This is a time of unknowns and uncertainties and it’s normal to be feeling overwhelmed or anxious right now. If you are concerned about your own or someone else’s wellbeing you can contact the ISA team who can provide you with confidential support and referrals.
Remember that little things can have big impacts on our response to stress and or ability to adapt to changes. We can’t control what is going on in the world right now, but we can control our own response to it by taking some simple steps to maintaining our mental health and wellbeing.
Below are six tips to get you started:
1. Be selective of your information sources
There is a lot of conflicting information in the media about COVID-19 and it can be difficult to determine fact from myth. It is good to be informed but avoid overwhelming yourself with constant updates. Checking the reliable websites below once per day is enough to stay informed.
2. Control the scroll
It is hard distract yourself from COVID-19 when your social media feed is a minefield of mis-information and anxiety inducing ‘what ifs?’. On the other hand, you may fall into the comparison trap, feeling bad about yourself because you have’t quite nailed the WFH schedule or home based workout. As author Bryann Andreá put it “This is a pandemic. Not a productivity contest.”, so go easy on yourself.
Take a break from social media and the news when you need to. Follow accounts sharing the good news stories and tips on how to feel more connected . Consider taking a break from those that make you feel anxious or down on yourself.
3. Show compassion to yourself and others
Everyone is experiencing their own struggles and fears so it’s important that we show compassion and kindness to those around us. Check in on your elderly neighour, smile at the supermarket assistant and call your loved ones at home. Most importantly check in with yourself and ask yourself how you are feeling.
4. Stay active
Gyms may be closed but that doesn’t stop you staying active. There are lots of home workouts you can try out without the need for equipment. Search for free workouts online and remember you can still go for a walk or run in the fresh air unless you have been advised to isolate. Try to get some activity in each day and you will notice the benefits for both body and mind.
5. Practice mindfulness
‘If you can’t go outside, go inside’. Practising mindfulness has loads of health benefits and is a great way to manage COVID-19 stress. It doesn’t mean you have to sit in the lotus position for hours on end. You can be mindful in loads of ways without actually meditating. Try out an online yoga session, start journaling or if you want to give mindfulness a go try out a free meditation app.
6. Stay connected
Social distancing may sound scary but it does not mean social isolation. In fact some experts argue that 'physical distancing with social connection’ is more helpful language. Studies suggests that social connection is one of the best things you can do to boost wellbeing. Call your family, arrange virtual coffee dates with friends and check in on those who may be feeling lonely.
Remember, it is ok not to be ok
If you are feeling overwhelmed and in need of support reach out for help:
Lifeline 13 11 14 (if you are in crisis)
Speak to your GP (telehealth sessions are widely available)
Helplink Mental Health - Irish Abroad Online Counselling Service
Contact us for support, referrals and information about access to services.
For further information and advice on managing your wellbeing check out these useful resources below: