Tips from psychotherapist to keep your mental health in check
By Lifestyle Reporter 43m ago
Share this article:
While we may have survived 2020, this year doesn’t seem much better and many people are struggling mentally.
And while we still live with Covid-19, psychotherapist Noel McDermott remained optimistic and applauded people for complying with restrictions to try and contain the current second wave. Luckily, the end was in sight with the vaccination programme, he said.
“We are in the second wave of our pandemic with a third set to come later this year.
“Typically, a second wave is significantly worse than a first wave and so far, we have managed to contain this second wave to numbers similar to the first wave. This is clear evidence the mitigation measures are working.
“We are also on course because of the vaccinations to stop the third wave largely in its tracks.
“This is the first pandemic in human history in which we have achieved this (compared to Spanish Flu 1918 pandemic).
“We have produced a vaccine very quickly and this is remarkable.”
The effect of lockdown on people’s mental health
We know common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression have risen as a rest of the pandemic and spike during lockdown.
“Repetition of stressful events increases the impact of the event, even if it is not as difficult as the first one.
“The more repetitions, the greater the impact on us and reduction of our resilience factors.
“We are also aware that lockdown cuts us off from many of our resilience factors such as social contact, work relationships and fun social events.
“Know the signs you or a loved one needs help and get help sooner rather than later. These signs include a significant change in mood, eating and appetite shifts, constant tiredness, irritability, disrupted sleep and headaches.
Tips to keep your mental health in check
Back to Basics: Focus on the basics: a simple routine, regular meals, regular sleep patterns and hydration.
Exercise: Stay active, go for regular walks, do home gym sessions, practise yoga and if you don't do it yet, now is a very good time to learn.
Slow down: Reduce your commitments and slow down. Focus on self-care and resilience.
Normalise your feelings: it’s okay to experience overwhelming feelings of fear and sadness right now. Be kind to yourself and others.
CBT: Learn cognitive behavioural therapy techniques online to improve your mental health toolkit.
Practise meditation: Ensure you meditate regularly and if you don’t do mindfulness yet, now is the time to learn. There are a lot of apps available to learn and one of them is Headspace.
Stop or manage drinking: Alcohol is not going to help. Don’t drink regularly or to manage anxiety, stress, depression and insomnia. The healthiest pattern of drinking is random and irregularly.
Stay social: Spend online social time with friends and family. Social connections play an important part in looking after our wellbeing.
It is now, more than ever, crucial that as a nation, we adopt a positive mindset and keep our mental health in check. We have been here before and we got through this. We can do it again and this time, we know a brighter, healthier future lies ahead.
Positive Psychology Techniques
Manage your mind with positive psychology techniques that allow you to challenge your thinking if it becomes unhealthy (cognitive restructuring) or how to move your mind from harmful thoughts to helpful ones (through, for example, meditation).
Avoid panic behaviour such as stocking up, which send signals to yourself that there is a big risk.
By doing this, we are making things seem dangerous. Develop acceptance and learn to live more in the moment. Reduce your expectations.
We must get on with life as best as possible, embrace the situation and look for the positives.
Ask yourself what you are grateful for. Learning how to thrive in the face of adversity will lead to positive growth.