2020 has been a year full of change. A year in which we constantly have had to adapt to new measures and find our way around the (temporary) new normal. This is not easy for many people; missing the hugs from your family or the lack of nights out with friends still remains. But when you are quarantined with depression, this time can be even more difficult. In this blog I will discuss how you can prevent your depression from worsening.
How do you feel when you are depressed?
When you are depressed, you feel low and lethargic for a long period of time. You may also notice that you get less enjoyment from life. When you previously enjoyed a cup of coffee in the sun, it no longer feels very pleasant anymore. With the help of a psychologist you can find out if you are suffering from depression.
The vicious circle
When you suffer from depression you can experience many negative thoughts. Thinking negatively may have become a habit; you may not even realize that you are thinking negatively. This negative mindset can also make you feel more depressed. Because you feel low, you are less motivated to do things (for example daily exercise, household chores or maintaining social contacts). Because you feel less motivated to do things, you actually end up doing less. You then feel less satisfied at the end of the day and think negatively about yourself. This negative thinking then causes a low mood and this is how the circle continues.
Breaking the circle
To break this circle, it is important to get active step by step (literally and figuratively), under the guidance of a psychologist. When you slowly start to move more and become active, it ultimately ensures that you also feel more active and that you are more active. If successful, you will feel satisfied at the end of the day and your self-esteem will increase. This is a gradual process; it is not fair to expect yourself to recover from depression in a few weeks.
Breaking the circle during Corona
Depression in itself is difficult enough. But what if you have to be quarantined during a depression? Then it suddenly becomes even more difficult to stay active. What can you do and what can you pay attention to (whether you are in treatment or not)?
- Create as much structure as possible, that means:
- getting up and going to bed at the same time every day: make sure you don’t sleep too little or too much.
- Structure in your diet: breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. Preferably as healthy as possible.
- Add daily exercise to your agenda. For example: a walk for 30 minutes every day at 10:00 am.
- Make a plan for your other activities: fun relaxing activities and “musts”. For example: every day at 2:00 PM I clean up for a maximum of 20 minutes. At 3 p.m. I sit down with a cup of tea and a treat and I call a good friend. It sounds simple, but we often get energy from simple things.
- Avoid using alcohol or drugs to deal with your emotions: it may seem nice in the short term, but in the long term it often makes you feel more miserable.
- Limit the amount of news you receive: you can reduce your concerns or anxiety by watching or listening to reports in the (social) media less often. If you follow the news, rely on reliable information sources (the national government, the World Health Organization (WHO) or the RIVM).
- Talk about your feelings and don’t bottle them up. Stay in touch with people you trust: friends, family and colleagues via email and phone. Don’t forget: people like to hear that someone else is doing well and are happy to offer support.
- If help from the environment isn’t enough, contact a professional counselor. If you do not yet have a professional care provider, your doctor can help you find one. The general practitioner can also quickly provide the right kind of help and refer you to other care providers such as a psychologist.
Always take small steps in a depression. As I said, it’s not realistic to expect yourself to get rid of your depressive symptoms overnight. Give yourself time and ask for help.
Are you looking for help to deal with your depression or other problems with your mental health? Click here for more information about treatment via NiceDay.