Managing Mental Health and Wellbeing
One of Fostering First‘s Therapists, Cliodhna, gives some advice and pointers on managing our mental health during a difficult time around the world.
“We find ourselves in a time of crisis, experiencing a global pandemic and the unfolding impact on our lives. At this point, we are deep into the experience of lock down and facing the gradual lifting of restrictions but no guarantee of a return to what we considered “normal” life before this began.
We might be feeling fear, panic and powerlessness in the face of such ongoing uncertainty. We may feel anger, boredom; sadness as we’re still apart from loved ones or have lost someone during this time and frustration at the continued restrictions. We might be feeling glad at the thought of getting out but also anxious and apprehensive about the ongoing risk when we do. There might be tension within our families as we have different opinions about how to move forward.
It is always important to safeguard our mental health and wellbeing but now it is vital. Here are some suggestions for supporting yourself and your loved ones:
Look at each category and make a list of what you already do really well. Pick one area for improvement and set yourself one small achievable goal for the next week
Physical Wellbeing Eating well, Keeping hydrated, Taking exercise, Sleeping well, Relaxation, Attention to your self-care
Cognitive Wellbeing Paying attention to your thinking habits – are my thoughts contributing to fearfulness/helplessness or to a positive sense of coping? Exercise: Think of three of your strengths and qualities. Think of examples of when you have used those strengths and qualities to cope with a challenge. Think of how you can use those strengths now. Do this for your loved ones and get them to do it for you too.
Emotional Wellbeing Identifying and appropriately expressing what you feel; Managing anxiety or stress – Stop what you’re doing. Plant your feet on the ground. Relax your shoulders and drop your hands to your sides. Take 5 deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth. Repeat as necessary.
Behavioural Wellbeing Are my actions and choices helping or hindering me? i.e. Am I overusing alcohol? Am I using my supports?
Social Wellbeing Slightly ironic under the circumstances but this is very much about engaging as much or as little as you need with the positively supportive relationships in your life. Keep communication going in your relationships as we negotiate this uncertain future. Are you having Fun? What Activities do you do? Do you feel a sense of Community?
Spiritual Wellbeing This crisis may have caused us to reflect on our choices, how we lived “before” and whether there may be changes that we can hold on to. What sustains you? What are your goals?
We will get through this. We are all powerful people and we have ourselves and each other. Use the supports and resources available. Remind yourself how well you’re doing.”
“Each Day: How can I support my Mental Health and Wellbeing today?”
For more information and the chance to speak to someone, visit Yourmentalhealth.ie.