15 March 2022
By Tom Collins
This St. Patrick’s double bank holiday weekend is expected to bring high levels of social anxiety, according to the national mental health charity, Turn2Me. The holiday will be the first occasion of extended celebrations where all restrictions have lifted across the country. As well as the levels of social anxiety, Turn2Me has stated that the rising cases of Covid-19 may make some people feel more on edge.
“This St. Patrick’s Day celebrations will be quite difficult for some people,” Fiona O’Malley, CEO at Turn2Me, said, “It’s the first big national celebration since restrictions have been lifted. With things going back to ‘normal’, people might find it difficult to adjust to a higher number of social interactions. Some may find it quite daunting being around crowds again, particularly with the rising Covid-19 numbers. If people want to mitigate the risk of getting Covid or passing it onto loved ones, and reducing this associated anxiety, they should keep their masks on and keep their social circles smaller.”
The organisation reported a 368% increase in people seeking support for their mental health at the height of the pandemic. Anxiety, relationship issues and depression were the most common issues reported.
Turn2Me emphasised that most social interactions can be quite positive and something to look forward to but there are also stresses that can come with social engagements.
“Many people find investing a lot of energy into socially-demanding environments quite draining,” Fiona O’Malley, said, “A double bank holiday weekend of celebrations can be exhausting for people, particularly for introverts. We’re encouraging people to avoid burnout by incorporating self-care into the long weekend. If you feel overwhelmed, go home early, reduce your alcohol intake, and don’t socially exhaust yourself. Things returning back to normal can be overwhelming for some people, particularly if their pre-lockdown pace was too fast and hectic.”
Turn2Me is encouraging people to sign up for their free support groups in anxiety, depression, grief and relationship issues. For more information, go to Turn2Me.ie