A local Councillor has penned his thoughts on protecting our mental health in the current climate where Covid-19 seems to be influencing our every move.

Councillor Mark Gibbons speaks about the present upheaval to our structure and routine and what works for him as he trys to adapt to the present circumstances. Explaining that he knows that everyones situation is different the Crotlieve Councillor said  "If I thought that these ramblings would help one person, I'll be a happy man."

Get active and out into the fresh air - It will work wonders for your mood. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/
Get active and out into the fresh air - It will work wonders for your mood. Photograph: Columba O'Hare/

Read Cllr Gibbons article below and be sure to share with us what helps you!

Anyone else struggling with their mental health? (Or is it just me?)

I don't know about you, but I have struggled to keep on top of things during this new Covid-19 reality check. I have always been very open about my mental health and well-being. As a public representative, I've made sure to be an open book with the hope that someone will read and say 'Oh I'm not the only one, I'm not alone', so no time like the present to open up again.

Two of my popular battles within this pandemic would definitely be that my structure and routine rug has been pulled from underneath my feet and I've landed on my arse with a wallop. If I don't have a good structure to keep my mental foundations steady then I'm all over the place and out of sync with reality at times. This pandemic has enjoyed crumpling up our structural blueprints and hitting the bin every time.

Cllr Mark Gibbons
Cllr Mark Gibbons

Secondly, the lack of social interaction has really turned the loneliness dial up a few notches. If you know me at all- you'll know I love the craic, and my God I so miss that noise of a room full of laughter or a drink around a table with good family and friends. I would even sit round the table with my enemies at this stage. Never will I take things like that for granted again.

'Man loves company, even if it's that of a small burning candle'. - I will be the chief candle maker of Ireland when all this is over.

Thankfully for me, I've always had that inner voice in my head that shouts 'Snap out it, you are folding in on yourself. Time to pick yourself up', and it isn't long before I'm back at it again and reaching for the ladder that will eventually help me climb out of the dark hole I'm in. I am aware it is not just as easy for everyone, I get that. However I am hoping that maybe this post will be a ladder of sorts to someone.

There are 2 important rungs on that ladder (that have always helped me rise to the surface.)

1. Talk to someone.

It goes without saying-but opening up to a loved one, friend or phoning one of great services available really makes a huge difference. Lifeline for example (0808 808 8000) are excellent. It takes me roughly 60sec of talking to someone - and I can feel that weight lifting off my shoulders. Even if it's just a good rant, it can make some difference. Just don't suffer in silence. You will be so thankful you talked and you'll feel lighter on your feet after it. 

2. Get active… up the lungs.

Getting out and getting the heart going helps me immensely. It might take a crowbar to get me up off the chair-but it helps no end. And if you can surround yourself with the great outdoors, nature or open water (keeping within the restrictions of course) then even better.

After each small adventure I'm more relaxed and my anxiety decides to take a vacation. More often than not I'll get a good nights sleep as an added bonus.

These are only a small number of examples that help me. Everybody's different-and if I thought that these ramblings would help one person, I'll be a happy man.

The main purpose of this post is to let you know that you are not alone my friend. These are extremely testing times for us all and who honestly would have thought that we all would be living this type of life? You just couldn't write it, but we are fighting it with our frontline workers leading the way.

Covid-19 has just made our trenches that little bit muddier and deeper, although you'll always find a hand reaching to pull you out of the mire if you look in the right direction.

So, you've got this!

Your friends and family have got your back. Open up and ask for help if you are struggling and you won't look back.

What helps you when it comes to lifting your mental health and well-being? Feel free to add your thoughts below as Cllr Gibbons adds "You never know, your comments and advice could really help someone with their own personal battles."

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