Tips on minding your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak
This is a stressful time for everyone, from people who feel vulnerable to the virus, young students in exam year, parents, employees, employers and self-employed.
The HSE acknowledge this and have provided some tips to help you keep worrisome thoughts at bay.
Try to remember that medical, scientific and public health experts are working hard to contain the virus. 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:
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
How to mind your mental health during this time
Keeping a realistic perspective of the situation based on facts is important. Here are some ways you can do this.
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.
2. Keep up your healthy routines
Your routine may be affected by the coronavirus 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:
exercise regularly, especially walking - you can do this even if you need to self-quarantine
keep regular sleep routines
maintain a healthy, balanced diet
avoid excess alcohol
practice relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises
read a book
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.
E-mail, social media, video calls or phone calls can help you to stay social during this time.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Online and phone supports
Face-to-face interaction may be limited during this period. There are many online mental health resources and phone services that can help.
Free call Samaritans on 116 123