Depression can keep people immobile for days, we all know this. Now imagine the kind of effects it will have during a period of self-isolation and social distancing.
The aim of this social distancing movement is to slow the spread of coronavirus and give hospitals a chance to treat the sick.
Some may take social distancing in stride, but for most, it’s causing a high degree of anxiety and anticipated loneliness. In other words, Social distancing is the perfect recipe for depression. Staying indoors, less contact with people, and fewer fun activities are just some of the things that can increase your risk of depression. To help you relieve some of this apprehension, here are some ways to prepare and manage in order to reduce the negative emotional impact for yourself and for others.
1. Don’t Be Emotionally Isolated
Consider the manners in which you remain associated now. Connecting with loved ones from a far distance is basic. Right now is an ideal opportunity to knock up live video and facetime calls so we can be as present with our friends and family as could be expected under the circumstances while as yet remaining safe.
2. .Exercise, Preferably Outdoors
Spend time exercising outside. If you see a friend or two while you’re hiking or biking, that is also better than being cooped up indoors.
3. Schedule Fun Activities
Put fun things in your schedule as this packs a powerful punch in the battle against depression. Therapists call it “behavioral activation” or “pleasant activity scheduling,” and there’s research that shows it’s effective in preventing and decreasing depression.
Putting something fun in your schedule gives you something to look forward to, which improves your mood. Then, you get an additional boost in your mood when you do that fun thing. Finally, your mood will stay elevated for a bit when that activity is over because you’ll have created positive memories.
4. Spend More Time On a Hobby You Love
Hobbies are always important—they give us time to focus on ourselves and unwind—but finding ways to infuse our lives with novelty and variety is key right now. Pick something that sounds genuinely fun, relaxing, distracting, or whatever you need it to be.
5. Learn New Skills
For some people, focusing on a new challenge is a welcome distraction. Now could be the time to learn a new language, so don’t hesitate to fire up Duolingo. Sites like Skillshare have classes in topics like personal development, photography, writing, graphic design, and other creative trades.
YouTube is also a treasure trove of random tutorials.
6. Take Excursions
I highly recommend being intentional about your excursions. Every day, decide what you’re going to do and when; for example, a walk to the park at dusk would be nice with fewer people outdoor. Otherwise, it’s easy to procrastinate or forget just how necessary it is.
7. Spend Time in Different Areas in Your Home
You probably know in theory that it’s not great to lounge on the same spot of the couch all day long, depending on your situation, moving around a ton might not be possible (like if you live in a studio or have a bunch of roommates), but even a little is better than nothing, like switching between each end of the couch throughout the day.
8. Remain Socially Inclined
Maintaining social connections is more important than ever. If you’re feeling crappy, it can be tempting to cancel FaceTime dates with friends or let calls from your family go to voicemail. That’s healthy sometimes—you don’t want to pressure yourself when you need to be alone—but definitely make sure you’re getting in some socializing. Like getting outside, it can be helpful to pop plans on the calendar to make sure you actually follow through and don’t accidentally isolate for days at a time.
9. Set Boundaries On the Information You Receive
Set boundaries to gossips that can turn into never ending streams of panic, stress, and depression. It is advisable to mute your notifications for a while and only listen to trusted information about the virus from social media.
10. Seek Help
If you find yourself sinking into depression despite your best effort to prevent it from happening, then seek professional help. Keep in mind that depression isn’t a sign of weakness. Just like you can’t always prevent physical health problems, you can’t always prevent mental health problems either.
You might call your doctor for advice about what to do next. Or you might contact a therapist on BetterHelp. Right now many therapists are offering online or phone therapy as they’re practicing social distancing themselves.
So, now is not a time to suffer in silence as the saying goes, rather, it is a time to lean on your loved ones, friends, and family.