Under trying times as the current pandemic, it is no wonder that mood disorders and depression are on the rise. While low-grade depression is common enough, with even the former first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, falling prey to it, the plight of those with a severe or chronic depression or mood disorder is hard to fathom.
In America itself, there could be 25 million people who are struggling with a mood disorder like depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder. This includes those who have been diagnosed with the disorder and are receiving treatment and those who are closet cases or those who have not been diagnosed yet. Due to the uncertain nature of the pandemic and the resultant economic and social hardships, many have fallen prey to the disorder and are unaware of it. Their lack of life skills is a major concern, as their inability to handle the stress effectively could manifest as a mood disorder.
As a psychiatrist and a patient, expert Susan Noonan, MD, MPH, has some advice for people who are unable to make sense in this new chaotic world order.She says that the key to remaining sane during COVID times is acceptance and adaptation; “Those who accept the reality of the COVID-19 pandemic and adapt to their new circumstances, while continuing with the things in life that provide meaning and purpose, have a greater chance of maintaining emotional stability.”
Tips to overcome depression at home
For people who are worried that isolation is taking a toll on their emotional health, here are 10 tips for coping with the blues. Patients who are on medication and missing their therapy will benefit as well from these time-tested ways of staying mindful and happy.
- Using time judiciously: The most important thing is to utilize time and utilize it meaningfully.Instead of ruminating on the sad state of affairs on social media, one could use the unexpected time at hand to finish pending work. Enlisting for a new hobby or an online course is another way to keep engaged. There are many who have taken the time off to read a classic, or learn to paint or water color. Hobbies take up time and the sense of achievement induces a positive effect.
- Keeping away from social media: Social media is extremely stressful. There is a barrage of information that one does not need to process. Sothis is a good time to switch off digitally. While stayingupdated is good;overload of useless information can be harmful.
- Maintaining treatment schedule: For patients, who have been diagnosed with depression or any other mental disorder, are on medication and need to attend counseling sessions, it is advisable to stay in touch with your counselors, self-help groups, etc. With the U.S. government relaxing the rules for filling prescriptions, ensure that the required medications are available and that they are taken on time.
- Having structure in life: Just because one is in isolation does not mean that they can lie down in their pajamas all day through. It is important to have a sense of order and self-care even during COVID times and that means making the effort to cook, clean, and focus on completing daily chores and fulfilling responsibilities.
- Taking care of self: Self-care is extremely important. In fact, it is the one of the best ways to beat the blues. Not being able to do it is one of the key symptoms of depression. So, be cautious if you are seriously not able to do this.
- Eating right and getting adequate sleep: Omega 3 fatty acids found in fish, eggs, legumes, butter and cheese have been proven as good foods for the brain. Instead of ordering out, cook a home-made meal. It is not only healthier, but is also a good way to get the family together at one place. Use the presence of every one to express how you are feeling and encourage the others also to share their thoughts.
- Organizing is the key to a sound mind: Whether it is work or home, an organized day reduces chaos and confusion. It also aligns your thought process leaving you focused and less stressful. Many people who experience a meltdown recollect that it was often the outcome of clutter.
- Taking the time out to exercise: Participating in physical drills like yoga, running on the treadmill and doing light workouts at home produces great results for people battling depression. Exercising releases endorphins or the feel-good hormones in the brain, keeping you away from feeling the blues.
- Practicing gratitude: A thankful heart and mind can conquer anything thrown at them. Remind yourself of what you are thankful for every morning and just before going to bed. This helps replace negative thoughts with positive ones, boosts mental health, reduces toxic emotions, enhances empathy and improves self-esteem. It is also a great way to distract the mind from any fears one might be feeling.
- Staying in touch with friends, family, and loved ones: For patients who have been struggling with depression, the isolation can be trying as they are forced to miss out on important appointments with friends and self-help groups. However, they can still catch up with friends and self-help groups online. In Italy, one of the most breathtaking spectacles was when the neighbors enlisted for a musical evening, with each resident attending the concert from the comfort of their own home.
Help is always around
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately 7.1 percent Americans, aged 18 years and older, experienced at least one episode of major depression in the past year. But, with the current pandemic showing no signs of abetting, this number could rise well above the estimated number. Do not become a part of this number. Practice these small self-help tools to boost your mental health and maintain your sanity in these trying times.
However, if in spite of trying all self-help tools, you are still not able to shake the feeling of hopelessness and despair then seek immediate professional help. If you or a loved one are displaying symptoms of depression, like changed eating and sleeping patterns, loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed, feelings of guilt and extreme sadness or lack of concentration, then get in touch with the Invictus Health Group.
We partner with credible mental health centers in and around California to offer the best medical advice in mental health treatment. Call our 24/7 mental health helpline number 866-548-0190 and speak to a representative. You can also chat online with a representative for further assistance.