Nicola Morley, Mental Health Ireland Development Officer for Galway City and County discusses Mental Health & Wellbeing on Galway Talks
Over the last four months, our lives have been completely rearranged and the world has changed. Never have we been more conscious about coughing, sneezing, and washing our hands. Social distancing, staying at home, lock-down and cocooning are now part of our everyday reality. Listen back here to what Nicola Morley had to say:
The public health measures that have been implemented to control the spread of the virus will have affected us all in some shape or form and whilst we are all in this together, the impacts of these will be very different depending on each person’s circumstances. Some will have lost their jobs, some will have lost the opportunity to do school exams as planned, some will be working from home and trying to juggle work and family commitment in the same space and some may be feeling very lonely and isolated at this time. There may even be some for whom this time might be an opportunity to step off the time-poor ‘hamster wheel of life’ and just be still and recharge for a while. This is just a tiny example of the kinds of situations people are dealing with right now it’s a reminder that although “we may not all be in the same boat, we are going through the same storm” (Bono, 8th May 2020, The Ryan Tubridy Show- RTE1)
As the country begins to open up again, we may all be in different lanes in terms of the speed at which we re-emerge and our feelings around this. Some of us will be excited at the thoughts of being able to engage in the everyday activities that we used to enjoy and possibly did not realise their significance until we could no longer do them. By the same token some of us may feel anxious, concerned, and feel that things are moving too fast.
Whether it’s getting back to work, making a much needed, (yes needed!) visit to the hairdresser, eating out, meeting friends and family, going to the dentist for a check-up, or buying clothes offline –we will all have different areas of priority when it comes to getting back out into society and creating our ‘new normal’. These are just a handful of examples of the simple activities that used to form part of our routine; they made up the tapestry of our everyday lives. The reality is though, that none of these activities will look or feel the same as they did pre-covid.
There is so much uncertainty surrounding what we are going through right now and that in itself can be very unsettling and stressful. And while there is no magic formula to fix this, there are some things we can do to help ourselves and our families that can make all this feel a bit more manageable. Like most things in life, if we plan and be specific about what we are going to do and when we are going to do it, we have a better chance that it will actually happen, so put aside some time to reflect on your daily routine at the moment and look for opportunities to fit in activities that nourish your wellbeing, and perhaps let go of some the things that don’t.
When faced with a challenging situation like this, it can be helpful to identify the things we can control, identify the things we can’t control but may be able to influence, and to try to accept the things we have no control or influence over and adapt to these. For example, we can’t control what other people do but we CAN ensure we adhere to the guidelines.
We may also need to give ourselves time to reflect on what we have gone through and connect with our feelings about this and the changes that are taking place. If we can tune into our needs and find a healthy way to nourish them, we will be better able to deal with the changes we are going through. Accepting the uncertainty of what lies ahead of us and just taking things one day, one hour and even one moment at a time, will help us feel less overwhelmed.
In terms of our maintaining and protecting our mental health and wellbeing, Mental Health Ireland is encouraging people to take the time to build in the five ways to wellbeing into their daily routine.
So Be kind to yourself and to those around you, we will need to be patient and together we will come through this challenging time.
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