As the coronavirus spreads around the world and governments including the United Kingdom weigh more-restrictive measures to keep people at home, it could be a stressful time if you’re suffering from depression and believe that social distancing will make that worse.
But there are steps you can take to alleviate your depression caused from social distancing, which is the term most countries are using for voluntary efforts by people to stay apart. In places like the UK and United States, this means many bars and restaurants and other social venues are closed temporarily and people are choosing to stay in their homes.
Just remember that any “stay-in-place” order is not a “suffer-in-place” order. If you are worried about depression from social distancing, check out the helpful tips below.
Yes, the coronavirus also known as COVID-19 is a pandemic and should be of high concern to you, your friends and family. It’s a disease that can strike anyone, healthy or susceptible, and state, local and federal officials are right in urging some voluntary time-out from socialising.
But that also doesn’t mean the world is ending. Remember this is only a temporary situation and there are ways to overcome your depression while staying at home to reduce exposure risks.
A lot of people are already choosing of their own volition to mostly stay in the houses and minimise contact with others. And some areas are talking about making this mandatory. Regardless, be assured that people are doing this because they think it is the right thing to do. They are not doing it to deliberately avoid you or other people. And there are many options available to you to remain social even when you feel stuck in your home.
Limit Social Media and News Consumption
While news channels will have important updates on things like announcements about what is and isn’t open, and any mandatory orders to stay at home, they can also be a sense of great stress at trying times. Know that many news companies use exciting language to get your attention, and rest assured some stories about COVID-19 will indeed be overblown.
The best way to approach the news if you’re concerned about depression is to check it occasionally for important updates — but leave the scaremongering to the reporters. If you are watching a news report and you find that it is activating your depression and not answering any of your questions about the coronavirus, that’s a strong hint to turn it off.
Focus on Positive Stories
So, should you put a blanket ban on news coverage? Of course not.
And in limited quantities, the news could be a source of stories about the coronavirus that have a positive tale to tell. Newspapers and television stories around the world are already reporting about people helping each other out during this crisis, or social bonding in unusual ways like Italians singing to each other from their windows while they’re ordered to stay at home. Upbeat tales like this can help you to focus on the positive as a counter to your depression if it arises while you’re at home – though limit your exposure to news stations.
Call Your Family and Friends
Even though you might be effectively housebound, you can still use your telephone. Reach out to family and friends for a chat to help life your spirits. They will also be staying at home and I’m sure they could use a nice conversation with someone not in the same building.
Social distancing might be a prime time to revive your social network. What about calling that friend you used to hang out with all the time? Or the co-worker who moved a few months ago and you would like to get an update from? There are many people in your network who will be excited to get a call from you, particularly at a time of social distancing.
Distract Your Mind by Reading a Good Book
A good way to cope with social distancing is to understand the benefits of the practice. Remember that book that always makes you laugh? Read it again. Been meaning to get through that comedy series on Netflix? Start binge-watching today.
Engaging your time with uplifting, positive media like books, television shows and films that you know will help target your depression is a solid step you can take any time at home.
Maybe you could even combine some of the above tips and make a remote movie night with your friends? If your phone has video calling capabilities, consider having an evening where you all watch the same movie from separate homes but talk over video. We’ll have to get creative during the unusual time of the coronavirus, and this can be a novel way to have a fun night.
Replace Worry with Meditation or Prayer
And beyond the other tips outlined, never underestimate the power of stepping back and giving yourself time for some meditation or prayed to enhance your mental wellbeing.
Reflect perhaps on a favourite passage from the Bible or other book of worship that has guided you through difficult times of depression before. Take comfort in this passage and recite it to bring yourself calm when struggling with isolation brought on by COVID-19.
And if you’re more spiritual than following a specific faith, the power of meditation is crucial at one-of-a-kind international moments like that. Whenever you feel that depression from deliberate social distancing is starting to affect you, step back, meditate and take deep breaths as you think of whatever mantra it is that has guided through past depressive moments.
The bottom line? It’s going to be okay. Experiencing depression during this trying time is to be expected, and nothing to be ashamed of. By embracing the steps detailed above, you will hopefully be able to fend off such feelings quickly, or reduce them with ease. This is a difficult time, but you already have the skill set necessary to get through this successfully.
Try Online Counselling with a Certified Therapist
Talking to a professional can be extremely helpful to people who suffer from depression. Many find it easier to talk to strangers rather than their loved ones, and others simply may not have anyone who understands. A depression therapist will listen and help you find the answers to your questions.
Get a 15-minute telephone introductory session free of charge to discuss depression therapy options and to discuss what kind of counselling service is right for you.
Make your next step an get in touch today. Allow me to help you through this journey in your life.