Thursday 20 October 2016

#MindYourself - How do our politicians deal with stress?

Published 20/11/2015 | 02:30

Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Taoiseach Enda Kenny

1 Taoiseach Enda Kenny - Fine Gael TD for Mayo

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I try to keep things in perspective, always remembering the real stresses and terrible strain our people have been through. For relaxation, hopping on the bike has always been the big one for me. I also like to do a bit of hill-walking - really anything that gets me out in the fresh air.

2 Minister for Children James Reilly - Fine Gael TD for Dublin North

Politics is stressful. You don't realise just how much until you take a break. I try to deal with stress by going for a walk on Rush beach very early in the morning. It gets the blood flowing. I have a place down the country and enjoy chopping wood. We have great walks in Ireland. If you go to the top of Nag's Head the view is magnificent. They say the Pyrenees are wild - but what about a walk on the Silvermines mountains.

3 Tánaiste Joan Burton - Labour TD for Dublin West

Like anyone else, politicians make mistakes. The trick is to recognise those mistakes and remedy them. To de-stress I like walking - it's hard to beat a walk along the Barrow Canal - and gardening, and getting to the theatre or cinema.

4 Denis Naughten - Independent TD Roscommon

My constituency is now 125km long and 70 km wide so it is next to impossible to be in all areas even though you are expected to do that. I try to get out in the fresh air and do some activity, usually cycling. If all else fails, even a 15-minute walk does the trick.

5 Roisin Shortall - Social Democrats TD Dublin North West

I generally don't stress too much coming up to an election, at this stage I'm fairly philosophical about getting re-elected. I work hard and try to do my best as a TD ... if that's not good enough, so be it. Getting enough sleep can be difficult. I find that mindfulness can be very good for clearing my head.

6 Mary Mitchell O' Connor - Fine Gael TD Dun Laoghaire

Political life can be a lonely and bruising pursuit and recognising when you are stressed is key. I'm very lucky that both my parents are alive and every time I go visit them, I am instantly de-stressed. On a Sunday evening, I love to chill out and cook a wholesome home-cooked meal.

7 Minister of State Kathleen Lynch - Labour TD Cork North Central

I tend to compartmentalise issues and find it important to deal with problems one at a time. For relaxation, spending time with the family, particularly the grandchildren, is great. I also enjoy watching the soaps. As a friend said, it's "chewing gum for the mind"!

8 Shane Ross - Independent TD Dublin South

Uncertainty bedevils politicians' lives. All TDs face the possibility of being out of work by the end of February 2016. I walk or swim every day, getting up at around 6.30am. My ideal recreational time is spent going to all the home soccer matches with my grandson. I chill out by visiting my 96-year-old mother. I watch very little TV, as the news and political programmes send my blood pressure rocketing.

9 Liam Twomey TD - Fine Gael TD Wexford

(Leaving politics to return to being a GP)

Too much stress not only damages your own health but is bad for family life. De-stressing is about switching off from the stressors - turning off the mobile phone at family mealtimes. Going for long walks with or without company, but leaving the mobile phone at home.

10 Fergus O'Dowd - Fine Gael TD Louth

Yes, political life is stressful, there is always another election to worry about, always conversations with people in dire circumstances who badly need help. But it is also very rewarding. Reading history allows me to relax and enter a different world.

11 Catherine Murphy - Social Democrats TD Kildare North

Stresses I face are things like not having enough hours in the day to get on top of my workload. My coping mechanisms are to be quite organised; trust those who work with me; and work in the moment.

12 Mary Lou McDonald - Sinn Féin TD Dublin Central

TDs tend to work long hours. This can lend itself to stress. It definitely helps not to sweat the small stuff. Polling day and the count can be more stressful! I go home and focus on family, my dog Lola, and my friends.

13 Averil Power - Independent Senator and candidate Dublin Bay North

Apart from going to the gym, I have very little time for anything that's not work or election related. I take my dogs Frankie and Charlie for a long walk around Howth head. My main sport is boxing. My trainer can always tell what kind of day I've had by how hard I punch the bag!

14 Sean Fleming - Fianna Fáil TD in Laois-Offaly

Personally, I don't find political life generally stressful. But dealing with families in financial difficulties beyond their ability to resolve is difficult. I de-stress by watching 'NCIS' or 'Criminal Minds'. I watch 'Downton' with my wife sometimes, too.

15 Councillor Jack Chambers - Fianna Fáil candidate in Dublin west

Politics is definitely a high-octane life on a daily basis and it can be stressful, like many other jobs. I am involved locally and a big fan of many sports. I enjoy playing five-a-side soccer and socialising with friends.

16 Caoimhín Ó Caoláin - Sinn Féin TD Cavan-Monaghan

Most people in politics are well motivated and do their best. Undeserved criticism adds to the burden. Nothing helps more than actually getting things done. I also recommend reading a good book.

17 Billy Kelleher - Fianna Fáil TD for Cork North-Central and also Director of Elections

Political life can mean long hours away from family. The biggest pressure in the run-up to an election is that enough has been done. When I de-stress it could be with anything - music, watching TV. I exercise, and go jogging, walking and hiking - but I also spend time with family.

Irish Independent

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