As the Covid-19 pandemic drags on into a tenth month, many people already feel sick and tired of the day-to-day monotony, and some are also truly experiencing depression. In fact, the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that surveys show three times the level of depression during the pandemic. Now, it’s late in the year, we’ve turned the clocks back, the days are shorter and darker and those old seasonal blues – also known as seasonal affective disorder or, appropriately, SAD — that affect so many are another layer on an already austere daily existence.
For people in recovery, it’s especially challenging, to say the least. Especially for those working from home, living alone or, worse, those home alone who have lost their jobs, pandemic depression and seasonal depression is a very real thing.
With the holidays coming up, it’s only going to be more of a test.
So, what can you do?
Start Your Day on a High Note
with some stretches, yoga, meditation, or something else that will pick you up, help you keep an even keel and feel good about yourself. Drag that exercise bike out of the closet and dust it off. You don’t have to kill yourself, just 20 or 30 minutes will do it.
Think Positive Thoughts
It sounds simple, and it is. But just changing how you think about things, and the things you think about, is remarkably effective. When you catch yourself worrying or thinking negatively, stop and change direction. Tell yourself everything will be okay, because, more often than not, it usually is. Or just think about things you like, things that make you happy.
Go Outside For a Walk
See some nature. The point is just get outside and get your body in motion instead of sitting in the house all day every day. If you don’t want to walk, go for a drive. Just get out.
Cook Healthy Food
A lot of people are eating “comfort” food, along with cookies and bakery and a lot of things that aren’t going to make you feel better in the short or long term. Make it a point to find great recipes that are delicious but also healthier. Treat yourself well. Experiment a little, look at it as an opportunity to discover new things and develop your skill as a chef.
Reach Out to Friends, Family, Coworkers, and Clients
See how they’re doing and if there’s anything you can do for them. It will make you, and them, feel better. Do a weekly Zoom get together. A big part of the problem with isolation, like we’re experiencing with the pandemic, is you get stuck in your own head. And that’s where trouble can start, like loneliness, depression.
Take Online Classes
Especially if you have a hobby or an interest in, say, history, or some other topic. You’ll meet new people, learn something, and be focused in a positive direction.
Humor is an amazing medicinal tool. Make it a habit to regularly look for great jokes online, or ask friends if they know any on social media. A good laugh is often the best medicine for the blues.
If you’re in recovery, know your triggers and avoid them. When you feel stressed or anxious, or a craving, reach out right away to someone who understands and can help. It may help to do some group therapy online regularly. Helping other people with the same struggles and experiences is incredibly helpful for you. It’s true, we’re all in this together, so make sure you’re reaching out, connecting, and helping others as well as yourself.
For anyone really struggling, who needs more intensive care, California Behavioral Health is just a phone call away.