Toward the beginning of the pandemic, most of the world was facing uncertainty and confusion, leading to a drastic increase in anxiety and depression. Months later, these feelings and sensations have not disappeared. For many, depression surrounding the pandemic has only worsened with time. As case numbers rise and businesses fluctuate between opening and closing, it’s hard to hold on to a sense of normalcy.
Around this time, you might be missing your friends and family a little bit more than you thought possible. You might even be deeply missing your favorite barista or waitress, and that is completely valid. It’s important to note that always, but especially while living through a pandemic, whatever you are feeling is valid. There is no “right” way to truly process everything happening in the world right now, so allow yourself to feel whatever comes your way.
Coping with depression is a heavy weight. Especially with less structure in daily life, simply getting out of bed might seem impossible some days. Other days, it might be getting no sleep at all. Depression is felt in an endless variety of ways, with each encounter being a deeply personal experience. Dealing with depression can lead to a sharp decline in your physical health, including your strength, energy, skin, hair, and more.
In a typical “funk,” or depressive episode, getting out and spending time with friends might typically be the best option. Whether you don’t feel safe doing this or simply can’t bring yourself to do so, though, there are ways to cope with depression from home. If you are suffering from severe depression, it is best to reach out to a professional. For some simple tactics, though, keep reading for a few ways to cope with depression during this pandemic.
Try to make gratitude a daily habit
Gratitude can be extremely challenging during times like these. It seems as though every time you open your phone or turn on the news, there’s something new weighing you down. With this being the case, it’s more important than ever to remind ourselves of what we do have. Practicing daily gratitude doesn’t have to be a formal ritual, as you can practice it in whatever way feels most comfortable. You can keep a physical journal, a running note on your phone, or simply think/speak them each day. Consider all things in your life, big or small, for which you are grateful.
Follow a schedule
Whether you aren’t currently in the office or your classes aren’t in session, not having a set schedule can be detrimental to your mental health. To help combat this, set your own schedule. Fill your day with activities to keep you busy, including activities such as exercise, journaling, cooking, phone calls with loved ones, and much more. Whatever can keep your mind and body busy during the day, do it. The more you are up and going, the less you will find yourself trapped in your own mind.
Spend time outside
Getting outside is a great way to lift your spirits if your heart is feeling heavy. Just a few minutes outside gives you your daily dose of vitamin D, and that extra bit of fresh air always helps the soul. Go for a walk around the block or even just sit outside for a bit, enjoying nature as the world sits still for a bit. This is a great time to journal, meditate, or follow some simple yoga.
Reach out to others
Though the world is practicing social distancing, don’t emotionally distance yourself from others. When you find yourself feeling low, make a list of people you know you can contact. Keep this list close to heart, and utilize it as often as possible. Even if you don’t want to talk about how you’re feeling, simply connecting with others can make you feel less alone, easing anxiety and depression. While talking about your feelings is healthy and encouraged, talking about lighthearted topics can help your mind find a place of peace.
Your mental and physical health matter tremendously, and it’s understandable if they have been affected by this pandemic. When faced with the heavy weight of depression, though, remember these small tips and know that you are not alone.