During challenging times like this, having a plan that helps us stay busy and feel more in control of our time can be very beneficial.
Create a positivity plan for your week – ideas could include:
physical activity – even though the days are getting shorter and colder, 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
connecting with loved ones – staying connected with family and friends is really important for our mental wellbeing. It can be a lifeline for those shielding or isolating, to 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
taking time out to care for ourselves- with all that is going on around us, 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
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. SpunOut have some great tips on getting better sleep here
eating well – sticking to normal mealtimes as much as possible will help to keep some structure on your day. 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. Libraries Ireland
have lots of courses that you can do for free
do something creative – creativity and pursuing creative interests has been shown to improve mental wellbeing. There are so many ways to be creative, from arts and crafts, to music, gardening, cooking, or writing
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. Check out Volunteer Ireland
or your Local Authority
for more information
download and print our weekly planner below to help you make your own plan to keep well
Try this week planner to help you with some of the tips mentioned in the page above
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.
For some of us, the current situation means we are spending more time with our children than ever before, and this can bring its own challenges. Here are some simple tips that might help:
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 Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth have a Parents Centre
with tips, resources and supports for parents.
The HSE has some great links on their My Child
The Children and Young Peoples’ Services Committees (CYPSC) around the country are being supported to provide enhanced services, to support positive mental health and wellbeing, to children, young people and families over the coming months. Go to www.cypsc.ie
for more details.
Being around each other more than normal, 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:
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
make sure that you get good quality sleep – being tired can make you very irritable
if you have a partner, remember they may have the same worries as you. They may be dealing with these feelings in a different way
make time to talk alone together about any fears or worries
if you and your partner are both at home, try and share household chores and caring for your children. Try and give each other breaks if you can
stay connected to other family and friends via phone, or video calls
Working from home means having to create a new routine and a new way to balance all the demands of your life. 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 work 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
Virtual social activities
Engage in some virtual social activities with your work colleagues. These could include:
a movie or book club
having a designated wellness day or a wellbeing whiteboard to share ideas on how to stay well
virtual coffee breaks – this is a great way to check in with your colleagues to make sure that everyone is doing ok
The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation have produced a guidance page
for employers and employees on working from home.
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
are launching a new, 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 will focus 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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.