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Dublin: 17 °C Friday 7 August, 2020
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Wine, exercise and online quiz nights: Taoiseach and ministers say how they're minding their mental health

Leo is missing the gym.

Leo and Paschal in the gym some years back before social distancing.
Leo and Paschal in the gym some years back before social distancing.
Image: Sam Boal

“IT’S A DIFFICULT time for everybody,” Children’s Minister Katherine Zappone said today after launching the government’s new campaign to help the public look after each other during the Covid-19 crisis. 

Everyone is trying to stay occupied, and sometimes trying new things in order to pass the time and stay connected with loved ones. 

So, what is the Taoiseach, Health Minister Simon Harris and Minister Zappone doing to keep their mental health in check during the public health emergency?

Leo Varadkar said he is focusing on exercise.

“I’m definitely missing the gym. But I’m still managing to get some exercise, pretty much every day. That really helps,” he said.

Other than that, he is also a fan on the odd online quiz.

“Staying in touch with friends by Skype and House Party and all these new apps I’m learning to use, so it’s an online quiz tonight,” he said.

Harris said it is the little things that keep him grounded at this time, such as getting home to his daughter. 

“I see my baby daughter and even she doesn’t care if there is a global pandemic,” he said, pointing out she just wants her nappy changed.

“It reminds us of the important things in life,” he said.

Zappone is a fan of the Zoom call, but she said everyone, including politicians, are having tough days during this upheaval.

“You’re probably looking at three people who are pretty strong, mentally, and have good mental health usually, but I can speak for myself, and that’s probably true of my colleagues here, it’s still a very difficult time, and there are days when you feel lower than other days… that’s normal,” she said.

“What am I doing? I’m looking forward to Friday night, my Friday night Zoom call, with wine, tea or Heineken Zero, which the Taoiseach actually introduced me to. I also do a bit of walking etc,” she said, adding that she also enjoys having a “gate chat” with her neighbours. 

With all that in mind, it’s Friday evening – what are you doing this evening to mind your mental health? And what other tips do you have for looking after your wellbeing? Share in the comments below.

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