HOW YOUR MENTAL HEALTH MIGHT BE AFFECTED
The spread of coronavirus is a new and challenging event. Most people’s lives will change in some way over a period. For some of you, this may cause increased stress. But remember: medical, scientific and public health experts are working hard to contain the virus. Try also to remember that in time, it will pass.
Keep a realistic perspective of the situation based on facts, take care of yourself and those around you.
Ireland’s Health Services have developed some tips on how to best mind your mental health (see below):
1. Stay informed but set limits
for news and social media
The constant stream of social media updates and news reports about coronavirus 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.
If you find the coverage on coronavirus is too intense for you, talk it through with someone close or get support.
2. Keep up your healthy routines!
- exercise regularly
- keep regular sleep routines
- maintain a healthy, balanced diet
- avoid excess alcohol
- practice relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises
- read a book
- search for online exercise or yoga classes, concerts, religious services or guided tours
- improve your mood by doing something creative
3. 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:
- 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.
4. Talking to children and young people
Involving your children in your plans to manage this situation is important. Try to consider how they might be feeling.
Give children and young people the time and space to talk about the outbreak. Share the facts with them in a way that suits their age and temperament, without causing alarm.
Talk to your children about coronavirus but try to limit their exposure to news and social media. This is especially important for older children who may be spending more time online now. It may be causing anxiety.
5. Try to anticipate distress and support each other
It is understandable to feel vulnerable or overwhelmed reading or hearing news about the outbreak.
Acknowledge these feelings. Remind yourself and others to look after your physical and mental health. If you smoke or drink, try to avoid doing this any more than usual. It won’t help in the long-term.
6. Don’t make assumptions
Don’t judge people or make assumptions about who is responsible for the spread of the disease. The coronavirus can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, nationality or ethnicity. We are all in this together.