Seven months into a very different world, a local psychologist says our mental health has never mattered more as we head into not only the challenging winter months, but also six weeks of level five Covid-19 restrictions.
Ardee native, Dr. Ciara Mc Enteggart, Co-Founder of Perspectives Ireland, said: “Our take-home message is simple. Find a place and time where you can own something again that is just for you. We never give ourselves enough time. This is even more important during the six weeks of level five restrictions because we have lost the other things that make us feel fulfilled.”
According to the “Adjusting to COVID-19" study by Dublin City University's School of Psychology, Irish people have suffered significantly greater mental health issues during Covid-19, with increasing levels of loneliness and social isolation, less tolerance of uncertainty, and lower perceived control over their lives.
Perspectives Ireland have the following advice for Irish people to help them stay as well as possible at this difficult time:
- Try to go outside for at least 30 minutes every day. Notice how the ground feels under your feet, the smells, how the air feels on your face, notice your thoughts (whether you’re drawn to thinking about the kids, or work), notice how you may feel, and try to own all of this experience, including any guilt you may have for taking this time to yourself. Notice how you can have all of these experiences (good or bad) and still make time for you
- If you can’t go outside, make a space in your home for you where you are physically away from the overwhelming details of routine. Try to use this space to re-ground yourself away from all those details. Remember this is not about distracting from the details, it’s about giving yourself permission to make this space for you and trying to own every aspect of it
- If you can’t physically make a space in your home, then at least make time for you – have a bath, or have a cup of coffee, read a book – take some time for yourself
- Take an extra 5-10 minutes each day to write down any part of your experience today that was affected by coronavirus or its restrictions and ask yourself was that difficult for you and how might it be possible to compensate for anything that was difficult or was taken away from you.
Across the ten years of her career in both Ireland and Belgium, Ciara has built up a strong reputation in her field as both a scientist and a clinician. She has published over 40 scientific articles and book chapters and given over 70 presentations and workshops internationally.
She was a Senior Researcher at Ghent University before establishing Perspectives Ireland. As a behaviour therapist, Ciara first worked in early educational contexts for a number of years before building up a strong caseload of complex cases and has extensive group therapy experience.
Ciara has spent many years providing experiential and skills-based training to large and small groups in many different professional sectors. Ciara’s passion is to make psychological training more adaptable and effective across all professional environments.