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Monitoring Depression in the Pandemic

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One of the nasty side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is depression, anxiety and fear of the unknown future. As salons, restaurants, bars, gyms and other businesses have closed, the opportunities to socialize with fellow humans has been dramatically reduced and is not within our control. Since we have been asked to “socially distance” since March in hope that we can get the virus under control, many people feel isolated and alone. What used to be a quick trip to the grocery store may now cause unusual anxiety. The bottom line: The pandemic has caused everyone to become anxious, depressed, and overwhelmed.  

Check Yourself

It is completely natural to feel worried, frustrated, and frightened about your health, the health of family members and even whether or you will get to keep your job. It is very important that you don’t let these emotions run unchecked by ignoring them.

One thing you can do that most people find helpful is to help others manage their stress, fears and uncertainty. We all feel good when we are able to help others. It is important that you maintain your relationships, friendships and social network, even if that means using social media and real time conversations through Zoom, Skype, FaceTime and other similar platforms. 

Helpful Tips

Here are a few helpful tips that can help you deal with depression and anxiety.

  1. Take care of your body: Tune in to a yoga class on YouTube. Work out at home doing basic exercises like push-ups, jumping jacks, running in place and other forms of exercise that require no equipment at all. Eat healthy and well-balanced meals on the schedule you maintained before the pandemic lockdowns. Avoid the increased consumption of alcohol and/or recreational drugs. While it might make you feel better temporarily, it’s only temporary and will make matters worse in the long run through addiction. Stay physically active and go for walks.
  2. Ditch the News: While staying current with the news is important, the news of late has been a depressing mixture of Covid information and political debate. The two topics frequently wind up holding hands together in news broadcasts. The war on police and other topics of news saturation can certainly take a toll on you day after day. Avoid debates about public affairs on social media. Just ditch the news every few days and enjoy life.
  3. Limit Online Time: Social media has consumed us. From Facebook to YouTube, Tick-Tok to LinkedIn, we have become enamored with staring at iPads, smartphones and desktop screens. These are will increase your anxiety levels. Give your eyes and mind a break and just walk away from the screen for a bit.
  4. Take Precautions: While it is important to take precautions, be reasonable about your efforts. Avoid closing yourself off from your community, your friends and family. Wash your hands, wear a mask when not engaged in drinking or eating and in the presence of others. Avoid touching your face. Avoid hugs and handshakes. 
  5. Maintain Some Normalcy: As much as practically possible, maintain your regular routines. Get up and shower each day even if you have nowhere to go. Continue activities using Zoom. Have a glass of wine or an iced tea with a friend via Zoom and pretend you are sitting at a table together. Maintaining a routine can help lower your stress. 

Most importantly, remember that you are not alone. We are all truly in this together as there is no escape for anyone from the pandemic. And, most importantly, if you begin to have suicidal thoughts, call the Suicide Prevention Hotline – 800-273-8255.