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Leading Irish psychologists share four tips for minding your mental health during Level 5

By Rory Cashin

October 27, 2020 at 10:20am

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Because we all need that extra little bit of self care during the Level 5 restrictions.

When you are told you need to stay away from your friends and family, when you are told you can't go to the gym or the pub or the cinema, when the weather has turned colder and the days have become shorter... it is easy for your mental health to take a bit of a hit.

It does require a bit of proactivity on your part to help deal with this situation, but there are a handful of very easy ways to help lighten the emotional load.

Dr Yvonne Barnes-Holmes and Dr. Ciara Mc Enteggart from consulting psychology company Perspectives Ireland shared their top tips on how to take care of your mental health during these weeks of highest level restrictions:

One - Try to go outside for at least 30 minutes every day. Notice how the ground feels under your feet, the smells, how the air feels on your face, notice your thoughts (whether you’re drawn to thinking about the kids, or work), notice how you may feel, and try to own all of this experience, including any guilt you may have for taking this time to yourself. Notice how you can have all of these experiences (good or bad) and still make time for you.

Two - If you can’t go outside, make a space in your home for you where you are physically away from the overwhelming details of routine. Try to use this space to re-ground yourself away from all those details. Remember this is not about distracting from the details, it’s about giving yourself permission to make this space for you and trying to own every aspect of it.

Three - If you can’t physically make a space in your home, then at least make time for you – have a bath, or have a cup of coffee, read a book - take some time for yourself.

Four - Take an extra 5-10 minutes each day to write down any part of your experience today that was affected by coronavirus or its restrictions and ask yourself was that difficult for you and how might it be possible to compensate for anything that was difficult or was taken away from you.

The folks at Perspectives Ireland are running a free webinar this week for anyone who might be in need of mental health assistance, especially in terms of putting more value and giving more time to yourself, and you can find all the details on the webinar right here.

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