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We face long haul so our mental health is crucial






So, we face into week three of extraordinary measures against coronavirus. And we know that we face at least another fortnight of what amounts to a 'lockdown'. In reality, most us already suspect that we are less likely to see any major change by next Sunday week, which also happens to be Easter Sunday, April 12.

All the best advice tells us that maintaining a routine is important. Many of us know from our experience and observing neighbours and friends that a huge proportion of the population has embarked on a campaign of cleaning, painting and gardening to beneficially pass this testing time.

It's very important to keep going and doing whatever possible. But let us all also admit that staying within 2km of home is tough. So we need to be kind to ourselves and each other in this time of test.

There will be rows within households. Let us acknowledge that and face it honestly.

What is far more important is how we manage these rows and forgive one another. Let us tolerate our loved ones' flaws and foibles and move ever onward.

We must cling to the reality that this testing time too will pass and that there are far better times coming soon. As we deal with the threats associated with coronavirus, we must also acknowledge the danger to our mental health. That is why it is vital that we be gentle with ourselves and all of those around us.

The vast majority of people will respect the strictures placed upon our daily lives. The opinion polls tell us that most people know that these precautionary measures are necessary to curb the spread of this awful virus.

For the minority who do not respect the new regime, there will surely be consequences. It is reassuring to know that An Garda Síochána intends to approach policing these new rules in a positive spirit in the reasonable expectation that people will co-operate.

It reminds us again of the benefits of having a largely unarmed and civilian police force which works on the basis of consensus and respect.

Many of our European neighbours in contrast have an armed militia with a propensity to resort to coercion.

Let us keep all those things in mind as we go about our newly constrained daily lives.

We are fortunate too that this crisis has occurred in springtime when daylight is increasing and we have been blessed with many dry and sunny days. Had this occurred in the depths of winter the potential for gloom would have been compounded.

We can use the coming days in part at least for some rest and reflection. Worrying or fretting will not help us.

So, let's try to stay positive and help those around us to keep their morale up.

When all of this finally does pass we can celebrate and party.

Keeping those plans in view can help us muddle through these very strange times.

For now let's just rest, reflect and get through.

Irish Independent