Adapting to being at home full time can be challenging for everyone.
Some of us are trying to balance working from home, with home schooling, to also becoming a chef, PE teacher, and filling the gaps of friends.
And some of us are finding the time at home lonely and the days long and hard to fill.
Making a new routine
Your routine may be affected by the COVID-19 outbreak in different ways. But during difficult times like this, it’s best if you can keep some structure in your day.
Shaping a new routine will help us stay busy and feel in control of our time:
create a plan for the day – include some physical activity, social activity, and some timed breaks
getting up and getting dressed at your usual time will help to get the day off to a good start
try and make sure you and your family get enough sleep. Sleep is really important for your mental health and wellbeing and especially during these unsettling times. See our guide on getting enough sleephere.
You can listen to our radio ad on keeping a routine here.
keep to a schedule and routine – It will help your child to feel more secure if they know what they will be doing next and when
understand that they might be anxious and fearful about the current situation. Talk to them, acknowledge their fears and reassure them
make sure they get good quality sleep – it’s important that they go to bed around the same time as they would if they were still going to school
your children need to be active every day. All activity, no matter how short, counts - whether it’s going for a walk, a scoot or active play at home
make time for yourself everyday – even if it’s just a few minutes
try to play with your children everyday – for example getting down on the floor with them, playing with “Lego” or even colouring pictures together. You can build a strong relationship with your child through playing with them
Playing is central to children’s physical, mental, social and emotional health and wellbeing. Children learn through play while developing resilience, flexibility and understanding of their world. Let’s Play Ireland
is a government-led initiative aimed at promoting play for all children living in Ireland during the COVID-19 emergency
parent positively – praise your child when you notice good behaviours, no matter how small
ignore minor misbehaviours, once your child or others are not being put at risk. If minor misbehaviour continues, or is more serious, you will need to act. Try not to shout. If you react calmly your child is more likely to react calmly in future. A firm explanation is usually more effective
let them make some of their own decisions. This will increase confidence, independence and let them learn from mistakes
pick your battles – Don’t try to change everything. Small changes can make a big difference
know there is no such thing as a perfect parent. Be a good enough parent. We all learn through trial and error
the GAA, in association with Jigsaw, the National Centre for Youth Mental Health, has developed an online training module called One Good Coach.
Based on Jigsaw’s latest research, the interactive content is designed to help coaches (or anyone engaging with young people) to better understand how they can support their mental health and wellbeing and to increase awareness of the close links between physical and mental health
the Gaisce Award has just launched "Gaisce At Home" for young people who would like to continue or start their Gaisce Award. This award helps young people to stay active, improve a skill, and help in their community (whilst following current restrictions). For more information go to gaisce.ie
Cork County Council has produced Teen Talks,
a series of videos from a variety of speakers around the area of Health and Wellbeing, and particularly mental wellbeing. You can find these videos here
SpunOut has lots of information for young people around dealing with issues raised from the COVID-19 outbreak, especially around looking after their mental health and wellbeing. For more information go to SpunOut.ie
when speaking to our children about COVID-19 staying calm is really important. While we need to be honest with our children we need to make sure to not frighten them
remember children may be hearing the news on TV and radio and seeing news reports and so may be very concerned. It’s important that they know that they can talk to you over any fears that they may have and that these fears are acknowledged
using child friendly resources to teach them about COVID-19 and steps that they can take to protect themselves will give them a sense of confidence and responsibility, and that they too have a part to play
young people may be seeing large amounts of information on social media and not all from reliable sources. Inaccurate and false information can cause great upset and distress. Direct them to where they can find accurate information. Knowing the facts can help them feel a sense of control
for more information on how to handle COVID-19 anxiety for young people go to Spunout.ie
During this time children and young people need support to create new routines that will keep them busy and give them a sense of control of their lives. Routines and schedules are key to helping them through this unprecedented phase in their lives. By having a structured and predictable day they will feel more secure and reassured.
Sticking to a full schoolwork timetable will not work for everyone. Insisting on one may lead to heightened stress and tension at home, particularly if you have a number of school-going children. Be flexible and sensible.
