Managing depression is hard. As COVID continues to add an extra strain on our lives, what we thought was going to be a temporary change is beginning to become our “new normal”. With restrictions continuing, isolation and social distancing can negatively affect your mental health. Experiencing this lockdown in darker months of winter can cause depression to increase more than in a regular situation. Combatting depression is more challenging than ever.
There is a difference between being depressed and feeling “stuck”. If “bad moods” are continuing and not shifting, or if you’re noticing you’re isolating yourself even further from your loved ones, you could be showing signs of depression.
Here are three common symptoms to look out for:
- Feelings of hopelessness
While many of us may be feeling hopeless about the pandemic, if you’re feeling hopeless about life in general paired with feeling insecure and worthless, you may be experiencing some of the most common signs of depression.
- Changes in your sleep pattern
Many people attribute lack of sleep to anxiety or depression, but those battling depression may also be oversleeping.
- Lack of interest
Losing interest in things you used to care about like hobbies, social events or sports is another sign you may be depressed.
One of the best ways to combat your depression is to remind yourself there are people who care about you and you’re not a burden if you share your struggles with them.
Living life in lockdown is not easy, but there are still ways you can beat depression while socially distancing:
- Attend regular virtual social events
Schedule a time in your calendar to connect with loved ones. Everyone can get busy, but scheduling it in advance and on a regular basis will help you make space and time to catch up with the friends and family. It will become part of your routine.
- Get back to your favourite hobbies
Just because we’re limited in what we can do right now, it doesn’t mean we should forget about what we love and what made us happy. Get creative and join a Zoom book club, or attend an online yoga class. Don’t just reconnect with the people you love, but reconnect with the things love too.
- Get outside!
Getting outside and taking a deep breath of fresh air is so important for mental health. Exercise and sunlight can completely change your mood. Go for a jog or leave the city and take a hike. Even a quick ten minute walk around your neighbourhood can make a world of difference.
- Indulge in self care
Take a bubble bath, listen to your favourite artist, read a book. Get away from the mundaneness of life in lockdown and take ten or fifteen minutes to spoil yourself, whatever that may look like.
Above all else, if you’re having thoughts of harm towards yourself or others, you should seek out immediate medical attention and go to an urgent care clinic or emergency room. Understand that you’re not crazy – you’re just responding to your environment. Our emotions come from the response to what is happening around us. Decide whether your feelings and situation are temporary. Right now it might make sense for you to feel down and out. If your feelings don’t change for several months, it’s probably time to speak to a professional about coping strategies. Contact us at the Vaughan Relationship Centre and one of our therapist can support you in coping with feelings of depression