Coping Strategies with Depression during Covid-19 Pandemic
The Covid-19 pandemic has caused authorities to prohibit people from interacting outside of one’s immediate family circle. Physical-distancing, while necessary to protect and slow the spread of the virus, poses a very serious mental health risk. Now more than ever before people are experiencing feelings of depression.
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization estimated that 264 million people worldwide suffer from some form of depression. Due to self-isolation, that number is inevitably increasing. There are additional stressors, which make people susceptible to this type of situational depression. These stressors could include a financial burden due to a loss of income, a loss of a loved one due to the virus, or a family member who could be in the hospital. Not being able to meet with friends or extended family can add to feelings of depression.
Symptoms of Depression
- Feelings of sadness or emptiness
- Diminished interest or pleasure in usual activities
- Significant weight loss/gain
- Decrease/increase in appetite
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Slowing of thoughts and physical movements
- Fatigue or loss of energy
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Excessive or inappropriate guilt
- Diminished ability to think or concentrate
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
- Withdrawing from relationships
With an increase in depression, there is the likelihood of self-medicating with alcohol or drug use to soothe anxiety or cope with emotions like anger, sadness, and fear. It is important to establish a routine and schedule. If you are struggling, here are a few coping strategies to help keep you healthy.
If you feel anxious, spend some time on self-care, just a few minutes a day. Practice deep mindful breathing, and yoga. Meditate. This will increase positive feelings while reducing stress. Having a bath and listening to relaxing music is also a great way to calm the mind and connect with yourself. Keep a journal, and fill it with all of the things you are grateful for. Include positive affirmations to yourself. Say them out loud. Love yourself.
Movement and Exercise
If you feel angry or frustrated, channel that energy into movement and exercise. It is a great way to improve your mood. Crank up your favourite song and dance like no one’s watching, because they’re not. This is the best time to perfect those dance moves!
Detox from Social Media
Do a daily digital detox from social media. Check your phone or computer in the morning and then try not to check again until the evening. A designated time will keep endless scrolling to a minimum and allow you to have more quality time with yourself. You can read a book or an article online. Try to avoid reading about the pandemic. Watch a funny movie.
We recognize movement toward healing does not happen in isolation. We all need support. Connect with family, friends and support network. Share some laughs via video chat or telephone. Check in with friends, send uplifting texts, share or make a funny video. Maintaining friendships and daily chats will keep you feeling a sense of normalcy.
Maintaining structure and routine is key to keeping a healthy mind. In addition to these coping strategies, try to eat a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables, drink enough water and get enough sleep. There is limited human physical connection, but still there is an element of social connection in the form of social media channels or live video chat capabilities. If these coping strategies are not improving your mental health and symptoms get worse, consult a healthcare professional.
When it rains it pours, but soon, the sun shines again. Stay positive. Better days are on their way. If you are reading this, reach out to a friend and offer a sympathetic ear. We are all in this together, do not despair, you are not alone.