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02 Dec 2021

Dr Eddie Murphy: The antidote to Covid-19 fear is care, connection and compassion

Advice column with Operation Transformation psychologist Dr Eddie Murphy

Dr Eddie Murphy: The antidote to Covid-19 fear is care, connection and compassion

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Let’s face it, you can feel it the growing fear and anxiety. Every family is linked to a vulnerable person. In our house my wife had cancer treatment a number years ago which makes her vulnerable and my elderly parents are thankfully walking around minding themselves.

So I though, let’s try and calm things a little. First of all, our fear response is a normal response to such a threatening event.

It protects us to some degree but also, if always present, it can paralyse our thinking.

So here are my top tips to cope with Covid-19.

Every Monday and Thursday at 9pm I will be on my Facebook Page providing good guidance, care and support. The antidote to fear is care, connection and compassion.

Emotions

Fear and anxiety is a circle of fire that ignites and fuels itself. If left unchecked it will just progress and worsen.

Checking is a particularly anxious behaviour; checking reports, news, social media feeds, checking our bodies, checking out other people – excessive checking will lead to more anxiety.

Structure & Routine

Another way of looking at this is that we have been given the gift of some time.

Change and realignment is now thrust upon us, but is it a curse or a gift?

It’s our attitude and perspective that determines this.

So set your sleep times, your waking times, and structure your day around work, rest and play.

The day of my friend in Wexford, Dermot Rafter, looks like this: “I have set a daily schedule. I intend to do one physical task each day (cleaning, sorting, clearing); one admin task (life admin, assignment marking, work admin); and one leisure task/ activity (walk, drive, watch a movie/ TV programme). These three tasks will be punctuated with some reading.”

Sleep

I believe sleep is one the most important aspects of our self-care. Its fundamental.

Of course worry about Covid-19 will intrude. Mark Smyth Clinical Psychologist highlighted some of this, pointing our that it is understandable that we are at risk of lying in bed thinking about lots of “what ifs”; what if I get it / a family member gets it / if someone I loves gets so sick they die.

No matter how long / how many angles you think about it while lying in your bed trying to sleep, it won’t change the risks or the reality of Covid-19.

The only thing it will change is your tiredness levels and ability to think straight and emotionally cope the next day. Prioritise a good sleep routine.

Connect

Social connection is now key – we stand together or we fall individually.

Be grateful for the technology we have like telephones, video calls, Whats App, radio and TV. As social distancing and isolation becomes more the new normal, modern media will allow us to keep connected.

For young people and teenagers we may need to be more flexible regarding phone time so they can connect with their peers.

Exercise

If you are like me you may get a bit stir crazy from staying in one location all the time! I see my car as an isolation pod and load the family in and go up the bog for a walk.

We need to get out, its good for our head, heart and guts.

Tune In Real News / Tune Out Fake News

Modern media, particularly fake news, hypes things up to create click-bait headlines on social media or Whats App messages sent to us multiple times.

Now is the time to throw up a filter to catch the crap. Stick to reliable, reputable, and trustworthy sources of information such as the www.hse.ie and WHO.

Listen to one news bulletin, i.e. Six One on RTE. If anything else dramatic happens, somebody will let you know, believe me.

Set limits on your on how much information you take in as often it can be only anxiety inducing.

Perspective

Now is the time for perspective, for keeping each other safe, for supporting our healthcare staff by hand washing and social distancing, for knowing that this too will pass.

Around the world, the best scientific minds are now focused on this tricky problem.

We too can do our bit. Remember, there is more support available throughout the week every Monday and Thursday at 9pm Dr. Eddie Murphy Facebook Page.

Simple Goal Setting

Stop, Breathe & Pause

Conclusion:

My behaviour impacts on your life. And your behaviour impacts on mine.

Normally, when we hear about some problem we may think "This is nothing to do with me; I’m all right Jack."

We feel we’re disconnected and free to live our lives as we choose. covid19 is making us aware of how inter-connected we are. Each of us is essential to solving this problem. Any of us could be carrying the virus, or pass it on, without even knowing it.

We need to be responsible for ourselves but also for each other.

Covid19 has made us aware that we are "our neighbour’s keeper". So cleaning our hands and respecting new social guidelines is vitally important.

We can save each other’s lives – without ever being aware that we are.

Dr Eddie Murphy runs a psychological and counselling service in Portarlington, Co Laois. If you are organising a speaker or training for school, community, voluntary, sporting or work groups, call Dr Eddie on 087 1302899 or go to www.facebook.com/ dr.eddie.murphy.psychologist

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