Coping psychologically with the challenges of COVID-19

Jump to the sections below:

Staying connected

In this day and age it has never been easier to keep in contact with friends and family. If you are feeling lonely or stressed or simply just want a chat over a cup of tea all you have to do is pick up the phone or send a text. We are also here to talk if you need support or advice surrounding treatment or coronavirus related worry. You can contact us here.

Keeping active

Staying on top of your physical health is just as important as your mental health and going for a walk if possible, do doing 30 minutes of exercise in your home is a great way to stay fit while helping to boost your mood.

Make a plan

Try your best to stick to your daily routine as much as possible. If you're working from home, wake up at the same time each day, have your breakfast and get ready for the day. If you start your morning by feeding the dog or putting the washing on, do this each day and create an at home schedule that you can follow. This routine will help you to organise your day and take out some of the uncertainty of staying home.

 Looking after your sleep

While it might not seem like the most important thing, your sleep plays a huge part in your mental health and wellbeing. Making sure you are keeping a consistent sleep schedule and are getting enough sleep each night is very important and will affect how you live daily. If you are struggling with sleep, try taking some time out before bed to read or meditate, practising some breathing exercises or play around with your room to make the decor as restful as possible.

  Take time to do the things you enjoy

When we are stressed or worried, it can be easy to let the things we enjoy fall by the wayside. Take a half an hour each day for yourself to relax and let yourself unwind. Whether that be reading a book, watching your favourite TV show or learning a new skill like baking or another language, taking time for yourself is an important and necessary step in making sure you stay mentally healthy. Many people find meditation helpful, especially during periods of high stress and uncertainty. Meditation instructor Orlaith O'Sullivan has kindly created a playlist of the Foundation to help those on a cancer journey relax and unwind during this stressful time. These sessions can be found in the resource section of this page.

A mental health and wellbeing campaign has been launched to help those struggling while staying home, work through their anxieties and fears during this difficult time. More information about the #Together campaign including tips on coping while at home and looking after your mental health can be found here. 


  The importance of doing nothing: 

While it may sound silly, it’s extremely important to carve out time in your day to do nothing and allow yourself to relax. Spending 30 minutes a day watching a movie, playing your favourite video game or simply taking a nap gives you the time to, mentally switch off and can help to give you a much-needed break from the anxieties of the outside world.

 

  Journaling

Many people find it relaxing and comforting to designate some time each week to record their experience and memories in a journal. Be it ten minutes at the end of the day or an hour at the end of the month, recording your memories, experiences and the high and the lows of daily life can not only be cathartic but can also be a great memento to look back on in the years to come.

 

  Staying Connected and listen to your mind -

While many of us work and stay at home, it can feel as though we are isolated from those we care about. But sending a quick text, taking a half hour our for a phone or video call, or sending a funny meme can help you to feel connected to those you love while staying safe. Equally, if you don’t feel like chatting or simply need some time alone that it's perfectly okay. Listen to what your mind and body are telling you, and if you need to switch off your mobile, switch it off. Make the right decision for you, based on your needs.

 

Meditation

Practising mindfulness and taking time out each day to meditate or check-in with yourself is an important self-care step. There is a wealth of resource available to you from experienced meditators to those dipping the toe into the meditation pool. To help get you started, why not check out some of the guided meditations by Orlaith O’Sullivan available for free here.

 

Workout (Stay Home Stay Healthy)

While looking after your mental health, it is also crucial to look after your physical health. It has never been easier to get active and stay healthy while staying at home. Look after your body and take a look at our Stay Home, Stay Healthy page today for video workouts, diet guides and all you will need to keep fit while staying within your local area.

 


    Old fashioned board games

Invest in some board games. Tabletop games like scrabble, monopoly and snakes and ladders can keep the kids entertained for an hour while also providing some priceless family time. Better yet, you could make up your own board game and create rules and prizes to suit your family.

 

  Nature Walks

Wrap up warm and if you can, venture out and explore your local area. Rather than reading about plants and counting on fingers for homeschooling, take an hour out to take a quick nature walk within you 5K and make a simple lunchtime stroll a teaching experience.  Counting things like how many red cars you see on your way home or the type of birds singing in the tree is a great way to get kids engaged in their own learning while burning off some of that built up energy.

 

  Crafts

No matter what your level of artistic ability, a fun way to kill a few hours while also having keepsakes to cherish forever is making some homemade crafts. You can find tons of simple step by step crafts to do with kids of all ages online. To get you started and for some simple ideas, click here.

 

    TV Time

As much as you need your downtime, so do the little ones. Either as a special treat or a daily reward for good behaviour, pick a time and stick on your families favourite movie or TV show and indulge in some much-needed rest and relaxation together as a family.

 


Make a To-do list:

If you haven’t already, sit down and have a think about the things you’d like to accomplish this week. Whether it be painting the front door a slightly brighter colour for spring or trying out a new recipe, if you see your goals on paper, and tick them off as you go, you are much more likely to be productive.

 

  Redecorate:

Why not consider a change-up? We all have that ceiling that needs a lick of paint or an empty corner that could do with a bit of livening up. Why not take the time spent at home, and indoors to make your house a home. And remember, redecorating doesn’t always have to be a big affair. Simply rearranging your furniture or adding a flower pot to a side table could make all the difference.

 

  Reading:

Instead of flicking on the TV or scrolling through Instagram, why not pick up a book and take the time to expand you mind, while staying home. Be it a long time favourite or a shiny new purchase, reading can engage your mind while relaxing your body and is the perfect “before bed” habit to add to your nightly routine. You can also take the time during the day to learn new things. If you would like to learn more about the common signs of cancer, you can download free information booklets and leaflets here.

 

  Gardening:

If you are lucky enough to live somewhere where a garden is available, now is the perfect opportunity to get your green thumbs going. Gardening is not only a stress reliever for many people, it’s also a great form of exercise. A bonus is that it allows you to spend time outdoors while also remaining within safety restrictions. However – remember if you are spending time outdoors, it is vital that you are SunSmart.

 

  Pick up a hobby:

Use this time spent indoors as an opportunity to cultivate a new hobby. You won't know what you like until you try so while you have the free time, why not try everything. You could try to follow a dance tutorial on Youtube, try out a new curry recipe or pick up knitting. Anything that gets your body and mind engaged is always a good thing and can help to keep you busy during some of the more difficult periods.

 


Helpful Resources

Resources:

The Marie Keating Foundation's six week Cancer & COVID-19 wellness webinar series for cancer patients and survivors is available on-demand here.

The Foundation's Carers webinar series is available to view here

Mental Health Crisis Textline - A new Crisis Textline – Text 50808, was recently launched. The HSE text-based mental health service will provide support to anyone struggling with any issue, big or small, for free and at any time of any day. The service is staffed by 300 trained crisis volunteers and people can access support by texting 50808.

Guided meditation sessions with Orlaith O'Suillivan

Deep relaxation:

Great for during the day or at bedtime (it’s fine to fall asleep) - this is a key practice to help soothe our nervous system and give ourselves space to rest, refresh and heal.

Post Work Reset:

This is good for transitions, to help us let go of a busy time or a difficult exchange. We make a gift of this little space so that we can refresh ourselves - then we can be more present for ourselves and our loved ones.

Walking with Marie:

Walking meditation is great when we’re feeling strong emotions. You can walk at any pace and feel safety and kindness in your footsteps

 

Springtime Meditation:

This guided practice invites us to connect with the energy of springtime, drawing on the joy, strength, tenacity, and hope of the season.

 

 

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