness and sports enthusiasts alike. Moreover, countless great job opportunities and educational institutes can be found there.

If you are considering moving to DC but are worried about the struggle of finding a suitable apartment, we are here to provide you with hassle-free ways to look for an apartment. 

Determine Your Criteria

When searching for an apartment, you need to be aware of what exactly you are searching for. You need to think about the features you need to have in an apartment and the amenities that you would like to have. You also need to prioritize them, because the chances are that you will not be able to find everything that you are looking for in one place. Thinking about the costs and budget is also a must. When setting a budget, the cost of rental or ownership of the house is not the only thing to keep in mind; you should consider the transportation expenses and the cost of living. Whether you would like your apartment furnished or not is also something that you should weigh out. This will make your search more specific, and the elimination process much easier. 

Do Your Research

Before you start hunting for an apartment, you should do your research. The Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, and Southwest are DC’s four quadrants. Each one of them is loaded with diverse neighborhoods that offer different amenities and vibes. Browse the most famous neighborhoods and consider the ones that are closest to your budget and preferences. Afterward, you need to look at different apartments to get as many options as possible, and not limit your choice to two or three apartments. Browse the internet for apartments for rent or sale in your preferred areas. Reviews suggest that DARO Apartments in Washington DC are a must see, as they offer numerous facilities and options. To properly select your neighborhood, you need to actually go and visit your most preferred ones so that you can decide which one is the best fit for your lifestyle. 

Prepare Paperwork

Most people put their paperwork off until they have found an apartment that checks all the boxes. However, this is not the correct thing to do. Besides speeding up the application and review process, having your paperwork ready in advance, and having it with you when you go see a place, will definitely set you as a priority. Many people go to apartment showings, though, not all of them are ready to make it their own on the spot. If you are the only one prepared, it is highly plausible that you will be the one who gets the place. It will also prevent other people from renting or buying the place before you do.

There are many reasons why one might consider moving to Washington, DC. However, the hassle of finding an apartment in the busy capital can be discouraging. This is why we have put together this guide to hopefully help you find an apartment easily. Make sure you conduct thorough research, narrow down your options based on your requirements and budget, and always have your paperwork ready in advance. 

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