Switching off


Switching off and giving some time to yourself to do the things you enjoy doing is so important in looking after your mental wellbeing. Simple activities like being creative, learning something new, spending time in nature or practising relaxation, can help to restore and revive our spirits and help us to keep ourselves well.

Make a plan

With everything that we all have going on in our lives, be it looking after children, working, managing the home, or caring for elderly relatives it can be really hard to find the time for ourselves. Making a plan that includes this time for self-care can really help with your overall wellbeing. Having a scheduled time dedicated to ourselves will help us to feel more in control and less overwhelmed.

So make sure to carve out some time to engage in an activity that you enjoy and that will allow you to be distracted from what is going on around you.

New initiatives this winter

Rewarding reads

Rewarding reads is a new campaign from Libraries Ireland and Creative Ireland that is celebrating irish writers and encouraging people of all ages to discover the joy or reading. Libraries have a wealth of books for all ages and interests as well as online library services including free access to eBooks and audiobooks. Join online at librariesireland.ie/join or by contacting your local library.

COVID care concerts

COVID care concerts are a new initiative developed by Mobile Music Machine and supported by the Creative Ireland Programme and Healthy Ireland. This series involves some of Ireland’s finest classical musicians and opera singers presenting live, outdoor socially distanced concerts in the gardens and grounds of residential care homes and hospital settings across Ireland.

Christmas crafts

The Design & Crafts Council Ireland have developed Christmas crafts, a series of creative activities and projects to promote well-being and resilience during the COVID-19 crisis. 45 Guilds, Associations, Networks and Societies (GANS) throughout Ireland, will develop creative content for a series of community and online activities.

Tips to help you to switch off

  • turn off – have a certain time everyday to check your social media and the latest news as relentless checking can lead to increased anxiety and stress. Ensure that you rely on trusted sources for information such as the HSE and the Department of Health, as rumour and misinformation can cause undue distress
  • exercise - exercise is great to relieve stress and improve your mood. We've got some great tips here
  • practise some relaxation techniques
  • read a book or listen to a story - You can join the library online at libraries.ie and download e-books to read on your own device
  • do something creative
  • do an online yoga class
  • FaceTime a friend for a chat
  • watch a funny film or TV show
  • YouTube offers a huge variety of tutoring videos for all sorts of interests from cooking to playing guitar, and is a great resource to get you started doing something you enjoy
  • if you would like to get more into cooking or baking, following your favourite TV chefs on social media is a great way to find new and exciting recipes for you to try out and wow the whole family
  • libraries also have a huge variety of magazines that can be downloaded digitally through their RBDigital app, and you should be able to find one to match your particular hobby!
  • if sport and exercise are more your thing, contact Sport Ireland or your local sports partnership for advice and ideas

Being creative

There is a strong connection between being creative and improved mental wellbeing.

Now that more of our time will be spent at home, it is a great opportunity to pick up an old hobby or start a new one. Doing something creative can not only help you to develop new skills but can also improve your self-esteem and social connections.

Creative Ireland is working with Local Authorities to offer localised creative initiatives in their areas. These initiatives may include:

  • engaging with historical laces and sites in their locality
  • live, mobile, and pop up entertainment in various settings
  • creative photography
  • utilisation of spaces and places for Arts

The Design and Crafts Council Ireland YouTube channel has many step-by-step interactive workshops and short video tutorials in their Get Ireland Making Programme.

On this channel you can:

  • draw or paint
  • learn a new song
  • do an online dance class
  • try knitting and sewing
  • cook or bake

Reading and writing stories

Reading and writing stories is a great way to distract yourself from all that is going on around you. Immersing yourself in a story, or creating a story of your own can help you to relax and de-stress during these challenging times.

Spend time in nature

Being outdoors can help to reduce anxiety, improve your mood and even increase your self-esteem. Spending quality time in nature is a great way to improve your mental wellbeing and help you to keep well.

  • Waterways Ireland has developed lots of practical educational content for primary school children for activity at home or in nature. They share links and inspirational content for families to use over the coming weeks of social distancing. Activities planned include a Bugs and Beasties workshop for Halloween
  • Incredible Edibles have a range of activities on their website, from resources to help children learn about different foods, to tips on gardening
  • spending time visiting our national heritage sites is a great way to spend some quality time outdoors. Heritage Ireland will be running some online events over Halloween, so check out their Facebook page for more information
  • Grow It Yourself has great tips and ideas for the budding gardening enthusiast. The website includes a useful month by month calendar giving ideas for what to sow/harvest/or prepare that month. And don’t think it is too late to start gardening this year, there are some handy winter veg that can still be sown!
  • Grow It Yourself are also launching their Grow it Forward programme, which is designed to help the nation eat well by inspiring and supporting people to grow, cook and eat some of their own food at home. Participants will register through their local library to grow some of their own food with a free GIY starter kit and encouraged to ‘grow it forward’ to 9 others by passing on seeds, seedlings or produce
  • Bord Bia have a wonderful gardening section on their website, with useful growing tips, information on the benefits of gardening, and lots more