The last 18 months have been tough on all of us. We’ve had to adjust our lives like never before and this has been hard. But there are some simple things that we can do to help look after our own and our family’s mental wellbeing.
Minding your mood or your mental wellbeing can allow you to enjoy activities you take part in, work productively, cope with normal stresses in life, and realise your own potential.
Ideally we should build these in as regular items into our daily/our weekly routines so they become habit like just like washing our teeth.
physical activity – getting outside and getting active is so important for our physical and mental wellbeing. Being outside helps to lower stress, reduce anxiety, and improve self-esteem. We have some tips on getting started here Getting active
or contact your local sports partnership
for advice and ideas
connecting with loved ones – staying connected with family and friends is great to reduce stress and boost your mood – be it online or getting together. Having a laugh or sharing a problem and talking it out are really important ways of looking after your mental wellbeing and can help ease worries and combat loneliness
doing something you enjoy – this could be something simple such as watching a movie or TV show, carving out some time to read or spend time in the garden. Perhaps to call a friend or spend time on a hobby. Whatever it is, having something to look forward to is a great way to help keep spirits up
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. Check out our tips on getting enough sleep below.
eating well –Keep your meals as healthy as you can. Perhaps designate a day to do some batch cooking to ensure that you always have healthy nutritious meals to hand. You can see more great tips on eating well here
keep learning – Learning new things or developing new skills can really help build self confidence and improve self esteem, and depending on what you choose it can also help you get to know others with similar interests.
giving to others – helping others and participating in your community can be hugely beneficial to your own wellbeing, as well as those that you are helping. It can be something simple such as checking in with someone who may be vulnerable at this time, or volunteering in a more formal role
Getting enough sleep
Sleep is really important for your mental health and wellbeing. Most people need between 5 to 9 hours sleep a night. The ideal amount is 8 hours, but everyone is different.
We all need to look at our sleep pattern and habits. If you’re regularly struggling to get a good night’s sleep, there are a number of things you can do to improve it.
don’t have any drinks with caffeine in the afternoon
don’t smoke or drink alcohol before bed
go to bed and get up at the same time every day
avoid looking at any laptops, phones and other screens for an hour before bed
make sure your bedroom is completely dark
SpunOut have some great advice on sleep
and looking after your mental health.
Switching off and giving some time to yourself to do the things you enjoy doing is so important in looking after your mental wellbeing. Simple activities like being creative, learning something new, spending time in nature or practising relaxation, can help to restore and revive our spirits.
turn off – too much time on social media and news sites can lead to increased anxiety and stress. Have a certain time everyday to check your social media and the latest news and stick to it.
taking time out to care for ourselves- life is busy and it is easy to get overwhelmed. Having some designated time to relax, or practising some breathing or relaxation techniques can help to keep us focused
read a book or listen to a story – Your local library has a huge range of books for you to read, or you can join online at libraries.ie
and download e-books to read on your own device. They also have a huge variety of magazines that can be downloaded digitally through their Libby app
do something creative – There is a strong connection between being creative and improved mental wellbeing. Doing something creative can not only help you to develop new skills but can also improve your self-esteem and social connections. There are so many ways to be creative, cooking, baking, playing music, arts and crafts. Explore some options and find your passion.
Keep learning and Being Creative
Learning new things or being creative can really help you to switch off and achieving something can also make us feel good. Learning or developing new skills can also help improve your self-esteem and give you more confidence.
Some ways to learn more or get creative are:
Sign up for a class, whether its an art class, writing class or dance class
Look for resources online like online courses or tutorials
Ask someone you know to teach you something like a friend or family member
have lots of courses for you to choose from. Just sign up using your library card and you can access over 400 online courses for free.
is working with Local Authorities to offer localised creative initiatives in their areas. These initiatives may include:
engaging with historical places and sites in their locality
live, mobile, and pop up entertainment in various settings
utilisation of spaces and places for Arts
Contact your Local Authority
for more information on what’s happening in your area.
The Design and Crafts Council Ireland YouTube
channel has many step-by-step interactive workshops and short video tutorials in their Get Ireland Making Programme.
