Depression is one of the hardest mental health disorders to treat. One reason being, to get out of a depression we must physically do what we do not feel like doing. It comes as no surprise that many of us are feeling more depressed now that we are being required to social distance, self-quarantine, and flatten the curve. For those with a history of depression, you are more likely to return to depression during times of stress. Even those who have never experienced depression might be feeling a bit blue due to being secluded at home for over a month.
But what can we do? The COVID-19 pandemic reminds us that there is little that we have control over and we really don’t know what the future will bring. But one thing we can control is how we react to stressful situations. We can hunker down with Netflix, Ben and Jerry, and Instagram. Or we can mix it up with some healthier choices that will help us to feel better. Here are some ideas to get you started on improving your mood.
4 Ways to Reduce Depression and Improve Your Mood
Counseling – Most therapists are offering counseling online now. It’s super convenient. You don’t even have to change out of your pajamas. Counseling helps all sorts of mental health issues including depression. A therapist can give you a different perspective, healthy ways to cope, and someone who will listen unconditionally. For more information on the pros and cons of online therapy see my blog post Pros and Cons of Online Therapy.
Exercise – Exercise doesn’t have to be an hour long run. It can be as easy as playing outside with your kids, doing some jumping jacks during a commercial, or walking to the mailbox. If you’re looking for something more intense, there are a ton of exercise videos available on the internet. Try yoga, free weights, step, Zumba, or body weight exercises. The videos range from 15 minutes to an hour long. When you’re feeling depressed exercise can feel like the last thing you want to do. If this is how you’re feeling, try committing to 5 minutes of physical activity and adding more time every few days.
Call a friend – Have you ever had a crappy day and called a friend to vent? I’m sure you’ve experienced feeling happier after getting support from someone who cares about you. As humans we need our social relationships and connection to other people. It’s nice to know that we are not alone. Fight the tendency to isolate and push yourself to reach out to someone.
Hobbies – Now is a great time to revisit a hobby that you haven’t had time to do. Don’t have a hobby? Pick something that sounds interesting, but not too difficult. Some of my favorites are gardening, jigsaw puzzles, and crochet. Working on a creative hobby gives you something to look forward to, calms your mind and releases antidepressant chemicals in your brain.
Hopefully this has been helpful and given you some ideas on how to manage your depression. Give it some time, depression usually does not go away overnight. And of course, if you feel like you are going to harm yourself or someone else, call for help immediately!
If you have any questions or are looking for more support and interested in online counseling, please get in touch.
Take care and be well😊