The course of my life has been altered in a multitude of ways, both major and minor. People with pandemic depression have felt an incalculable amount of sadness because of how uncertain things are right now. Let’s talk about real ways to recover from repressed grief and get great again.
Our mental health is a very complicated thing. Just because you might have periods of feeling more content and less depressed doesn’t mean you’re always going to be happy. In fact, life will inevitably throw you some curve balls that can leave you feeling sad and hopeless. But there are things we can do to help combat depression, no matter what form it takes.
Happiness is the key to success. But if you’re feeling chronically unhappy and dejected, this article has some great tips on how to come back out of that dark place and learn how to defeat pandemic depression.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a mental health crisis of unprecedented proportions. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems have gotten a lot worse because of the pandemic.
In the United States alone, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the pandemic has caused a 33% increase in depression symptoms. This is not surprising because the pandemic has caused a lot of stress, such as the loss of jobs, social isolation, and fear of getting the virus.
If you’re struggling with pandemic depression, know that you’re not alone. And there are things you can do to improve your mental health. In this article, we will share six ways to defeat pandemic depression and get your mojo back.
How do you keep mentally healthy during a pandemic?
- Take good care of your physical body.
- Take some time off periodically to decompress, relax, and be grateful.
Get enough sleep. Maintain a consistent routine by going to bed and getting up at the same times every day.
Engage in some form of physical activity on a consistent basis.
Do some form of physical activity on a regular basis. Anxiety and depression can be alleviated, and even improved, by engaging in regular physical activity.
Eat a healthy diet.
Stay away from alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs.
Control how much time you spend in front of a screen.
What are the helpful things you can do to cope with stress?
- Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media.
- Take care of yourself. Acknowledge what you CAN control and what you cannot.
- Take care of your body.
- Make time to unwind.
- Talk to others and you’ll both benefit
- Connect with your community- or faith-based organizations.
What are the six simple coping strategies that can be done at home?
- Spending time celebrating the positive things in your life
- Talking with people you value, people that buoy you up
Recognize the loss of intangibles that you took for granted
According to grief educator Christina Rasmussen, founder of The Life Reentry Institute and author of Second Firsts and Where Did You Go?, we have been suffering silent grief ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and not just for the world, but also for smaller losses, such as upended routines and canceled plans. “Our sadness over the life that was taken away by the virus is sending us to a kind of collective ‘waiting room,’ where our mind is stuck between the past and this ‘new normal’.” Just by admitting that our feelings are true, we can get out of this uncomfortable limbo and start to believe in the future again.
It’s normal and healthy to feel pain
Things could always get worse. I should express my gratitude. According to Megan Devine, a psychotherapist, speaker, and grief advocate who is also the author of the book It’s OK That You’re Not OK, it is simple to minimize the effects of grief; however, doing so will only make the pain feel more intense. She explains that putting on a fake smile can “weaponize” gratitude, which means that it can be used against us. When we are aware of this tendency, we have the power to stop thoughts that try to make our loss less painful. Try to think of something else to occupy your mind if you find that you are trying to numb the pain. “Trying to give up smoking without having anything else to occupy your hands is like trying to give up a bad habit without having a replacement thought,” You might say something along the lines of, “I’m going to honor how I feel,” for instance. By doing so, we can turn pain into an opportunity for healing.
Find Comfort in Togetherness
We may feel as though time has slowed down for us as we grieve the loss of the future we had hoped for. Speaker and grief expert Claire Bidwell Smith, LCPC, author of the forthcoming book Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief, defines anticipatory grief as the fear of what lies ahead. But in our shared sorrow, we can find unexpected comfort in collective grief. We’re all in this together, and that’s what makes it so beautiful. Just remembering that there are other people in the world can help ease worry about the future and help you find meaning in the present.
Cultivate a Brand-New You
You have changed significantly since the pandemic began. According to Rasmussen, “our worldview changes with every loss we suffer.” When we experience loss, we take on a new persona that must be respected. The end of a relationship or a once-cherished dream are just two examples of what you should write down. Then, make a new list of the benefits you’re reaping, such as the new interests you’ve developed or the opportunities you’ve found to give back to your community. Acknowledging and appreciating the person you’re evolving into is just as important as saying goodbye to your former self.
Participate in regular rituals for emotional support
Any practice that can be redirected toward the achievement of a therapeutic goal has the potential to evolve into a sustaining ritual. One of the practices that Devine finds to be soothing is going on what she calls a “beauty walk,” during which she searches her neighborhood for things like all of the dahlias. Taking actions like these are not solutions to loss; rather, they are companions that make invisible feelings surface.
Develop your true capacity for resiliency
“It’s helpful to define resilience as allowing yourself to be human, to ferociously take care of yourself the best way you can,” says Devine. “That could simply mean letting yourself nap — resting is an act of resilience. It’s about finding anchors in a storm.” A powerful anchor Devine discovered when she was grieving a loss was kindness: “I taped encouraging notes to restroom mirrors. Small acts that let you reclaim something good help you hold on to joy.”
If you’re feeling down in the dumps because of pandemic-related depression, know that you’re not alone. Millions of people are struggling with their mental health right now. But there are things you can do to lift your spirits and get your mojo back. From getting outside for some fresh air to connecting with loved ones online, these six tips will help you start feeling better today.
Pandemic depression is a real thing that can have many bad effects on your life. However, there are myriad things you can do to help defeat it. First, make sure you are staying connected with friends and family, either in person or virtually. Second, get outside and enjoy nature as much as possible. Third, make time for activities that make you happy and help you relax. Fourth, eat healthily and exercise regularly. And finally, seek professional help if needed. With these tips in mind, you can start to take steps towards defeating pandemic depression and getting your mojo back.
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