Mental Health Matters

COLUMN: Cherry picker workouts and home haircuts

Dr Eddie Murphy

Reporter:

Dr Eddie Murphy

COLUMN: Cherry picker workouts and home haircuts

Fitness expert Karl Henry, who is terrified of heights, took a cherry picker up to Ann's apartment balcony to do a workout

I hope you are all doing well. As many of you know, I work as a principal psychologist in the HSE. I can tell you there is a great concerted team effort in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Psychology colleagues, along with other health care professionals, are manning swabbing stations and assessment clinics. This collective healthcare effort, and with us all keeping our distance, is also keeping us well.
I go over to see my parents who are cocooning, and sitting in the garden, keeping two to three metres apart, we chat away.
They are active and feel the pressure of the lockdown and not being able to go out for walks, but I suspect that restriction will be lifted soon. The old Chinese proverb says ‘may you live in interesting times’; well we certainly are!
Operation Transformation - Keeping Well Apart has two weeks left on our screens. It has been very interesting. I miss the camaraderie of the studio and the craic in the Mansion House with the team; however, I am focused on keeping safe with my wife Carol, who is in the vulnerable population as she is post cancer treatment.
Here’s a look at how our households got on last week

The Ryan-Mongey family, Dublin
This week, dad Ray’s anxiety was of concern, including his rituals of excessive hand washing. Now, it's important to know that hand washing is important but excessive hand washing can be an anxiety-based behaviour and a sign that our mental wellbeing is out of kilter.
Post-shopping Ray washes down all the items he has bought. I have no problem with that, even though Safefood says there is no need, I think it’s understandable.
Then Ray washes his hands, and does it again, and again, and again. One good wash is enough. Follow-up washing is an anxious behaviour. The paradox is that the second, third and fourth handwashing adds to anxiety and does not take away from it.
So, the advice for you is, if you find that you are getting only temporary relief and your anxiety is increasing – do one good wash, then stop.
Mum Emma is trying to pry her ukelele from all the children and she’s learning to play; I can’t wait to hear the results.

Ann Brophy, Dublin
It was a great surprise when our fitness expert Karl Henry got up on a cherry picker and went up three storeys to do a work out session with our cocooning participant Ann, who lives in an apartment.
By the way, Karl is afraid of heights, he was terrified! He’s Ireland's most committed Personal Trainer. He is trying to show Ann how to strengthen her glutes – her bum muscles!
The interaction between Karl and Ann is great, it shows the importance of humour in hard times, and, in fairness, Ann has a brilliant sense of humour that helps her with her darker times.

The Ryan family, Cappamore, Co Limerick
One thing I admire about Sarah and Dave is their ability to adapt and take on board guidance and advice.
Dave cutting four-year-old Cooper’s hair and Cooper wishing for his hair back was a laugh out loud moment for me!
The commencement of routine and structure, some positive behavioural interventions, outside walking and food hacks all have played a role. But the biggest factor is the openness of Sarah and Dave to put advice into action. I have worked with many people, and despite guidance and advice from me, change doesn’t happen when there is no motivation to change.

Claire Beakhurst, Dublin
Claire was originally meant to be an Operation Transformation leader last January, but was forced to pull out before the series began for medical reasons.
She is now back, along with her daughter Emma, aged six.
The biggest upset was when Claire, who is a single mum, was asked to leave her daughter outside a major supermarket. Imagine that, leaving your daughter outside. Shocking.
My view is that we need to turn the volume up on our compassion and kindness and tune down the judgement. Unless we walk in someone’s else’s shoes we can’t judge. Claire is the ‘always on’ mum – her challenge is to find moments to mind herself.
I have made some more videos on mental wellbeing and they are available on the Operation Transformation Facebook page and website. Remember too I am on Facebook Live at 9pm every Thursday night, where the antidote to fear is care and connection.