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How to Avoid Getting Depressed During COVID-19

How to Avoid Getting Depressed During COVID-19

by Ashley

Everybody responds differently to stressful circumstances and during a crisis, it is only natural to feel stress and fear. Yet several everyday obstacles, such as the COVID-19 pandemic's impact, will drive you beyond your capacity to cope. With what is happening right now, I can say that it has brought many changes to the way we live our lives, and with it instability, everyday habits, financial stresses, and social isolation have changed. You may be concerned about getting sick, how long will the pandemic last and what the future will bring. Information overload, rumors and misinformation will cause your life to feel out of control and make it uncertain what to do.

And regardless of your earnest attempts to combat such changes, you may still, in any case, end up feeling vulnerable, dismal, furious, sad, hopeless or apprehensive. You may also experience difficulty focusing on normal tasks, changes in appetite, body pains, sleeping problems, or you may be unable to do daily chores. At the point when these signs and side effects keep going for a long time, it can prompt depression. So, here are ways to avoid depression during this untimely pandemic.

#1 Be aware of unhelpful thinking

Encountering fear and uncertainty during the current COVID-19 pandemic is normal. Be that as it may, you should hold those negative thoughts under tight restraints. Just along these lines would you be able to guarantee that your brain is always your best ally in adverse times.

As we've been calling attention to in our blogs, the current situation with the coronavirus is about something beyond dealing with your physical wellbeing. In these conditions, it's fundamental to deal with your mental wellbeing as well. Your feelings are going to test you. In such an erratic setting, you need resources. It is true you have every right to allow yourself from time to time to try the momentary relief of sorrow. Be that as it may, you should also have the option to keep authority over what you can control: your own thoughts and practices. That sort of a methodology empowers you to execute the old astuteness that you can't generally control what befalls you, however you can surely control how you respond to various circumstances, and regardless of how hard your position may be.

The most common thoughts in these situations are fear of infection or even death. Now it's perfectly natural to have these fears pass through your mind at some point. And, if it happens, it serves one purpose: to protect yourself and those you love. However, what you shouldn't allow is for those thoughts to be continuously running around your mind. This will only paralyze you, sparking fear even more. So, under these situations, the most practical solution is to accept that there realistically is a chance of contagion but that chance can be significantly minimized if you take appropriate steps.

Then again, you might be likewise stressed that you may lose your job or that the world as you probably are aware of will change. And there is nothing wrong in persuading yourself that once we get the infection leveled out, things will return to exactly the same manner they once were. So how do you cope with the fear? By organizing and concentrating on the necessities existing apart from everything else. At the present time, the most important thing is for us to take care of ourselves, stay safe, heal ourselves and flatten the curve of infection. That should be everyone's current priority and the only thing that is truly in our grasp to do.

You might not have the slightest idea about what will happen tomorrow and that is fine. But be that as it may, whatever occurs, you can choose to confront it calmly and at the point when the opportunity arrives, you should act appropriately. Always focus on doing each thing in turn, bit by bit and step by step. It's completely natural to be afraid but you have to control it. Take advantage of your feelings and note what your goals are: physical health and mental wellness.

In addition to negative unhelp thoughts, it’s important to practice being aware of such negative, unhelpful thoughts and work on reframing these to those that are more realistic or helpful. Check out our Thinking Traps worksheet which will go through different patterns of unhelpful thinking styles and show you examples of how to reframe these negative thoughts into better, helpful thoughts.

#2 Keep good sleep quality and quantity

Apart from proper hand hygiene and social distancing, improving your sleep is one of the best things you can do right now to take care of yourself. It is therapeutic for each and every cell, vein, and organ in the body. And the restorative effects of sleep cannot be overemphasized in times of crisis like now. Our immune system is stronger at night when we sleep, so preserving our sleep like the crucial asset it is has never been progressively basic.

To keep a good sleep quantity, the key is setting an early bedtime. The optimal bedtime is around 9pm, since most restorative sleep usually happens between 10 pm and 2 am. Setting a night time alarm 60 minutes before bedtime is a simple way to follow an earlier bedtime and give yourself a nudge and start winding. You can give it a try and see the difference between your current sleeping schedules.

On the other hand, to maintain good sleep quality, seek to create a soothing bedtime routine and reduce your bedtime screen time, preferably two hours before bedtime. Your televisions, computers and cellphones actually emit a blue light which animates the alert pace in our mind and also reduces melatonin, so even though we're exhausted our circadian rhythm is ready to sleep, screens can artificially hold us alert and feel non-drowsy. Consider a non-screen-based activity such as reading paper books, listening to music, or performing some kind of meditation before bedtime. Such bedtime activities help to soothe the sympathetic nervous system and minimize the reaction to fight or flight. Overall, good sleep makes the rest a little more doable. Without quality sleep and in decent quantities we might find ourselves in the domains of negative thinking and lack of energy to function.

