Minding your mental health amid the coronavirus crisis

By June Shannon Coronavirus News   |   3rd Apr 2020

During this difficult time, it’s important to continue looking after your physical and mental health.

The coronavirus crisis has utterly changed everything for everybody. But remember that this too will pass.

It can be difficult to remain calm and not feel overwhelmed at a time of unprecedented crisis, especially when the advice is to stay at home or you are forced to cocoon for your own protection due to a medical condition.

We miss our extended family members, older parents, adult children, grandchildren, friends and work colleagues.

Thousands of people have lost their jobs and are facing the added stress of real financial hardship.

Others are struggling to work from home while also care for young children or elderly parents; its an inordinate amount to be demanding of ourselves at a time when we are also worrying about our health and the health of our loved ones.

“Most people’s lives will change in some way over a period of days, weeks or months. But in time, it will pass,”

HSE

Remember it is normal to feel anxious, stressed, sad, confused, scared or angry during a time of crisis. Be kind to yourself.

On its website the HSE advises that the spread of coronavirus is a new and challenging event. “Some people might find it more worrying than others. 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,” the Executive added.

The HSE outlined some of the feelings we may notice during these times. They include, increased anxiety, feeling stressed, 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 and or having irrational thoughts.

The HSE has a very informative section on its website on ways to mind your mental health during the coronavirus which includes details of a number of mental health support services you can access online or over the phone.

“During this difficult time, it’s important to continue looking after your physical and mental health. This will not only help you in the long-term, it will also help you fight COVID-19 if you get it.”

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, World Health Organisation

Speaking to the media recently the Director General of the World Health Organistaion Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “During this difficult time, it’s important to continue looking after your physical and mental health. This will not only help you in the long-term, it will also help you fight COVID-19 if you get it.”

He advised eating a healthy and nutritious diet, which helps your immune system to function properly, limiting alcohol consumption and avoiding sugary drinks.

Dr Tedros also advised people not to smoke as smoking can increase your risk of developing severe disease if you become infected with COVID-19.

He also said that the WHO recommends 30 minutes of physical activity a day for adults, and one hour for children.

“If your local or national guidelines allow it, go outside for a walk, a run or a ride, and keep a safe distance from others. If you can’t leave the house, find an exercise video online, dance to music, do some yoga, or walk up and down the stairs.

If you’re working from home, make sure you don’t sit in the same position for long periods. Get up and take a 3-minute break every 30 minutes.”

“COVID-19 is taking so much from us. But it’s also giving us something special – the opportunity to come together as one humanity – to work together, to learn together, to grow together,”

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General, World Health Organisation

Finally he advised people to look after their mental health

“It’s normal to feel stressed, confused and scared during a crisis. Talking to people you know and trust can help. Supporting other people in your community can help you as much as it does them. Check in on neighbours, family and friends. Compassion is a medicine. Listen to music, read a book or play a game. And try not to read or watch too much news if it makes you anxious. Get your information from reliable sources once or twice a day.”

“COVID-19 is taking so much from us. But it’s also giving us something special – the opportunity to come together as one humanity – to work together, to learn together, to grow together,” Dr Tedros concluded.

We are here for you 

We are living in difficult and uncertain times and here at the Irish Heart Foundation we are very aware of the extra challenges people living with the effects of heart disease and stroke face.

The Irish Heart Foundation has developed a number of services to support you at these difficult times.

Telephone and email support

Our nurses are available on phone and email support Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm. Call 01 6685001 or email support@irishheart.ie

Further useful sources of information:

HSE

World Health Organization

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

Health Protection Surveillance Centre

For global travel information please see the Department of Foreign Affairs’ website or download the Department’s Travelwise app 

Please note the information on this page is for general guidance and comes from national and international guidance. It is not intended to replace the individual support of a medical professional.

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