Featured Image Caption: Girl Sitting Alone and Depressed
Many people across all parts of the world have had to change the way that they live as a result of the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. Change is a stressful thing at the best of times, and combined with the understandable fear of becoming infected with the virus or of losing loved ones to it, that stress can quickly snowball into another kind of illness that none of us are immune to. You can call it “the blues” or “the black dog” or just plain old depression, but whatever you choose, there are so many ways you can help yourself be rid of it:
- Look after your physical health. Doing simple things like eating well, remembering to hydrate, getting enough sleep, and exercising can all have hugely beneficial effects on your mental health. These core elements will also keep your immune system functioning well which, alongside taking the recommended hygiene and distancing precautions, is one of your closest allies in protecting yourself against Covid.
- Stress is well known to have a negative impact on the immune system, so try to look after your mental health by recognizing negative thoughts when they occur, and interrupting them before they spiral out of control. Using tools such as yoga or calming breathing sequences can be highly effective in turning your mood around.
- Humans, like dogs, love routine. “Though your lifestyle may have changed as a result of the pandemic, ensure that you retain some small, normal habits that bring you joy, for example, treating yourself to your favorite snack at a set time each day” says Anabelle Windler, a psychology writer at Writinity and Research papers UK.
- Be selective in what or who you allow to affect your mood. In this day and age we are constantly bombarded by negative news and media. Consider limiting the time you spend checking for updates or even turn your notifications off, and be sure to obtain the information that you do require from sources that you trust to give you honest facts.
- Do use the information that you have available to you to reassure yourself and provide some perspective where possible. Although the pandemic remains a serious global issue, the bare statistics show that the likelihood of death (particularly in young, healthy people) once having contracted the infection is still relatively low. Take comfort in knowing that most people who do contract Coronavirus recover well, or show very few symptoms at all.
- Social distancing and staying away from scare-mongering social media does not mean stopping social interactions all together. Humans are sociable beings and we do rely on communication with our friends to help us feel good. Make sure you pick up the phone often to stay in touch with your loved ones because as the saying goes; “a problem shared is a problem halved.”
- For the occasions in which you feel that you can’t talk to somebody, a good alternative is to process your feelings by writing them down. Feelings of anxiety can build up over time, so physically releasing them by putting pen to paper can be relaxing. “You can even give your writing a focus that will help you to turn your negatives into positives, to find solutions to problems, and to highlight the things that you are grateful about in your life” says Kyle Schinner, a health blogger at Draft Beyond and Last minute writing.
- Not only can sharing your own problems with others help to reduce them, but you will also find that the activity of contributing to your community in whatever way you can will help you feel good in itself. Being kind to other people will teach you how to be kind to yourself, and give you a reason to keep going.
- Talking of reasons to keep going, filling your days with productive activities can be a really useful distraction from the anxieties of the world. This is a great time to find a new hobby or to practice a skill you’ve been meaning to develop for years.
- If you develop symptoms, don’t panic! We have all developed a greater tendency towards hypochondria as a result of this crisis, but remember that lots of the symptoms of Covid-19 such as coughing or sneezing can be caused by other quite harmless things. Common colds and allergies are still around, so monitor your health over time before jumping to worst-case-scenario conclusions.
Beating depression takes time. None of these suggestions are an overnight fix or will work for everybody, but if you invest time in nurturing yourself and apply these tips in a way that suits you, you may even find that they continue to serve you long after this pandemic becomes history. Of course, if you still feel depressed, there is always professional help readily available online or over the phone from qualified doctors and therapists who will listen confidentially and provide further treatment.
By Angela Douglas
who is a business coach and blogger at Lucky Assignments Edinburgh and Gum essays. Born in Connecticut, Angela is an entrepreneur who had founded her own showroom at the age of 21. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and writing about her experiences.