We know that many are finding this a very stressful time. The Department of Education and Skills
has created some resources for parents, children, and young people to help.
The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has also created a list of online resources available here.
keeping a schedule and a routine is key to smooth home schooling. Getting up and getting dressed at around the same time in the morning helps to set the tone for the rest of the day
planning what work needs to be done in advance will help in getting it all to run smoothly. It will also help younger children to work better alone and avoid confusion
home schooling does not just have to be about school work. This time is a great opportunity to teach your children some great life skills. Get them involved in housework, in food preparation, gardening and general chores around the house
it is also important to incorporate creative time into your daily routine. Creative Ireland
have some great ideas
keep an eye on screen time – try and maintain a balance between learning and fun both on screen and off
this can be an anxious time for older children who may be worried about exams or schoolwork. Encourage young people to continue with their school work but don’t push them if they seem upset or overwhelmed
There are a number of service providers that offer online and phone mental health supports and services. These include online counselling, phone and text services as well as online supports which can be found on www.yourmentalhealth.ie.
Stress Control is an accredited free programme that teaches you life skills to deal with stress. The programme helps us recognise the signs of stress and covers topics including how stress affects our bodies and thoughts. It teaches skills to overcome panicky feelings and tips to getting a good night’s sleep.
Starting on Monday 8 June, this programme includes six modules which are broadcast on Mondays and Thursdays at 2pm and 8.30pm. Simply go to Stresscontrol.org
and subscribe at no cost to the YouTube channel so you will be updated on when the next module will be broadcast.
Mobile apps to support your mental health
These mobile apps can help you manage anxiety. They have been reviewed and approved
for listing here, by a group in the HSE (Mental Health Apps Review Sub Group).
Mindshift (by Anxiety Canada)
A user-friendly self-help tool based on proven scientific strategies, MindShift CBT teaches about anxiety, helping users to engage in healthy thinking and to take action. Users check in each day to track their anxiety and work with tools in the app.
Clear Fear is an app developed for teenage mental health charity Stem4 which uses the evidence-based treatment CBT to focus on learning to reduce the physical responses to threat by learning to breathe, relax and be mindful as well as changing thoughts and behaviours and releasing emotions. You can personalise the app if you so wish and you will be able to track your progress and notice change.
Headspace is a well-known mobile app that teaches meditation and easy to use mindfulness skills. Map your journey, track your progress, and reap rewards in your overall health and wellbeing. You can even ‘buddy up’ with friends and motivate each other along the way.
It is really important to stay connected during this time. Keeping connected to your friends and family will help us all get through this tough time.
Our technology means that there is a huge variety of ways in which we can connect to each other:
online groups – even though you can’t meet up with your usual group of friends, online group chat, social media or video calls can ensure that you all stay connected
for those cocooning or in isolation, keeping contact via phone or video calls can be a lifeline in long or lonely days
with schools out, children are missing all their friends. Regular video calls and even some of the shared online games can ensure that these friendships are looked after
for young people and teenagers social media and online gaming can be a great way to stay in touch with their friends
during times of stress, friends and families can be a good source of support. Remember, if you are feeling stressed or anxious, talking things through with someone can really help. You don't have to appear to be strong or to try to cope with things by yourself, just pick up the phone
if you would like to get information on professional services or supports go to yourmentalhealth.ie
You can listen to our radio ad on staying connected here.
Now that more of our time will be spent at home, it is a great opportunity to get creative or pick up an old hobby. Doing something creative can help improve your mood and learn new skills, which is a great way of looking after your mental wellbeing.
During this time Creative Ireland
is offering a selection of free creative resources online across Ireland to help you #CreateAtHome.
From museums and galleries to Irish artists and organisations, there are so many ways for you to get creative and keep your mind active while isolating.
You can find more ideas from Creative Ireland on their:
the Museum of Literature Ireland
offers Bright Sparks Creative Bursts, which are a series of daily writing games and prompts for children created by the award winning children's writer Sarah Webb
Make and craft
The Design and Crafts Council Ireland (DCCI) has launched Get Ireland Making.
There will be step-by-step interactive workshops and short video tutorials broadcast on DCCI’s YouTube channel.
