Minding your Mental Health during a time of Pandemic

During a time of pandemic so much of what we know changes, our work life is different, our family life is different, our social life is different, many things we took for granted are suddenly presenting new challenges for us all. These changes can affect our Mental Health and Wellbeing.

It is important that we acknowledge that things are different and challenging, it is also important that we are gentle on ourselves and to be open to the needs of others who may be struggling. Take time to relax, to rest, to exercise, to pray and reflect and to nourish our bodies by eating as well as you can.

It is OK not to feel OK.

We all need to play our part to keep everyone’s spirits up. We can and we will get through this but we need to stand together.

Below is some advice from the HSE website regarding mental health

How it might affect your mental health

The spread of COVID-19 is a new and challenging event. Some people might find it more worrying than others. Medical, scientific and public health experts are working hard to contain the virus. Try to remember this when you feel worried.

Most people’s lives will change in some way over a period of days, weeks or months. But in time, it will pass.

You may notice some of the following:

  • increased anxiety
  • feeling stressed
  • finding yourself excessively checking for symptoms, in yourself, or others
  • becoming irritable more easily
  • feeling insecure or unsettled
  • fearing that normal aches and pains might be the virus
  • having trouble sleeping
  • feeling helpless or a lack of control
  • having irrational thoughts

Stay informed but set limits for news and social media

The constant stream of social media updates and news reports about COVID-19 could cause you to feel worried. Sometimes it can be difficult to separate facts from rumours. Use trustworthy and reliable sources to get your news.

On social media, people may talk about their own worries or beliefs. You don’t need to make them your own. Too much time on social media may increase your worry and levels of anxiety. Consider limiting how much time you spend on social media.

Keep up your healthy routines

Your routine may be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak in different ways. But during difficult times like this, it’s best if you can keep some structure in your day.

It’s important to pay attention to your needs and feelings, especially during times of stress. You may still be able to do some of the things you enjoy and find relaxing.

For example, you could try to:

Stay connected to others

During times of stress, friends and families can be a good source of support. It is important to keep in touch with them and other people in your life.

If you need to restrict your movements or self-isolate, try to stay connected to people in other ways, for example:

  • e-mail
  • social media
  • video calls
  • phone calls
  • text messages

Many video calling apps allow you to have video calls with multiple people at the same time.

Remember that talking things through with someone can help lessen worry or anxiety. You don’t have to appear to be strong or to try to cope with things by yourself.

How you can mind younger people’s mental health

Continue to talk about what is going on but remember you might feel anxious at this time too. Children and teenagers will often take a lead from adults.

Stay calm and manage your own anxieties first. You’re not alone and you can check out support and information services for advice.

Explain that it’s normal to feel anxious about COVID-19. But reassure younger people that it is less common and severe in children. Remind them there are things they can do to stay safe.

Connect

Make time for younger people to check in with friends and family they may be worried about. They can do this by phone or video call, so they can see they are okay.

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