Written by: Kayla Mason, freelance writer, kaylamason.blog
It’s no secret that during the emergence of the Covid-19 virus, anxiety and depression rates have skyrocketed.
Rates of anxiety and depression among U.S. adults were about 4 times higher between April 2020 and August 2021 than they were in 2019 (Deangelis).
In 2020 and 2021, I talked with people that I had known for years who, for the first time, were now speaking to me about their mental health.
As much as I, and possibly the whole world, wish this virus had never been sprung into our already chaotic lives, it has, and though we cannot control the virus, we can control how we cope.
Here are 5 ways to help ease your depression symptoms right now
1. Write A Gratitude List
You always hear people say the common phrase, “Life is over in a flash!”… Or, at least, I’ve heard it a billion times in my thirty-year lifetime. Anyway, that phrase is a fact, and life is indeed short. It does pass us by fast, and we often take advantage of that.
Writing down people, places, and things that you are happy to have in this life, prompts us to remember better times in our lives.
more here: https://www.psycom.net/how-to-be-happy
2. Take Care of Yourself
There have been periods in my life when I’ve not showered for days. I’m not proud of it; actually, I’m really embarrassed.
So, I can understand when others struggle with maintaining adequate daily personal hygiene.
Like anything, there can be many reasons people do not care to shower, bathe, brush their teeth, etc.
People or families may not be able to afford hygiene products or may not have access to these products.
Taking care of yourself is more than just focusing on the physical. Other types of self-care include focusing on your emotional health, work-life, or finances. Balancing all of these aspects of our lives ensures a healthy lifestyle.
3. Connect With Others
According to Williams (2019), socializing not only staves off feelings of loneliness but also helps sharpen memory and cognitive skills and increases your sense of happiness and well-being, and may even help you live longer.
I am known to isolate in my own home for various reasons. I struggle to leave the house because of intense anxiety focused on socializing. It’s tough to push myself out the door to connect with people. I can absolutely understand people’s struggles with socializing with others and maintaining relationships.
What is important to remember is how you feel when connecting with people outside of your household.
If you feel apprehensive, anxious, or scared, then maybe you have some inner work to do with your relationships.
If you feel refreshed, joyful and accomplished, then maybe you are ready to dive into the world and explore what kind of relationships fit you best.
4. Get Outside
I can’t tell you the number of times that I’ve had a mental health professional ask me, “Have you gone outside today?” which is usually followed by the roll of my eyes.
Then something magical happens. I literally drag myself (the worst feeling!) out of my apartment, whether it’s to walk to the car or to Dunkin Donuts and…..I FEEL BETTER.
I notice the air and how it feels. I see the sounds all around me and they feel familiar; they feel right. It feels good to be outside, AND it feels good that I pushed myself out of my dungeon and into a garden of sorts.
So, honestly, try to go outside. Even for a few seconds. How do you feel?
Research shows that visits to forests, rural areas, and parks can improve mental health and thinking skills, even in people with depression. Exposure to natural environments can also help fight mental fatigue and reduce stress.
more here: https://www.psycom.net/mental-health-wellbeing/mental-health-benefits-nature/
5. Meditate and Visualize
Like being told to go outside, I’ve continuously been told that meditation is extremely helpful in treating mental health symptoms. Last year, I meditated more than I ever have and found joy in it. Although, I also found discomfort. It’s not comfortable to face your thoughts head-on, quietly, while being mindful.
I personally find that guided meditations are the most helpful, especially for someone who has dealt with complex trauma throughout their life. It’s easier and more beneficial to focus on what the meditation teacher is saying vs. reoccurring intrusive thoughts flying around at hyperspeed.
Another way to meditate safely could be by visualizing a happy time in your life or by envisioning a safe place in your mind where you can be present. What does your safe place look like? What is around you? Where are you? Will anyone join you here?
Kayla Mason is a MA Communication student at Southern New Hampshire University who is concentrating on New Media and Marketing.
She belongs to the Freelance Union, which provides support through policy advocacy, benefits, resources, and community while raising writers’ voices to make sure they are heard. She also belongs to the National Writers Union. The purpose of the N.W.U. is to promote and protect its members’ rights, interests, and economic advancement, organize writers to improve professional working conditions through collective bargaining actions, and provide professional services to members.
Kayla volunteers for various nonprofits
DISCLAIMER The materials and content contained in this website are for general information only and are not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Users of this website should not rely on the information provided for their own health needs. All specific questions should be presented to your own health care provider.
FOR IMMEDIATE SUPPORT If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “START” to 741-741.
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Deangelis, Tori. “Depression and Anxiety Escalate during COVID.” Monitor on Psychology, American Psychological Association, 2021, https://www.apa.org/monitor/2021/11/numbers-depression-anxiety.
“Mayo Clinic Minute: The Benefits of Being Socially Connected – Mayo Clinic News Network.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 19 Apr. 2019, https://newsnetwork.mayoclinic.org/discussion/mayo-clinic-minute-the-benefits-of-being-socially-connected/#:~:text=Socializing%20is%20good%20for%20your%20mind%20and%20body.&text=Socializing%20not%20only%20staves%20off,connecting%20via%20technology%20also%20works.
Monaghan, Elizabeth. “For Optimal Mental Health, Add a Regular Dose of Nature.” PSYCOM, https://www.psycom.net/mental-health-wellbeing/mental-health-benefits-nature/.
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