I am a little MAD……. and also, quite SAD

MAD because despite all the efforts we made to operate under new stringent measures we are closing once more.

SAD because I can see the sincere disappointment and feeling of anxiety in members facing into another lockdown, especially those that have very little interaction with others, such as many of our older members, but also those across all demographics that really need their exercise, for their head perhaps… more so than their bodies.

So how does this lockdown differ from the last?
Well, the clocks are moving back, therefore evenings are darker for longer. Also, you could say the weather at this time of year is temperamental, to say the least! Both of these factors are the main reasons that this lockdown will be tougher.

Another underlying factor that I am aware of from talking to people is that layer of anxiety from the constant conflicting information about COVID and as we have very little to talk about other than COVID due to restrictions, sometimes it can get just a little too much.

In my personal opinion I think `the powers that be` are missing a trick here:

If you do not have your mental health, everything in your life becomes affected! If a society doesn’t have its mental health, society suffers. Plain & simple.

Your mental health should be treated like a newborn baby, with serious care and attention.

I wish that governments in this country had found all this new `easy to come by cash in fighting COVID`, to fight the declining mental health of this nation over the last 10-15 years. I wish also that all this fantastic money could have been used to tackle the ever-increasing waistlines we are experiencing year after year after year, which incidentally, increases your risk of ill health or death no matter what disease or ailment you have. If there is one fact we can all agree on and that has been proven during this year, is that being overweight and unfit leaves you much more vulnerable to viruses such as COVID…. and for that matter, any virus that is out there. There are exceptions as there always are, but being overweight and unfit definitely does not help.
Cheap calorific food and alcohol sold by supermarkets may bring in lots of money to the exchequer but in reality, it is destroying our health mentally and physically.

In times of lockdown, in relation to alcohol, it is destroying families, especially in poorer more vulnerable households.

So, I really wish to appeal to anyone reading this to please… please… please…look after your mental health and the health of those around you where possible during this period.

Here are a few things that may help if you are finding things tough:

Routine. If you have far too much time on your hands, find a routine. This routine may be small and meaningless but sticking to some routine can give you purpose in your day. Purpose is a must for most human beings and a small insignificant purpose is much better than no purpose at all! FIND PURPOSE.

Exercise. Exercise every-day. This can be for 5, 10, 20 minutes, or whatever you choose. Exercise releases Serotonin and Dopamine which will help elevate your mood. Find ways to exercise.

Food. Avoid where possible too much in the way of foods that will increase your sugar levels drastically. The sudden increase in sugar in your system will be met with a sudden drop in sugar. This sudden drop can bring down our mood along with it. Everyone needs their treats, but if treats are very regular in your diet, its not a good thing

Alcohol. Often people use alcohol for its anxiolytic effect and for a time it may relieve you of some of your anxieties. However, alcohol is a depressant, the next day you may feel down and a little helpless as a result of the day before. Study the effects of alcohol on your mood personally and if it makes you more depressed the next day…or more agitated…or more aggravated, maybe it is time to think about reducing the amount you consume, or even maybe give it a miss entirely.

Talking. It really helps to talk to people. We are all generally social animals at heart. The lack of conversation can lead us all down a tougher path. Pick up the phone and talk, or text. Just have a conversation. If you know someone who could really do with a chat during this lonely time, go for it! More often than not you won’t regret it.

In the North of Ireland, leaders have understood the benefit of keeping gyms open for individual training, as of today gyms in Liverpool are also allowed to stay open. Who knows, perhaps our government may see the logic too.

I won’t hold my breath.

I sincerely hope you, your family, and friends look after both your physical & mental health over this period.

Members. We fully intend to honor any time lost on your membership as before.

Declan Nugent
Avena Manager