10 Steps to Fight Depression During Social Distancing
The Battle with Depression
Let’s do a word association activity. What comes to mind when you think of the term “social distancing?” Is it safety first? What about “flatten the curve?” For many, this term has become closely linked with the word depression.
What Depression Can Feel Like
“Being in a deep hole.”
“Like there is so much weight on you, that you can’t move.”
“There is a rain cloud overhead.”
“No energy to move, think, or do anything.”
“Like there is darkness all around.”
“Being in a tunnel that doesn’t end.”
Can you relate to any of these descriptions?
A natural outcome of distance from others would be to feel lonely or sad. Under normal circumstances, physical distance is tough. Ask partners who live in two different states. Or a 4-year-old on the first day of preschool being dropped off. A healthy connection with others motivates, encourages, and inspires. We develop a sense of belonging and love. Without it, we can feel empty. Humans need connection, period. It may not be possible to have physical contact with others. Yet, we can connect with others in non-physical ways.
- talk over the phone
- send a letter
- video chat
- hold a conversation with the recommended 6ft distance
Ten Steps to Fight Depression
1. Set goals
Depression makes people feel that they do not have a sense of purpose. Thoughts such as “what’s the point?” or “it doesn’t matter” can keep you feeling stuck. So how do you get un-stuck? Set goals. You have to believe that you can make a change in life, even if it is a little bit. Focus on something attainable and meaningful that you want to change. Here are some ideas:
- increase water intake to at least 64 oz/day
- exercise at least 20 minutes a day
- journal before going to bed
- finish a book
2. Learn a skill
YouTube is known as “YouTube University” for a reason. You can learn almost anything by watching a video. You can learn how to do make-up, how to knit, and more. The public library’s digital resources are abundant. Cuyahoga County Public Library offers online publications and books for patrons. You can also access Mango Languages and learn a new language for free. Do you want to learn how to make carrot bacon or plant a container garden? Use online resources to help you get started.
Knowledge is power. Also, reading helps to keep our minds active. The content of what you are reading does matter. Read content or literature that inspires, encourages, and uplifts. The last thing you need is reading a book about tragedy. Comedic books, how-to or inspirational devotionals are a good place to start.
4. Strengthen your body
The connection between physical wellbeing and emotional health is strong. Give your body energizing and mood-boosting foods such as fruits and vegetables. While chocolate and hamburgers may provide some energy, it is often short-lived.
5. Get your groove on
Get your dancing shoes or socks on. Listen to upbeat music and bust a move. Music has been known to impact our moods and help to shift our focus. What song always puts a smile on your face or brings back a good memory. I say, create a feel-good playlist to bump on-demand.
6. Use your senses
Sight, sound, taste, touch, smell… Our senses are fantastic; they detect changes in our environment. Have you ever visited a farm? When you first arrive, it can smell so bad. As you are there for a while, you do not notice the smell. That is because our senses only detect changes. Switch up your environment. Use a different fragrance in your oil diffuser. Try sleeping under a different blanket, or use a weighted blanket. Explore other seasonings in your cabinet when cooking your favorite food. Increase or decrease the temperature in your house or sit (safely) outside. Add some calm ambient music in the background throughout the day. Pay attention to lighting, rooms where you are working, use cooler light. Places where you are relaxing and resting use warmer lighting.
7. Pay it forward
Still, ordering things online? How about sending someone flowers or a gift. You can make handwritten cards for individual Coronavirus patients. Do not forget about individuals in a nursing home. Consider people who are alone and vulnerable. Think of ways you can touch others without touching them. Knowing that you did something to help someone can help to elevate your mood and theirs. Now that’s two for one deal!
8. Gratitude Journal
Depression focuses on what is wrong; gratitude focuses on what is going right. If you are reading this right now, you have access to the internet. You have good vision. You can read at least at a 7th-grade level with understanding. Let’s not forget to mention that you are breathing. That’s a lot of things to be grateful for. What items are going well, that you may have overlooked in the last hour?
9. Focus on Faith
There is a common expression, “prayer changes things.” A better expression would be, “prayer changes how I see things.” Building up your faith and focusing on your faith will help to put things into perspective. Reading scriptures about joy and handling suffering is helpful. We offer Christian Counseling to help individuals and couples use faith to make positive changes.
10. Begin Counseling Services for Depression
Sheltering in place is a great time to begin counseling. As the world continues to change and uncertainty seems to be more common, having someone to talk to can help. We offer online therapy, including counseling for depression, which allows you to meet with your therapist without leaving your home. Signing up is easy.
- Request a counseling appointment
- We will call you to offer an appointment.
- Meet with your therapist and overcome depression.
Other Mental Health Services in Beachwood, OH
If you are feeling depressed during this unusual time, We’d love to help. However, depression counseling isn’t all that we offer. In fact, at our Cleaveland area counseling clinic, we offer counseling services for a wide range of mental health concerns. For instance, we offer couples & marriage counseling, help for emotional eating, Christian Counseling, self-esteem help, trauma therapy, and more. So, if you are looking for help, please take the next step by reaching out today. You deserve to feel better.