Handling Depression During Covid-19
Covid-19 has taken a toll on everybody. Whether mentally or physically, the lingering sense of uncertainty and the continuous lockdowns and quarantines have left many people feeling out of control, anxious and even depressed. If Covid has triggered depressive symptoms at one stage or another for you, it’s helpful to know that it’s not out of your control. There are various ways to handle depression brought about by covid.
1. Turn off the news
Being inundated with opinions, news stories and devastating information can cause unneeded stress about issues you simply can’t control. What you can control is the amount of information you consume, so turning off the tv or the news app frequently is okay. It’s more than okay, it’s good!
2. Count your breaths
If you do find yourself becoming overwhelmed, take a seat, close your eyes and do nothing besides paying attention to the feeling of the rise and fall of your chest as you inhale and exhale. Focusing on the breath will calm you down and recenter you in moments of distress or anxiety.
Moving your body, whether inside with an at-home workout app or outside with your own creativity, offers tons of positive benefits to your mental and physical health. If you feel cooped up and depressed because of quarantine, make sure you’re getting in at least a thirty-minute stroll around your neighborhood, especially during sunny days.
Committing to a routine bed and wakeup time is essential for managing depression during Covid-19. A sleeping schedule keeps you from staying up late watching videos on social media, which not only harms your eyeballs, but keeps you from falling asleep quickly. And a wakeup time keeps you accountable and productive, giving you more hours in the day to tackle your routine.
5. Eat healthy
Did you know that certain foods increase depressive symptoms? By eating lots of colorful veggies, chicken, fish and fruits, and staying away from highly processed, sugary food and drinks, you can keep yourself energized, your immune system boosted and potential quarantine-based depressive symptoms at bay.
6. Minimize alcohol intake
Alcohol isn’t just tough on your body, it’s dangerous to mix with depression. In order to avoid falling into the trap of unhealthy coping with alcohol, keep consumption to a minimum, or not at all.
7. Talk to your people
With quarantines and stay at home mandates, it’s become increasingly difficult to stay in touch with friends and family. But this makes it all the more important to strive to stay in touch! Talking with the important people in your life about what you’re experiencing, whether it be depression, anxiety or quarantine-induced boredom, helps you gain new and healthy perspectives on the situation.
8. Create a routine
Routines help everyone, but especially during Covid, when everything seems to be up in the air, creating and committing to a routine demands accountability. This will keep you active and dedicated, and less likely to fall into sluggish, unmotivated patterns of behavior.
9. Start a gratitude journal
Writing down three to five things you’re grateful for is a marvelous way to focus on the positives in your life. When you take the time to think about the good moments of each day, you’re less likely to feel weighed down by the negatives which come and go.
10. Stay connected with your emotions
If you begin to feel the symptoms of depression, are struggling with loneliness or feel overwhelmed with stress, it’s not a sign of weakness. It’s good to acknowledge how you feel and to take a look at the environment which caused these feelings. Adjust what you can, such as removing yourself from certain situations, and what you can’t adjust, let go.
11. Get outside
Sunshine is one of the best cures for the blues. Whether you go on a walk, work in the garden or simply swing in a hammock and stare at the sky, basking in the sunshine will both relax you and boost your mood.
12. Set a goal
Working towards something, like finishing a DIY project or training the dog, helps keep you motivated and dedicated, and gives you a sense of accomplishment when you successfully achieve it! No matter what kind of goal you set, taking small but concrete steps to meet it will leave you feeling complete and confident.
13. Take a break
Life is a lot and sometimes it’s okay to say no and rest. Self-care is an important part of any therapy, so implementing time for yourself in your routine is a must.
14. Write a letter
Not only will it give you something external to focus on, but it will mean a lot to the person you send it to. Letting someone else know you care by simply checking in can do wonders for both your mental health and theirs.
15. Invest in a hobby
Doing what brings you joy, such as crafting, yardwork or cleaning the house til it gleams, can do wonders for your mood. Putting aside the screens and investing time in your personal interests can help beat boredom and get those healthy creativity gears in your brain working like they used to when you were a kid.
16. Talk to someone who can help
Reaching out to a counseling service, such as Mazzitti & Sullivan EAP, can offer support and professional advice when you need it most. Whether it be depression or anxiety brought about by quarantine or Covid-19 or the like, you can rest assured that contacting a counseling center will get you the help you need during times when you need it most.
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