Depression and anxiety are difficult to cope with during the best of times but when the world has been turned upside down because of a pandemic, fear of the unknown and the need to adapt to all of the radical changes can have a detrimental impact on people trying to manage their mental health. There are some things you can do to help reduce the stress that has come with this national emergency.
Social distancing works against people who deal with depression and anxiety. When people suffer from depression, they can find comfort and relief in the company of people who love them. Fortunately, technology can help to ease the isolation. Skype and Zoom can help connect you with loved ones on real-time video chat. It may not be the same as a real hug, it can help ease the loneliness and isolation.
Additionally, therapists have adapted to using video via telehealth to provide their patients with therapy during this stressful time. If you don’t have a therapist and feel that you need one, most are still able to take on new patients this way but be sure to make sure that your insurance plan covers it.
Make a New Routine
Whether you’ve had to adapt your job to work from home or you’ve found yourself furloughed, create a new routine for yourself that includes regular times for sleep, meal times, and exercise, all things that may have been tossed by the wayside with the disruption of structure in our lives. A daily schedule helps you take control of your life and your situation. Include time for things that you enjoy doing too.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Good sleep is vital to good mental health. Your body needs good-quality sleep (7-9 hours a night) to repair itself both physically and mentally from the events of the day. Of course, during times of high stress, it can be difficult to let the worry go so you can fall asleep. Try caffeine-free herbal teas with valerian root, lavender, lemon balm, or chamomile. When you go to bed, turn off the screens, put on some calming music or white noise, and read a good book.
It’s been proven that being outside can improve mental health. Do some yard work or gardening, play with the kids or dogs, or sit in a chair and read a book. Get out there and let the sun shine in.
Eat Healthy Foods
It may be tempting to stock up on high-calorie comfort food to help you through but your body needs the good stuff. A healthy diet filled with fruits and veggies and free of processed foods can improve your mental health.
A lot of people have found themselves with extra time on their hands. Use this time to clean the house, do all those little things that need to be done around the house that you’ve been putting off because you didn’t have the time. Or start a new hobby. Crafts, painting, drawing, or anything that occupies your time and gives you a feeling of accomplishment. Learn something new. There are online master classes for everything under the sun.
Take a Step Back From the News
It’s important to stay informed but there’s such a thing as too much news. All the tragedies and frightening stories can be overwhelming. Replace it with some positivity like a phone call to a loved one, a hobby, or something that calms you.
This goes for social media as well. It’s beneficial to use it to connect with friends and family but if your feed is full of complainers or fear-inducing memes, it’s time to take a break from it or block those people who only add negativity and stress.
Remember that this national crisis is only temporary. While there is a lot of uncertainty at the moment, things will get better. States will begin to open and life will move forward again. In the meantime, if you’re experiencing distress related to COVID-19, call the national Disaster Distress Helpline at (800)985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 to speak to a counselor.
If you or a loved one is suffering from MDD and is unable to find relief from symptoms using antidepressants, Gateway TMS may be able to help. At Gateway TMS, we provide Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation using state-of-the-art equipment in a relaxed atmosphere to help our patients achieve relief or in some cases, total remission from the symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder. We’re one of the leading providers of TMS treatments for symptoms of Depression in the St. Louis area. Call us today at (314)909-8487 and find out if TMS is right for you