On this channel you can:
draw or paint
learn a new song
do an online dance class
try knitting and sewing
cook or bake
Reading and writing stories is a great way to switch off. Immersing yourself in a story, or creating a story of your own can help you to relax and de-stress during these challenging times.
read a book or listen to an eAudiobook - You can join the library online at LibrariesIreland.ie
and download e-books to read on your own device
if you’re thinking of writing some stories of your own there are many helpful tips and guides online to get you started. LibrariesIreland.ie
also have over 50 free online courses on creative writing
Spending time in nature
Being outdoors and spending quality time in nature can help to reduce anxiety, improve your mood and even increase your self-esteem.
has developed lots of practical educational content for primary school children and families for activity at home or in nature.
Visit Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands
and discover a range of amazing places and activities to see and do.
have a range of activities on their website, from resources to help children learn about different foods, to tips on gardening. They have recently launched their schools programme for 2022. You can register your school here
Grow It Yourself
has great tips and ideas for the budding gardening enthusiast. The website includes a useful month by month calendar giving ideas for what to sow/harvest/or prepare that month.
Bord Bia have a wonderful gardening section
on their website, with useful growing tips, information on the benefits of gardening, and lots more
Giving to Others
Getting involved in your community is a great way to help improve your mental wellbeing. It can help you to connect with those around you and increase a sense of belonging. You may need to think whether you want to meet new people with similar interests, or just give something back to your community or society. Some of the following organisations can help you:
Volunteering can help improve your confidence through acquiring new skills and personal growth, all important for maintaining your wellbeing.
If you decide that you would like to get involved in volunteering but you are not sure exactly what you would like to do, then a good place to start is Volunteer Ireland
A Men’s Shed is a place where men are able to gather and/or work on meaningful projects at their own pace, in their own time and in the company of other men and where the primary objective is to advance the health and well- being of the participating men.
Now that many of us have started returning to the workplace, this can cause stress and anxiety as once again our routines are upended. Here are some simple tips to guide you through the transition.
• Stay connected - It is really important to keep in touch with both your colleagues and your manager. Feeling connected to your team will help with the transition back to the workplace.
• Create certainty for yourself – plan out your return as much as you can. Have everything you need ready to go and be aware of the restrictions within your workplace and how you will work around them. The more information you are armed with going in, the less room there is for anxiety. If you have queries or questions speak to your manager
• Keep up to date - Keep up-to-date with your organisation's plans for the return to the workplace, think about how this will work for you and your situation. Have a chat with your manager if there are any issues that arise.
• One day at a time – Things are in a constant state of flux and keep changing, and we need to change with it. Take one day at a time and don’t beat yourself up if you’re finding things tough.
• Check in - It is important to have regular check-ins with yourself to see how you are coping with the changes. What’s going well for you, and what could you change to help improve things.
• Be kind - You never know what might be going on in someone else’s world. Everyone is finding things tough, so be kind, to others and yourself.
Anxiety around COVID-19
During this time it is normal to feel stressed and anxious about what is going on around us. Taking some time to stop and acknowledge your feelings and the affect that they are having on your life, can help you cope.
sometimes accepting that what's happening is not only tough, but also outside of your control can help ease the pressure and allow you to see more clearly
take notice and be aware – take some time everyday to check in with how you’re feeling. Pay attention to the present moment. Take notice of your thoughts, feelings, sensations, and the world around you. Being able to recognise and name how you feel can help you to deal with it. You can find some great tips here
give yourself some credit – sometimes we are our own worst critics. Taking a moment to stop and think of what we have done to get through the past few months can help us see that we are probably doing better than we think we are
write it down – sometimes writing things down can really help. It can be a good way of getting our anxious thoughts out. Writing a gratitude journal can also help us to see the positive things in our lives which can help us to get through these tougher times
take a break from the news - We are bombarded with information through TV, radio and social media, and this can be really overwhelming. While it is important to keep up to date with the latest messages, it is also important to step away. Schedule a time every day to check your social media, and the latest news and make sure to you rely on trusted sources such as the HSE
and the Department of Health,
as misinformation and rumour can cause extra stress and anxiety
a problem shared is not necessarily a problem halved, but it does help. Friends and families can be a good source of support and talking to someone can really help you to realise you’re not alone. Sometimes a different perspective can make things seem much better and easier to cope with
remember - if you feel you need additional help, there are supports available. You don't have to appear to be strong or to try to cope with things by yourself. 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
Keeping in Contact
Keeping in contact with friends and family is so important for our mental wellbeing and can be a lifeline for those who are vulnerable or isolated. Even a friendly phone call can make a huge difference to someone’s day.