On this channel you can learn to:
draw or paint
learn a new song
do an online dance class
cooking or baking
Being creative with your children is also a lovely way to spend time together and boost your children’s confidence.
has developed lots of practical educational content for primary school children for activity at home or in nature. They share links and inspirational content for families to use over the coming weeks of social distancing and isolation. Activities planned include colouring, making a barge out of household items, going on a biodiversity walk
have a range of activities on their website, from resources to help children learn about different foods, to tips on gardening
Bord Bia have a wonderful gardening section
in their website, with useful growing tips, information on the benefits of gardening and lots more
Bord Bia's Food Dudes have developed lots of ‘Fun at Home’ free online resources to make learning about fruit and vegetables easy pea-sy! Check out fooddudes.ie
to learn more and follow the conversation online each week using "#FoodDudesFun"
We are bombarded with information about the virus constantly through TV, radio and social media. It can become overwhelming for both you and your family.
While it is important to keep up to date with the latest messages, it is also important to step away and take a breather.
Schedule a time every day to check your social media, and the latest news. Relentless checking can lead to increased anxiety and stress. Misinformation and rumour can cause undue distress to both you and your children so make sure that you rely on trusted sources such as the HSE and Department of Health.
There are various things that can help you to switch off and help you relax:
exercise - exercise is great to relieve stress and improve your mood. We've got some great tips here
read a book or listen to a story - You can join the library online at libraries.ie
and download e-books to read on your own device
do an online yoga class
FaceTime a friend for a chat
watch a funny film or TV show
even though all OPW heritage sites are currently closed, OPW Archive are publishing daily articles to help you visualise these sites and where you can learn about their history, their inhabitants and the works and people involved in preserving them for the Nation. Each post features a new and exciting story which will give you something to look forward to when we travel again. Check out the OPW Facebook page here
Creative Aging International have come together with Sing Ireland and the Royal Irish Academy of Music to bring you Dawn Chorus.
The idea is simple, easy and free: form a neighbourhood group or join a local choir and connect through song – rehearse together online, on the phone, at the front gate, or on your street.
Being around each other all the time, combined with worry over illness, children, money, or sick relatives, can increase stress levels and put a strain on relationships.
It is really important that you take care of yourself and your relationships at this time.
This will stop you from becoming overwhelmed and taking it out on each other:
try and find some quiet time for yourself each day, even if it is just for a few minutes
being physically active is important for your physical and mental health. It will also improve the quality of your sleep
be aware of your alcohol intake and how it might be affecting you. Go to askaboutalcohol.ie
for more information
While it is not always possible, it is helpful to keep a separation of work life from home life, try finding a separate space to work in if you can.
Working from home and taking care of children means having to create a new routine to ensure that you can be productive and manage the demands of home. This will need careful planning and sometimes creative solutions.
Plan your days in advance to make sure everyone knows what they will be doing and when:
stick to your normal routine as much as possible
keep times for breakfast, lunch, dinner as close to normal as you can
give your eyes a break from screens for a few minutes every hour
exercise, stretch and go out for a walk if possible
try and make sure you rest and get a good night’s sleep
stay in touch with family and friends
Managing your long term health condition
Those who have long term health conditions may be more at risk from serious illness related to COVID-19 and will need to take extra care to protect themselves.
You will find some practical tips to help you here.
Caring for others in your family
If you are caring for someone in your family Family Carers Ireland
have a range of resources and supports to help and advise you.
Their Careline is available to call for free with any queries you may have on 1800 240724.
They also have a Emergency Care Plan, that you can download and complete, to have a plan in place in the event of the primary family carer no longer being able to provide care.
Family Carers Ireland - Emergency Care Plan
This is for family carers to plan who can offer support and would need to be notified in the event that the primary family carer can no longer provide care due to an emergency.
If you are caring for someone who is cocooning, you can find more help and advice here.
The College of Psychiatrists of Ireland
have developed a series called Supporting Families of Young People with Mental Illness during Covid-19. It features short videos that give some key practical measures to help families and young people cope while isolating at home and without the structured timetables and activities of school and other support services.