Dealing with a mental illness during the Covid-19 pandemic has been one of the most difficult things anyone has had to endure. Many people have suffered mental health episodes during the pandemic even if they did not have an existing mental illness.
Being in quarantine and being flung out of your daily routine was one of the biggest contributing factors for worsening and new symptoms. Another major cause of stress was the unknown factor of the coronavirus. The information has been changing by the second and this can be triggering for anyone. Stress can come out in various ways:
- Change in appetite, desires, interests, and energy
- Difficulty making decisions and concentrating
- Feelings of fear, anger, sadness, or frustration
- Trouble sleeping
- Chronic health problems becoming worse
- Physical pains and ailments
- Mental health symptoms worsening
- Increase in the use of substances
The Coronavirus has been triggering for many and there are helpful tools and services to cope with your stress. The compassionate and experienced team at BasePoint Psychiatry & Wellness has compiled some helpful tips for getting through this stressful time.
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Tips For Overcoming Coronavirus Related Depression
Take a Break From The News
The news has been everchanging regarding the coronavirus as it has been an unprecedented event. There was little to no time to prepare. Being informed is important but you need to set boundaries of how much information you intake. Hearing the news constantly about death tolls and the number of people who are falling ill can be taxing on anyone. Find time to step away from all of the news including the one you see on social media. Find your limits and do not try to surpass your limits. A rule of thumb would be to only watch the news two times a day. This will allow you to be informed while also taking care of your mental health.
Take Time to Decompress
For those who are now working from home, it can be difficult to decompress after work as you normally would because there is no longer an environmental change. You should still make time after work to decompress and spend some time with yourself. You may be surrounded by family which can be exhausting for some. You need to be able to take time for yourself and allow others in your home to do so as well.
Take Care of Your Body
Taking care of your body is important especially during a pandemic. As we have learned no one is truly safe from getting sick. However, for the sake of your mental health, you must take care of your body. This includes getting enough sleep. It may be tempting to get out of your food time routines. You need to continue to maintain a balanced diet. Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine and junk food. It may be tempting to search for answers in drugs and alcohol but do not succumb to the temptation.
This can have your mental health spiral completely out of control. Limit your screen. Being at home has made everyone want to stream their favorite shows and although this can be relaxing as with everything it should be done in moderation. Ensure you turn off electronics 30 minutes before bed. Continue any self-care routines you had in place prior to the lockdown as much as possible.
Connect with Others Safely
You may have to depend on your friends and social circle for support for your mental health prior to the pandemic. Although you cannot physically be together you should still be there for each other. Having your support system there for you and providing support for others can help your anxiety and depression. It can be helpful to share the stories of what you are going through as individuals so reiterate the fact that you are not alone in this.
Sleep Helps Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
Anxiety and depression can cause sleep patterns to go into disarray. This has especially been the case during the Covid-19 pandemic as schedules have changed drastically. Sleep is crucial for your health and well-being. If you do not get enough sleep you may be unable to complete tasks and may lash out at those you love. You may have trouble sleeping normally and the additional stress has only made it harder to do so. You can try to read, journal, or listen to music before bed to relax your mind and get a good night’s sleep.
Keep Your Routine
Humans enjoy routines and having a routine can help to reduce stress. Your regular routine may have been upended. If this is the case, start a new healthy routine that you can stick to during the pandemic. Once things begin to change again slowly adapt your routine accordingly. Your routine may include work, sleep, mealtime, and schooling. Try to make a schedule and stick to it. If changes happen then you should try to adapt to them.
You may not be able to see your therapist or your support system like you were able to do before. You should still find ways to practice your mindfulness exercises and gratitude. Mindfulness is best known as a way to deal with anxiety, stress, and depression. Mindfulness consists of sitting in silence and focusing on your breathing.
Through the process, your thoughts and feelings will slowly begin to drift away. Another effective method of dealing with depression and anxiety is practicing gratitude. This is especially hard to do when there is so much negativity surrounding the pandemic but you should try and spend some time taking note of all the things you are thankful for. This will allow you to take your mind off of the horror of the pandemic.
Doctor’s appointments have been more and more difficult not only because of social distancing but also because of the fear of possibly getting the Coronavirus. Although many doctors’ offices are accepting in-person visits many are also making space for telemedicine appointments. Your therapist may even be able to continue your regular sessions over video streaming services like zoom and skype. It may not be what you are accustomed to but you will be able to continue the care you need. Your mental health is important in such challenging times. Do not put off any doctor’s appointments.
This may be difficult if you are accustomed to going to the gym or being outside but you should still try to find ways to stay active. Exercise is a way to deal with depression and anxiety. It can help to quiet the mind. Many gyms were closed or only by appointment so you may have to get creative. Try to replicate similar workouts at home. You can even try new ones like yoga that only require a mat. Be open to trying new things in order to stay active. If you have a backyard, get out and move about. You can even run laps around your yard to stay active.
Seek Help From Trusted and Compassionate Therapists
If you are having a hard time dealing with your anxiety or depression you should seek help. The Covid-19 pandemic has brought with it a slew of problems and one of those has been our mental health. If you are seeking help from a mental health professional contact BasePoint Psychiatry & Wellness to speak with a licensed professional.
You should also join a peer support group to help you in the present moment with your depression and anxiety. Doing so can open up new ways to deal with anxiety and depression in the middle of the Coronavirus pandemic. Make time for yourself as much as possible and seek treatment when necessary from a trusted member of our team.