If you find that you’re still struggling with getting a good nights of sleep, check out our online sleep course called Restful Sleep in 7 Days which is currently on offer for FREE until May 31, 2020, so check it out!

#3 Daily routine of sleep schedule, daily exercise schedule, morning routine, allocate time in the day to be productive

There are a lot of ways to take good care of your mental and physical health which in turn can help you take charge of your life. One of which is to try sticking to your regular routine, regardless of whether you're just at home. Maintaining a daily schedule is essential to your mental wellbeing. In addition to having a regular bedtime routine, partake in any regular physical activities. Regular exercise and physical activities can help diminish uneasiness and improve state of mind. Discover an activity that incorporates movement, for example, dancing or any exercise apps you find online. Step out in an environment that makes distance from people possible to keep like a trail in nature or even at your own backyard.

Moreover, enjoy the things you can do at home - bake goods or cook food for your loved ones or fix things that need repair. This diversion will relieve you from the process of negative thoughts feeding anxiety. Lastly, set goals and priorities. Use our S.M.A.R.T Goals worksheet to help get your goal setting started. Don't get distracted by making a list of life-changing items to do when you're waiting. Every day, set realistic goals and outline steps you will need to take to achieve those goals. Give yourself credit in the right direction for every single step, no matter how small they are. And believe that some days will be better than the others.

#4 Think about the benefits/positives that are coming out of this situation

It's perfectly alright to feel upset and to recognize to yourself and to others that right now is very difficult. However this could be an opportunity to think about what you value or really want to do with your life. Instead of treating your isolation as imprisonment, you can see it as getting more free time. Seek to find happy moments in this liberty. Create a list of things you may be interested in. You can also go for an exercise outdoors, or go online and find any exercise or yoga videos that you can do at home. Write the books and watch the films you have been meaning to do. Finish the tasks or chores you have put on hold due to your busy schedule, such as cleaning up your room. Or better yet use your kitchen that you have been constantly ignoring by eating outsides or ordering takeout. You can now also concentrate on the optimistic side of things. Try to reflect on the good stuff in your life, rather than just focusing on how bad you feel. Suggest beginning every day by mentioning things for which you are grateful. Maintain a sense of optimism, work towards embracing improvements as they happen and seek to keep things in perspective. For sure when the pandemic subsides and the lockdown is lifted, you may wind up valuing the opportunity to go outside and spend time with your friends even more. One more thing, reflect on the positives that are coming out of this situation such as the improved quality of the air where we can now see mountains that hadn’t been seen from a distance in years and the oceans and canals becoming clearer due to less human footprint; animals now starting to come out that haven’t been since in quite some time; the increased human connection between our neighbours that we’d probably never spoken to before. Have a think about what the positives are that you have noticed.

#5 Avoid watching news or statistics too much

The rapid and almost endless flood of (negative) news coverage of this outbreak can cause heighten concerns about the disease. To prevent this, try to limit social media and TV news as much as possible which may expose you to rumors and false information. To help you separate facts from rumors, gather information at regular intervals only from the WHO website and other local health agency channels. You might also want to refrain from watching, reading or listening to news that can stir up hysteria or make you feel anxious or distressed; seek information from trusted sources only and, above all, so you can take practical steps to prepare your plans and protect yourself and your loved ones.  Such practices could help you alleviate your fears and avoid getting depressed.

#6 Stay connected with friends and family

Just because we are self-isolating doesn't mean we have to genuinely seclude ourselves. On the off chance that you have to remain at home and separate yourself from others, prevent alienation from society by staying connected with your family and friends. Make time for virtual connections via email, text, computer, or FaceTime, or any similar devices, every day. When you work remotely from home, ask your colleagues how they do it, and share advice on coping. When a family member or friend has to be separated for reasons of safety or gets sick and has to be quarantined at home or in the hospital, find ways to keep in touch. One way is to send a note telling them how much you love them and how much they matter to brighten up the day. We sometimes underestimate the value of communicating relation, affection and gratitude.

You can anticipate that your current emotions should subside when the pandemic is over, but even though this crisis ends, stress and fear won't vanish completely from your life. So continue these practices to take care of your mental health and increment your capacity to adapt with life's ongoing challenges.

Want to find a way to focus on more gratitude in your life while in the midst of the negativity of COVID-19? Check out our 30 Days of Gratitude online course which is currently on offer for FREE until 31 May 2020!

Stay happy, healthy and well!

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