The weather might have been beautiful this summer, but most of us have been stuck inside. As if having summer taken away wasn’t enough, many people have lost their jobs, and social distancing has left many people with depression during Covid-19- feeling overwhelmed, lonely, and hopeless.
Even though this despair is temporary, at times, it doesn’t feel like that. We’re not sure when life will get back to normal, but in the meanwhile, dealing with it through binge-eating or drinking too much will only make that downward spiral worse. To combat those negative feelings, in the meantime we’ve come up with 6 coping mechanisms to deal with depression during Covid-19.
Find Some Form of Physical Activity
When all else fails, get the endorphins going. Although we all respond differently with depression during Covid-19, a structured home workout might make you feel good and provide a sense of routine where there is none. However, if you have trouble sourcing that motivation, an outdoor exercise like rollerblading, biking, or jogging will help invigorate you without feeling too much like a workout.
Instead of masking up at a crowded store and indulging in some retail therapy, do a hike with a rewarding view. Or, even just lay out in the sun on a blanket with a good book, if you don’t feel like being active. Soaking in Vitamin D and being around nature can help you release that internalized anxiety or depression and provide a healthy distraction, along with a real reminder to stay grounded.
Seek Out Sources of Familiarity and Comfort
Maybe it’s your mom’s Mac and cheese recipe, reruns of The Office, or some Youtube clips that make you laugh while you’re in the state of depression during COVID-19. It could just be snuggling up with your pet, or listening to your favorite songs. This act is kind of like hugging yourself. Remind yourself of the tiny moments of enjoyment in life, and the big picture won’t seem so overwhelming.
Connect with Others in a Genuine Way
Catching up over small talk can help you meet your daily quota of human interaction, but is it connecting with someone? During Covid-19 use your support network and get your loved ones to listen to your struggles when you’re experiencing depression. Opening up and being vulnerable is never easy, but it is incredibly courageous to do and makes it feel more comfortable to reach out for help the next time. Opening up about your troubles does not make you a burden – it deepens your bond.
Eat Mood-Enhancing Foods
While eating comfort food or McDonald’s might make you feel right at the moment, you’ll crash eventually and feel even worse than you did. Try to consume healthy and fresh foods filled with omega-3 fatty acids and other essential nutrients. Think roasted salmon and wild berry salad. It still sounds pretty decadent to us!
Staying informed is essential, but so is taking care of your mental health and taking a break. Consider unplugging from social media and the news at least a couple of times a week, so that you don’t start obsessively checking for updates. There’s loads of misinformation out there, and educating yourself with it will breed even more misinformed fear. You can always check conspiracy theories on Snopes.
Battling depression during Covid-19 can be difficult to manage. Recognizing the “triggers” will help you make the lifestyle changes that are required to get you out of those “blues”.