From being forced to work from home rather than with colleagues, facing unemployment, home-schooling and stress of children at home 24-7, and of course, lack of contact with friends and family – all of these are major contributing factors to added stress. This stress, in turn, can lead to complex depressive symptoms that can be hard to break.
If you’re suffering from depression during Covid-19, here are some things you should know that can help you get through this harrowing time.
You’re Not Alone
For someone living with depression, feeling as though you’re alone can truly impact your mental health. When it comes to Covid-19 though, you really are NOT alone. And in fact, the entire world is being impacted. Reach out to social media groups or chat rooms where you can talk to strangers – which for people living with depression is often much easier than talking to people you are close to. There is an abundance of people in your position, and others who are willing to help.
Keep Things As Normal As Possible
One way to do this is by keeping up with daily routines. Stick to your regular bedtime and wake up time, regardless of if you’re now working from home or the office. Shower daily and keep up your regular personal hygiene habits. While it’s fun to stay in your pajamas all day occasionally, if you find you haven’t showered for a week, it’s time to get moving. Eat regularly and eat good food. Exercise – take the dog for a walk every day, or take yourself out for some fresh air.
Make Time For You
Make more time for the things you enjoy doing. You are potentially saving yourself hours of travel each week – no more long train or bus trips to work, no more school drop-offs and pickups. With that extra time, work on something you enjoy doing instead. Learn to cook amazing breakfasts that will keep the family going for hours. Sit and read a book in the sunshine of an afternoon. Play sports with the kids in the back yard. There’s plenty of things you could be doing, that you’ve “never had time for” in the past. Now, there are no excuses.
Avoid Alcohol & Drugs
Try to limit the amount of alcohol you are drinking during this time, or simply don’t drink any at all. Alcohol is a known depressant, slowing down thoughts and prompting a more relaxed state. Although it may relieve some symptoms of depression in the short term, over the longer term, excessive consumption has actually been linked to higher rates of anxiety and deeper depression. Turning to drugs is also discouraged as again – the “high” is only short-term, and self-medicating increases your risk of addiction.
Keep Informed, But Stay Positive
Finally, it’s important to stay informed during the virus pandemic, but don’t go overboard. If you are constantly watching the news filled with statistics, deaths and all the negative impacts of Covid-19, your depression is going to be heightened. Watch the news in the morning if you really have to, then forget about it until tomorrow.
It might not seem like it today, but you WILL get through this period of uncertainty. If you need to talk, get in touch today or call Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255.