There are also a range of initiatives that people can avail of during this time:
is providing a telephone support line, seven days a week from 8am – 8pm, for all older people, their families, and those who are medically vulnerable. If you need any advice, reassurance or additional support call them at: 0818 222024
Gardaí – if you have any safety concerns, or need any essential items brought to you, contact the Gardaí, they will be more than happy to assist you or direct you to relevant services
Third Age Ireland
have a Seniorline which is a confidential listening service for older people, with trained volunteers. Freephone 1800 804591
Friends of the Elderly
also run a friendly call service for those who just need a chat. Its available free and nationwide. Call 01 8731855
to find contact details for your local authority click here
have a free, online mental health and wellbeing programme called Minding Your Wellbeing. This evidenced based programme which consists of 5 video sessions, each 20 minutes, can be found here.
The programme focuses on practicing self-care, understanding our thoughts, exploring emotions, building positive relationships and improving our resilience.
is a first of its kind for Ireland: a free 24/7 text service, providing everything from a calming chat to immediate support for people going through a mental health or emotional crisis - big or small. From breakups or bullying, to anxiety, depression and suicidal feelings, crisis volunteers are available 24/7 for anonymous text conversations.
Start a conversation by free-texting the word HELLO
to 50808 any time, day or night.
provide professional one-to-one therapeutic services to people who are in suicidal distress, those who engage in self-harm, and those bereaved by suicide. All services are provided free of charge and no referral is needed.
Call free 1800 247 247.
Text HELP to 51444.
provide a national telephone support service for parents, in response to the challenges they are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Freephone 1800 910 123 (from 10am to 2pm, Monday to Friday).
They also provide a children’s bereavement helpline service, for all members of the public telephone 01 473 2110 (from 10am to 12pm, Monday to Thursday). Referrals will be accepted for children up to the age of 18 who have parental/carer’s consent.
is a mental health charity focused on providing expert advice and support, online and in person, to young people across Ireland aged 12 - 25 years-old.
Talk to one of the team through 1:1 Live Chat by visiting here.
(1pm to 5pm Mon to Fri).
Visit Jigsaw for more information or email firstname.lastname@example.org
provides free online and phone supports, psychotherapy services for children, adolescents and adults under the COVID-19 project. Clients of age 16 and above can use free-of-charge online counselling.
If you would like to book an appointment you can do so by contacting MyMind through email at email@example.com
or calling the office at 0766 80 10 60 (9am - 5pm).
undertakes to create a society where people affected by stress, depression, bipolar disorder and mood-related conditions are understood, supported, free from stigma, and are encouraged to access appropriate therapies.
are a community of fully qualified and accredited mental health professionals working online to provide a high quality, safe, anonymous and confidential space for you to gain support - wherever you are, whenever you need it, for whatever you are going through.
Counselling options for individuals, couples and young people aged 12-17 offered. Log on to www.turn2me.ie.
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.
have been helping people to deal with problem debt for more than 25 years. If you’re struggling with debt, it can have a huge impact on your mental wellbeing. MABS
offers impartial advice to help you manage your money and take control of debt.
They offer support online, over the phone and face to face, and are free, confidential and independent.
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.
Irish Cancer Society has many supports and resources available to help those living with or recently diagnosed with cancer and those who are caring for them. Visit their webpage here
or call their helpline at 1800 200 700.
Sometimes people with dementia may need a little bit of support to stay connected and active in social and physical activities, to access public spaces or to eat well..
If would like to find out how you can support a person with dementia and their families, resources and training opportunities, you can Freephone the Helpline provided by the Alzheimer Society of Ireland at 1800 341 341 or visit www.understandtogether.ie
or their Facebook
Dementia: Understand Together is a public support, awareness and information campaign led by the HSE, working with the Alzheimer Society of Ireland and Age Friendly Ireland, that aims to inspire people from all sections of society to stand together with the 500,000 Irish people whose families have been affected by dementia and to take actions to create inclusive communities.
GP and Emergency Supports
For Hospital emergency services go to or call the emergency department of your local general hospital.
Telephone emergency services on 999 or 112.
GP and health centres
A GP can offer support and advice around a range of mental health issues including feelings of sadness, anxiety, self-harm and psychosis. A GP can tell you about supports in your community and also refer you to counselling or to a mental health service.
Losing a loved one can be very difficult at any time, but current restrictions make this a very hard time to be grieving. We cannot come together as we used to, for funerals and to share condolences, and this is hard. But it is important to remember that there is support available to help you through this time.