Sporting Pride committee member and qualified therapist Dermot McCarthy offers his top tips for surviving and the covid 19 crisis.
In 2009, when the global recession hit Ireland, I lost my job as an accountant. I remember when it approached my sixth week of unemployment, Anxiety began to surface. Sadly, I continued along that path and fell into the hands of a deep depression due to my lack of employment.
I got myself out of it , and today I am in a position that I love. I have many joys in my life. Therefore, I want to pass on my survival tips to those, due to COVID19, may be struggling now with Anxiety, Stress and Depression.
1. Bedtime: Yes, you may have heard this before. Get into the habit of having a Bedtime routine. Ensure you get eight hours sleep. Stay away from social media , like usage of an iPhone at least an hour before you go to bed. Your mind needs to wind down and not up at Bedtime.
2. Meditation: Get into the habit of practicing meditation each morning. There are many apps out there to use such as Head Space. I use a You Tube meditation video, 15 minutes each morning. This works for me, find out what works for you. Meditation can be a challenge at the start, hard work, keep at it. Practice makes perfect.
3. Breathing Method: I recently discovered the Wim Hof breathing method. I practice it every day. I find it amazing, and I feel very calm after using this method. Check out this link for further details https://www.wimhofmethod.com/
4. Exercise: Set yourself some fitness goals now, Gyms are closed , yet they have many online classes. Check them out. Use the 2k radius to your advantage, incorporate a set time for that walk/jog/run during the week.
5. Nourishment: Get into the habit now of cooking healthy meals. Healthy Body equals Healthy Mind. Drink plenty of water.
6. Social Distancing is Physical Distancing not Social: Use the many platforms to keep in contact with Friends and Family. Organise a Family webinar, Quiz night etc. Men reach out to mates, do not isolate yourself. Back in 2009, I did, one of the reasons why depression got a hold of me.
7. Unemployment: For those that lost their job due to COVID19. I suggest seeking out voluntary work. This was immensely powerful when I was unemployed. In fact, when I got a paying job, I did not want to give up my voluntary roles, they were so rewarding. Check out https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/together/, for volunteer roles. The website has excellent ways of managing yourself during this time also.
8. Working at Home: For those now working at home, get into a routine when working at home. One of the simplest methods that I use, is when I am working, I wear the same working clothes that I wore when working in the offline world. This gives me the mindset that I am working now, when the working day is done, I change back into my casual wear. Wear casual clothes Friday, to maintain that Friday feeling.
9. TV Programmes: Select the programmes that boost your Well-Being. I stay away from negativity. One of the shows, which I would recommend is Operation Transformation-Keeping Well Apart. I find this an excellent show, gives advice to all social aspects of our modern Irish Life. Plenty of tips for exercise, food and minding your mental health. It is on RTE1, Wednesday @9.35pm. http://ot.rte.ie for further details.
10. Social Media: Use Social Media more positively. For instance, many in the entertainment business have gone online and do online Instagram talks. Check them out to be entertained.
11. Online Courses: An online course that I would recommend everyone to do, is a course run by Stress Control. The course will run again in May, commencing on the 11th. It is a six-module course and it is free. It is an excellent course about dealing with Stress and Anxiety. Check out stresscontrol.org for further details.
12. GP and Online Therapy: If the situation gets too much to bear. There is no Shame in reaching out for support concerning your Mental Health. Talk to your GP about medical support, reach out to a therapist, many provide online counselling now. In 2009, I did talk to my GP and found a therapist, these two actions saved my life. Men, do not be afraid to reach out, you are not less of a Man for doing so.
This is an unprecedented time that we are all in. The future is unknown for now but incorporating some of the tips, that I have outline above, will help you ease the bumpy emotional ride that is ahead of us all.
Dermot McCarthy is Treasurer of Sporting Pride and is an IACP accredited therapist with Under The Rainbow.