It’s currently Mental Health Awareness week in Ireland (May 18-24) so I thought this was a good time to post this. Mental health is always important and although it has become more apart of everyday conversations, there is definitely still a stigma surrounding it. With this global pandemic, the vast majority of us have been forced into isolation, and with that, obviously comes increasing mental health issues. Some of you may be struggling right now, I think a lot of us are, we are living in uncertainty, without freedom to come and go as we please, and many of us are separated from loved ones.
I know I myself have had some great days during the past 10 weeks of quarantine, but I’ve also had days where I’m down and just don’t want to get out of bed. May, for me was meant to be a great month; my friends from Ireland were due to visit Toronto for the first time – we had a great weekend planned, Phil and I had booked a fancy dinner date to celebrate eleven years together and one year since we legally got married here in Toronto (our Irish wedding was end of June so that’s the actual anniversary date we use), my Dad was supposed to be arriving over to Toronto for a 2 week visit and the three of us had 5 days booked in Newfoundland where we were going to do whale watching, see icebergs up close and personal and do a zipline. But all that came to a crashing halt due to Covid-19. And now, I realistically won’t get to see my friends, my Dad, or anyone back in Ireland until some time next year. Usually, I know when I will be back in Ireland next, or when I’m going to see people because they have booked a trip over to us, but not this time, and it’s unsettling, and it’s shit, and sometimes it makes me sad.
Is it the worst thing to happen? No. Of course not. People have lost jobs, people have died because of Covid-19, however, I think it’s important to stop comparing ourselves to others. Do I still have the right to feel sad about my situation, and what has changed for me? Yes. 100%. You can recognize that you are in a better situation than others and be grateful, but you are still entitled to feel crappy about your situation. If you constantly say “oh well, I shouldn’t complain because X has it worse”, then you are denying your true feelings, and you will never let yourself feel the lows, or the downs. There will always be someone worse off than you, than doesn’t take away from what you’re experiencing. I actually think it can be a dangerous mentality and can result in you bottling up your emotions because you worry you should be feeling grateful. You can do both, and you should.
I’m not alone in these feelings, according to CTV News, over half of Canadian report worsening mental health due to this pandemic we find ourselves in the midst of. I want the quarantine resources section of my blog to help people, whether you come here to look for a cocktail recipe, a quarantine date night idea, a post to help you find online courses, or mental health resources, I want to help. So I have put together some resources that may help you and your mental health during this time.
Aware.ie – they have a wealth of resources for people suffering from anxiety and depression, with some of them being especially dedicated to the anxiety people are experience due to the pandemic.
Mental Health Ireland – they have some fantastic resources to improve your mental wellbeing, a comprehensive guide to areas of interest related to mental health and wellbeing and the steps you can follow when you are seeking help for your mental health.
See Change – See Change is Ireland’s organisation dedicated to ending mental health stigma. Their work is informed by people with lived experiences of mental health difficulties, who are best placed to give insight into mental health stigma. They have workplace resources and support services too.
HSE – They have things you can do to support your mental health and wellbeing on their website, including items for stress, depression and building self-confidence.
Camh – they have tips, coping strategies and resources for everyone. You can also use their website to find programs and services.
Government of Canada – their website has information on mental illness, a list of mental health helplines accross Canada, and info on how to improve your mental health at work and at home.
Canadian Mental Health Association – a website with a multitude of resources pertaining to mental health.
Mental Health Commission of Canada – offers a host of resources, tools and training programs aimed at increasing mental health literacy and improving the mental health and well-being of all people living in Canada.
Meditation Oasis is a podcast with guided meditations for everyone. Try starting with the walking meditation episode.
Stop, Breathe, and Think offers a short meditation focused on breathing.
Adult Colouring Books – a great way to free your mind of thoughts and focus on the colours in front of you. You can buy them in most book stores or online.
iamtabithabrown – I just discovered this woman a couple of weeks ago, and she has the most amazing, infectious personality and the most soothing voice I’ve ever heard. Honestly, if she just read the alphabet, I think I would go into a meditative state.
Phyllicia Bonanno – Phyllicia is a yoga teacher, who focuses on sound therapy and mindful living. She does live soundbaths on Instagram, I listened to one this morning and I loved it. Check her out.
Attaliah (ataleaboutagirl) – I’ve been following her on Instagram for a while now, and she recently did a post about #BlackLivesMatter, which includes some mental health resources (She is based in the US). Please check out her post here.
Most importantly, if you’re feeling down or low or anxious, or your mental health is suffering, talk to someone; anyone. It can be a friend, a family member or a professional, just please talk to someone, there is absolutely no shame in getting help. Please check in on your friends, especially those living alone, and also those that appear to be fine, because they might not be. And remember, it’s ok to not be ok.