Tips for minding your mental health during the Covid-19 pandemic

Sarah Barr.Sarah Barr.
Sarah Barr.
Across the world, everyone is taking steps to manage and safeguard their physical health during the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, it is also vitally important to mind our mental health, during this time of worry and uncertainty.

The Journal spoke to local therapist Sarah Barr, who provided some tips on how you can help manage your mental health at this time.

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She said: “Living through this pandemic, coping with isolation whilst managing our mental health is undoubtedly a challenge. It is completely normal to be feeling overwhelmed and worried during this time. We may also experience feelings of anxiety, powerlessness, fear, irritability and depression. However there are steps you can take to care for and manage your well-being.

1. Take a break from news and social media.

If the media coverage is overwhelming and heightening your anxiety, it may be useful to allocate set times throughout the day to catch up on news and updates. Too much time on social media, googling things and excessive exposure to media coverage may increase your anxiety.

This is an unsettling time for us, therefore it's important to remember the facts and only listen to or follow reliable news sources.

2. Self-Care.

Our basic self-care needs include, taking deep breaths, exercising, eating healthily, staying hydrated and getting enough sleep.

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However we can further care for our well-being by creating an evening unwind session. Take 20-40 minutes in the evening to reflect and relax.

This can include reading, taking a bath, listening to music or practicing a guided breathing exercise on YouTube.

3. Maintain connections.

Even though we are further apart physically through social-distancing, this does not mean we need to lose our connections with family and friends. It is so important to keep in touch. Call, Skype, video call, message, text or email. It will help you and help them. We all need to check-in with each other, to talk about our fears and worries, to reassure and offer each other support.

4. Routine.

Routine is key in helping us to care for our mental health and well-being. The lack of it can have a huge impact on thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Create a new routine, get up every morning at the same time, get washed and dressed. Even though you are at home and staying in a lot, it us important for your wellness. Sleep and diet are both also so important for your immune system, so stick to a good routine and make sure that you are getting enough sleep and eating well.

5. Lower your expectations.

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It is okay if you're not on top of home schooling, or if you haven’t learned a new skill or spring cleaned your home.

Experiencing difficulty in concentrating and low motivation are to be expected. Adaptation will take time. So please go easy on yourself. Try not to compare to others on social media or in WhatsApp groups. What is important right now, is to go easy on yourself and to lower your expectations.

6. Stay in the present.

Take each day as it comes and focus on the things you can control. Mindfulness and meditation are great tools to help you do this.

Remind yourself this is temporary and focus on what you can control.

7. Reach out.

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If you have a pre-existing mental health condition and you have an appointment with your therapist or doctor, please keep them.

If you need help or support right now, it is available.

New Beginnings is a privately run practice and offers counselling sessions via a video/phone

call. Sarah can be contacted by email [email protected] , phone (00353) 86 4477868 or her my Facebook page New Beginnings.

Below are national support lines you can call for support:

24/7 Suicide Helpline: 1800 247 247

Aware Support Line: 1800 80 48 48

Pieta House: 1800 247 247

Samaritans: 116 123


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