Lockdown…can you even recall your first thoughts when you heard we’re heading for a three-week lockdown? What about when you heard that it’s being extended? Now, we’re here, three months later and we’re still overwhelmed with heightened feelings of uncertainty, unrest, anxiety and for some, loneliness.
Yes, at some point we all wished for the standard weekend to be longer because it just flew by so quickly. We could hardly spend quality time with family and getting to the things that required more time than an ordinary weekend could offer. Now, we’re here where lockdown feels like being adrift on the ocean: we’re desperate for any sign of land – stability. The stability we once knew, having employment, having a steady income, knowing what our plans would be today, tomorrow, the rest of the week, at least the weekend, and maybe for the year ahead.
We were forced to adopt day-to-day living, and yes, this causes tremendous stress. With the world being in self-isolation, it’s understandable to feel uneasy, and it’s undoubtedly to expect a tsunami of associated mental health issues sweeping the globe. But it’s also critical to remember that life’s challenges provide the opportunity to shake up our lives and realise what matters most.
We’re providing you with 10 ways to manage depression during the Covid-19 lockdown –
- Stay connected
It might not be physical, but studies have shown that close personal connections are key to our happiness and longevity through life. Engaging in supportive and positive relationships boost immune systems, allow us to heal quicker physically, and reduces stress, anxiety and depression.
Whether it’s people you saw very often or old friends from decades ago, make that phone call, enjoy a video call or catch up on social media or reply to the WhatsApp they sent you a while ago. Not being stuck with only what’s going on around you, but what other people have been up to or what’s news from their side, might make you feel a lot better.
- Meditate often
A few minutes of meditation has shown a multitude of positive effects on mental and physical wellbeing, and if you haven’t done it before, maybe now might be a great time to start. Set up a quiet, comfortable space with a blanket and candles and head there at a regular time.
- Support and help others
We all know the feeling of self-fulfilment when helping others in need, understanding their concerns, worries and behaviours at this time. Even if it’s just a message to someone nearby, or supporting community groups, but to keep in the line of the coronavirus restrictions and guidelines.
- Develop a routine and be prepared
Decide when to wake up, go to sleep and eat at regular times. Exercise on certain days, and diarise your day on work and other tasks such as helping the kids with homework or making time for a hobby.
Be prepared on other life factors such as knowing the happening around your employment, understand your sick pay and benefit rights. If you’re uncertain, think to innovate – ways to still provide for your family. Be prepared with essentials at home, especially face masks, sanitisers, immune boosters, tissues, etc.
- Take breaks from technology
Yes, we can’t live without it, but can’t live with it 24/7 either. We understand that everything happens online now more than ever – socialising, working, informing, and entertaining ourselves through our online devices. Studies have linked heavy smartphone use to stress, anxiety and depression, with social media affecting our moods. Take a break from social media, the news, from negativity, even if it’s for one whole day – break up with your phone.
- Take care of your body
How we feel is mainly dependent on our physical health and falling into unhealthy patterns of behaviour could end up making us feel worse. Try to skip takeaways and eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and exercise. Avoid smoking and taking drugs, and don’t consume too much alcohol. Take a 10-minute morning walk with your family or alone.
- Connect with nature
Studies have proven that spending time in nature can lower blood pressure and boost happiness. Make time daily to spend on the patio or in your garden, and take time to notice things such as trees’ leaves falling to the ground, new flowers that might have appeared, or different types of bird behaviour. Distant views can also give your eyes a break from the blue screen.
- Prioritise your sleep
Ensure you get enough sleep. If you’re rolling around in bed counting sheep or sleepwalking, you’ll be drained – mentally and physically. Develop a regular bedtime routine, and make sure your bedroom is quiet and dark as possible. Enjoy a regular thing before bed such as reading a book, enjoying tea, a hot bath, meditating or moisturising.
- Stay on top of difficult things
Being concerned about the effects of coronavirus is normal, but try to focus on the things you can control, such as your behaviour, the way you speak, and how and where you often get information. Don’t let the constant thoughts about the coronavirus make you feel anxious and overwhelmed.
- Be kind to yourself
Learn to treat yourself like a best friend; don’t be too hard on yourself. Do what you can do, even if you’re not as productive as usual, just try to do your best. Rest a little and forgive yourself if you’re not feeling 100%. Acknowledge complicated feelings and talk about your worries with someone you trust or call a local helpline to assist in this regard.