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Mental Health and Wellbeing
Many of us are feeling overwhelmed and fearful due to the outbreak of Covid 19 and those of us who have experienced a mental health problem in the past may be feeling particularly vulnerable. Such feelings are a normal response to a crisis and it’s important that they are acknowledged. Irish in Britain has compiled a list of steps that you can take to help support your mental health and wellbeing during this challenging time.
We have also launched out Mental Health and Wellbeing Charter, read about it here.
MANAGE YOUR INFORMATION INTAKE:
While it is important to stay informed and have access to accurate and timely information, the constant stream of worrying news reports can worsen feelings of anxiety and depression. Here are some suggestions to help you manage your information intake:
Things may be changing rapidly, but that doesn’t mean you need to know every update immediately. Choose one or two time slots to check news updates to limit exposure to potential triggers for mental ill health.
Keeping a realistic perspective of the situation based on facts is important. People on social media may talk emotively about their own worries, beliefs or negative experiences. Consider limiting the amount of time you spend on social media to minimise your exposure to potential triggers.
If you’re advised to limit your social contact to contain coronavirus, you can try to stay connected to people in other ways. E–mail, social media, video calls or phone calls can help you to stay social during this time. Although Covid 19 is at the forefront of our minds at the moment, consider limiting the amount of time you spend dwelling on it in conversations with others.
BE AWARE OF YOUR BASIC NEEDS
It’s not uncommon during stressful times to compromise on the basics, such as our sleep, nutrition and exercise, but these basics are the foundations to our health, wellbeing and resilience.
Sleep – sleep is critical for optimal physical and mental health. If you’re struggling to sleep, the NHS has some tips to help.
Nutrition – our food choices can affect our mood and energy on a given day and they can dramatically impact out mental health in the long term. Find out more here.
Exercise – the benefits of exercise/physical activity for our mental health and wellbeing have been extensively researched. There are many ways to incorporate physical activity into your day even if you are confined to your home, even housework can count towards your exercise! There are hundreds of free home–based exercise videos available online.
Mindfulness Meditation – a regular mindfulness meditation practice can help us calm our nervous system and lower our body’s stress response. Find out more here.
Stick to your regular routine – We are creatures of habit and a routine helps us feel safe giving us some level of predictability and a sense of comfort. Aim to stick to your routine where possible, such as getting up and going to bed at the same times as usual and eating your meals at regular times.
If your circumstances mean that you have a lot of free time on your hands consider doing an online course, there are many free courses and free eBooks available online. As well as learning something new, it will help focus your attention on something unrelated to the outbreak.
Irish in Britain is delighted that Conor Stone from Enterprise Ireland joined Marie Dillon, Irish in Britain’s Health and Wellbeing Officer, for a podcast to share his mental health journey.
This is a particularity challenging time for us all, and perhaps more so for those who’ve experienced anxiety or depression in the past. Conor talks openly about his personal mental health journey, his road to recovery and how he’s dealing with the current challenges.
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.