Former First Lady, Michelle Obama, revealed last week that just like many other Americans, she is battling “low-grade depression.” According to recent polling, 1 out of 3 Americans are dealing with symptoms of stress and or anxiety. (1) It is easy to understand why in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Jobs have been lost, people are much more socially isolated than usual and parents are homeschooling their children. In addition to financial and social stressors, the change in routine alone is enough to rattle some people. No one knows for certain when life will return to normal, so it is crucial for us all to pay special attention to mental health at this time. (2)
Some people may find themselves drinking too much, abusing drugs, or overeating junk food in an attempt to self-medicate and deal with stress. While these methods may provide brief relief, we all know they will only compound depression in the long run. A proactive approach to mental well-being is the best route to take. Rather than waiting for a crisis to react to, why not adopt some positive behaviors to counteract depressed moods during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Here are some suggestions
Know the Facts: Arm yourself with accurate information about COVID-19. A good resource is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) https://www.cdc.gov
Get Moving: Exercise may be one of the last things you feel like doing when you are depressed. But it just so happens it is also one of the quickest, proven ways to elevate your mood.
Eat Healthy: When we are bored or stressed, we may turn to food for comfort. Avoid those unhealthy fats, sugars, and refined carbs, along with too much caffeine and alcohol. Focus on nutrient-rich vegetables, fruit, proteins, and whole grains.
Quality Sleep: Just as your mood can impact your quality of sleep, poor sleep can help put you in a foul mood. Make sure you are maintaining good sleeping habits by keeping a regular sleep schedule and getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
Relaxation: Incorporating meditation, breathing exercises, or massage into your schedule can provide a welcome break from the cycle of negative thinking, as well as relieve tension and anxiety.
Months of social distancing and isolation have fueled depression for many of us. The love and support of our family and friends can be more important than ever. Troubled relationships may become even more strained while strong ones can be tested.
The fear and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 is bound to cause concern, but depression can make things seem worse than they really are. Try to remember that depression is the enemy of objectivity. By recognizing that, you can begin focusing and taking steps toward optimism.
Find new ways to engage with others. With Covid-19 restrictions still in place, meeting friends and family in person may still be difficult. This does not mean you have to feel like you are alone. Try chatting over Zoom or FaceTime on the phone, or via text to help you feel more connected. It’s crucial to recognize when depression seems to push you towards isolation and to resist.
If your depression symptoms continue for more than a few weeks, it may be time to consider professional help. Feel free to contact us at Harmony to discuss your options for care. (704) 970-4106 or https://www.harmonyrecoverync.com/