The spread of Covid-19 is a new and challenging event. Everyone's lives and daily routines are affected by the measures that have been introduced to disrupt the spread of the virus and keep us all safe. It is normal to be worried or to feel stressed during this difficult time, but there are many things we can do to help us mind our mental health and wellbeing.
A Government campaign, called In This Together, which aims to help the public stay physically fit and mentally fit, was launched by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, Health Minister Simon Harris and Children's Minister Katherine Zappone on Friday, April 24.
The campaign aims to help everyone in Ireland to Stay Connected, Stay Active, and look after their Mental Health throughout the Covid-19 Emergency.
Paddy Mahon, Chief Executive of Longford County Council, explained, “We are very aware that Covid-19 has multiple consequences in the short, medium and long term.
“At the core of the crisis is individual, community and national wellbeing, the immediate physical health and wellbeing of our people being the primary and urgent concern. Wellbeing in a more general sense will come into focus as the crisis evolves and its consequences become apparent.”
The Campaign encourages everyone to set a new daily activity, which helps them to feel a little healthier or a little happier as we deal with Covid-19.
It signposts useful advice to help people of every age group to cope with the ongoing restrictions, whether they are looking after children, dealing with self-isolation, preparing for the Leaving Cert, or coping with cabin fever.
Paddy Mahon, as Chair of the COVID-19 Longford Community Response Forum, said, “The Covid-19 Longford Community Response Forum members will work together to develop initiatives to support the In This Together campaign by way of local activation under three main themes: Stay Connected; Stay Active; Mental Health.
“The focus will be on helping people maintain physical and mental wellbeing, eat and exercise properly, cope with existing disabilities and illnesses, alleviate stress and cope with anxiety arising from the direct and indirect effects of Covid- 19.”
Barbara Heslin, Director of Services, said “In This Together draws together a huge range of activities that you can pursue in your home or your locality, by yourself or with family members or with friends online.
“There are ideas and activities for people of all ages with lots of advice and tips on how you can look after your mental wellbeing, stay active and stay connected.
“Longford County Council is already offering a wide range of activities and resources which will support In This Together.”
Just some highlights include:
- Stay Connected - access the Library’s free online resources including eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines, eNewspapers and online learning and language courses.
- Buddy Network – building a network to encourage older people to stay in touch with each other, for a chat, through regular phone contact.
- Community Connect – Civil Defence deliver books and food parcels and visit vulnerable people to check they are okay
- Spring into Storytime – celebrate the importance of families reading together and sharing stories as Library staff narrate your favourite books online.
- Active at Home – create your own gym using everyday items, set weekly routines, challenges and targets while focusing on fun activities.
- Explore your Garden – ideas for young and old including flower arranging, container gardens and meeting the little creatures who live there.
- Sports Ambassadors –ideas to keep active, fit and healthy for all ages and abilities from local sports clubs and individuals.
- Active Home Week – encouraging children and young people to take up the challenge to build physical activity in to their day.
- Building Resilience – advice from a local psychologist on building resilience, minding your mental health and coping with isolation.
- Love your Home Photography Competition for Cocooners - encouraging people to be creative while staying within 2km of where they live.
- Household Hero – children create their own mythical pandemic character together with an online scrapbook recording their experiences during Covid-19.
- Healthy Eating – rediscover a love of cooking, try out new recipes, share your favourite recipes and get hints and tips on healthy eating from the experts.
Cllr Gerard Farrell, Cathaoirleach of Longford County Council, complimented the work of the Local Authority, Forum members, the resources centres, businesses, individuals and many community, voluntary, religious and sporting organisations who are actively involved in the community support effort throughout Longford.
He said, “By working together, staying connected, building resilience and being active we will meet the challenges presented by COVID-19 and make it through together.”
Wellbeing initiatives right across Government are being collated and that information can be easily found on www.gov.ie/en/campaigns.
Longford County Council will post regular updates on our website longfordcoco.ie and through social media.
Paddy Mahon said, “It is the Council’s mission to work with our communities and partners to develop Longford as a dynamic, vibrant, safe and prosperous county, celebrating its diversity, culture and heritage and, through strong leadership, build safe, healthy and sustainable communities.
“We will continue to connect with our people and place during these very challenging times to create opportunities and initiatives to address physical and mental wellbeing issues within our communities.”
Gerard Farrell concluded by saying “These are unprecedented times. However, we are all in this together and the Council is here to help and support citizens and communities.
“In partnership with all the other organisations and agencies involved in the Covid-19 Longford Community Response Forum, we will continue to work together to promote personal and collective wellbeing and resilience by keeping our population active, healthy, informed and socially engaged as the crisis develops and evolves.”