Seven months into a very different world, our mental health has never mattered more as we head into winter amid level five Covid-19 restrictions.
According to the Adjusting to Covid-19 study by Dublin City University’s School of Psychology, Irish people have suffered significantly greater mental health issues during the pandemic, with increasing levels of loneliness and social isolation, less tolerance of uncertainty, and lower perceived control over their lives.
Perspectives Ireland has the following advice for Irish people to help them stay as well as possible at this difficult time.
• Try to go outside for at least 30 minutes every day. Notice how the ground feels under your feet, the smells, how the air feels on your face, notice your thoughts (whether you are drawn to thinking about the kids, or work ), notice how you may feel, and try to own all of this experience, including any guilt you may have for taking this time to yourself. Notice how you can have all of these experiences (good or bad ) and still make time for you.
• If you cannot go outside, make a space in your home for you where you are physically away from the overwhelming details of routine. Try to use this space to re-ground yourself away from all those details. Remember this is not about distracting yourself from the details, it is about giving yourself permission to make this space for you and trying to own every aspect of it.
• If you cannot physically make a space in your home, then at least make time for you – have a bath, or have a cup of coffee, read a book – take some time for yourself.
• Take an extra five to 10 minutes each day to write down any part of your experience today that was affected by coronavirus or its restrictions, and ask yourself if it was difficult for you, and how it might be possible to compensate for anything that was difficult or was taken away from you.
Perspectives Ireland is running a free webinar to discuss these issues and advise people how we can value ourselves more in these difficult times. For more information, visit www.perspectivesireland.ie