'The team is back together but keeping well apart' - Dr Eddie Murphy

Dr Eddie Murphy

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Dr Eddie Murphy

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'The team is back together but keeping well apart' - Dr Eddie Murphy

In studio, presenter Kathryn Thomas will be linking to the families at home In studio, presenter Kathryn Thomas will be linking to the families at home

Dr Eddie Murphy is a clinical psychologist, author and mental health expert. ONLINE CBT - STOP DEPRESSION - STOP ANXIETY - available at https://stratushealthcare.ie/mental-wellbeing/

THE Operation Transformation team have been requested to get back together by the Department of Health and the HSE in order to support people with trusted advice and guidance during this Covid-19 crisis.

Fundamentally, with cocooning, self-isolation, and physical distancing, the bottom line is that never before has our collective health depended more on our ability to stay apart. Over the past weeks we've seen huge efforts across the country to do just that in a collective effort to protect ourselves, our loved ones and the most vulnerable in our society.

As a worker in the HSE, I am proud of these efforts we are making as a nation. They are having a significant impact, as with each positive case of Covid-19 diagnosed, there are now fewer contacts to be traced than there were at the start of the pandemic.

Irish people are by nature connected, lively, gregarious and social. Our new way of living is not something that comes naturally to us, and, as our time in separation increases, it may become more difficult to keep up our collective efforts. With isolation on top of the pandemic comes added stress and anxiety.

Consequently, in the upcoming RTÉ programme Operation Transformation: Keeping Well Apart, the team from Operation Transformation are back to try and help people get through these challenging times.

Focus on Health - Not Weighing In

To be clear from the outset, there is no weight loss components to this series. It is about health and wellness. This is a special series of Operation Transformation where nobody steps on the scales and nobody has a weekly target.

It is about providing our featured households, who represent the complexity of impositions and restrictions imposed on us during the lockdown, with the tools to sustain our collective effort.

At the heart of any series of Operation Transformation is people sharing their lives and experiences and, in doing so, helping others. In studio Kathryn Thomas will be linking to the families at home. We will see how they are getting on and the experts will be there to offer ideas on food, exercise and mental well-being.

I will be providing sound mental health guidance and advice. Our resident GP, Dr Sumi Dunne, will be on hand to advise people on their health concerns. Dietician Aoife Hearne will be offering ideas on meal planning, weekly shops and there will be helpful ‘how to cook’ videos available online. Finally, fitness expert Karl Henry will be showing people key areas of movement.

When this is all over the ‘hugs are going to be mighty’

We are in a battle against this pandemic. As it's going to be with us for a significant period of time, it will shape how we live into the future. It’s challenging for so many - for older people, for people living with others they don’t like, for families with children with disability; the list goes on. Fundamentally, we are in a massive period of change. In general, humans are not good with change. What I do believe and I do think about is that when this is all over the “hugs are going to be mighty”.

The upcoming television programme is about the experts and the participants sharing their knowledge and real-life experience to help others. We have to stay apart to keep well, and this brings a unique set of challenges to us all. Nobody is immune to the stress and disruption of routine. In our house, we are in social isolation as my wife Carol falls into the vulnerable group, having had treatment for significant cancer a number of years ago.

Oisin and Darragh, our boys, are obviously out of school and out of routine. We are engaged in refereeing many rows and conflicts — no doubt something we have in common with many other families.

Despite my efforts to push the kids out to kick ball between themselves there is a reluctance to leave the house. As frustrating as this is, it probably reflects their desire to be near their parents as these are not normal times.

I think I will be supporting families in many of these areas. What I do know is that there is no perfect solution to the Covid-19 crisis - it’s an imperfect world. However, I do know that self-compassion and kindness is where we need to be at in terms of ourselves and others. Let’s stick with that.