Regrettably, the recent spread of covid-19 and restrictions on face to face contacts, means that our psychology services are greatly reduced. We have had to suspend our monthly Psychology Parent Advice Clinic (Loughlinstown Health Centre), our Parenting Courses and our Stress Control courses.
We are exploring how we might be able to continue to offer some psychological help in different ways during this current crisis. There are many things that we can do to protect our mental health and well-being during stressful and challenging circumstances. The resources and information below provide practical tips and advice and we hope they will be of benefit to parents and children during these uncertain and trying times.
- Stay connected: Probably the most important tool for keeping a healthy mind and building our resilience is staying connected with family, friends and our community. While we can’t physically socialise with others for a temporary time, we can connect using technology and safe social distancing from our gardens, balconies etc.
- Keep a regular routine: It is very important to establish a new routine for these trying times. Try to ensure that the whole family is keeping regular bedtimes and meal times and getting a healthy balance of work and fun. It can be very easy for the best of us to fall into bad habits and poor routines when there is less structure to our day and possibly greater mental demands. Try drawing up a visual schedule for the whole family to follow, which includes work/school, family activities, exercise, self-care, independent fun activities and virtual/distance social contact with friends and family.
- Seek help when needed: Many families may be struggling to adjust to the big changes and compromises we have been asked to make. Managing children, work commitments and housekeeping all from home and during a time of national stress and anxiety may prove trickier than you expected. The following tips for parents provide practical advice for managing challenging behaviours, children’s worries, and many other difficulties parents may be facing at this time.
- Exercise regularly: Keep the body moving and join on-line exercise classes or TV programmes to keep active and fit while staying at home. Perhaps try exercises and activities that the whole family can enjoy together.
- Keep the mind active: Try to mindfully focus your attention on pleasurable things, work, family activities or learning new skills. Just like our bodies our minds need exercise too and what we feed it determines its overall health and well-being.
- Limit exposure: Switch off the live rolling news feeds on TV and social media and choose to listen to only reputable sources of news once a day for updates. Constantly checking the latest news and figures only feeds anxiety and worry. Limit this to 30-40 minutes a day at specific times simply to keep abreast of new guidelines and restrictions etc. Remember to focus on the things we can control such as staying at home as much as possible, washing our hands, staying healthy with exercise and a good diet, learning new skills and keeping contact with family and friends by phone. Try not to focus on the things we have no control over such as, whether other people are following the rules, when it will all be over, how the virus spreads or what the restrictions or guidelines from authorities will involve.
- Talk about your worries and fears: Acknowledge and validate everyone’s concerns and brainstorm together all the positives you can think of and all the things you are doing well as a family. If you or a family member are struggling with worry during this time the following anxiety related resources can help.
- Practice gratitude: practice mindfulness exercises and gratitude exercises using the links below, to develop and strengthen coping skills and resilience for each family member.
- Enjoyable activities: Use this time to reignite your passions for hobbies and interests such as reading, gardening, crafts etc. and ensure to include fun and enjoyable activities in your new schedule each day. Try activities that include the whole family and activities that can be done individually to maintain independence and self-soothing skills particularly for children who’s parents are working from home from example.
- Compassion – anxiety is a normal human response to difficult or challenging circumstances and changes. It will undoubtedly affect us all at some point or another during times we find particularly stressful. If you or your children are struggling with the recent restrictions and uncertainty, remember to be compassionate to the self and to others. Acknowledge fears and worries as valid even if you don’t agree or feel the same. Help children to problem solve these worries and develop skills to manage their fears and anxieties.
- Help others: check in on vulnerable others by telephone or video call to ensure they are ok and not feeling isolated. Drop off care packages or essential supplies to vulnerable individuals in your family/community who may not have others to do this for them.
We work to support the psychological wellbeing of people who live in the Dublin South area. Our services include a range of individual and group based interventions across the life span.