People are being encouraged to ‘get out of their own heads’ over the coming weeks by staying active and staying connected.
The country is preparing to move to Level Five coronavirus restrictions from Wednesday night with people asked to stay and work at home wherever possible.
All non-essential retail will shut with pubs and restaurants only permitted to offer take-away services.
Exercise will be permitted within a 5km radius of the home.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, psychotherapist Iseult White said the things feel “really bad” right now but people should remember that we will get through this if we look after ourselves and the people around us.
“I think, in the first wave, there was a much greater sense of unity and a much greater sense of, ‘we are in this together,’” she said.
“What is different now is that we have been under kind of chronic stress for six months now, it has been ongoing and now, here we are again, we feel, in a lockdown again.
“I think it is important to remember that actually this is quite different this time. It feels very similar but it is quite different and the difference is that, actually, there are very few people dying at the moment, we have much better health care in place and doctors have a much better idea of how to treat it.
“But this feels really bad. This feels really bad going into lockdown in the middle of winter – it is a horrible feeling but we just have to look after ourselves and look after the people around us as best we can.”
She said it is easy to get ‘locked into your head’ at a time like this.
“The way to get out of your head is to get outdoors and to connect with somebody,” she said. “they are the two most important ways of getting out of your head that I know of”
“To actually do something physical with your body because you can’t be in your head when you are doing something physical and to connect emotionally and socially with somebody.
“OK, it might have to be from two metres distance – either somebody who is out there in the park while you’re walking your dog or picking up the phone and talking to a friend.
“Those are the two most fundamental things you can do for your mental health as we go through this.”
She said people should not be afraid to reach out for professional help if they are feeling distressed.
“There are resources out there in terms of the crisis helplines,” she said.
“We always trot out these numbers but the thing I would like to say to anybody who is feeling like that at het moment is, you may never have called or texted one of these lines before but take your heart in your hand and take a deep breath and do it this time if you are feeling really significantly distressed at any stage.
“You will find it is a really good experience.”
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