Recovering From COVID Depression
It's Been Tough All Over
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, rates of mental health challenges and substance abuse have been on the rise. Between forced isolation, families becoming divided about masks and vaccination status, and places of employment shuttered for good, it has been a difficult time since last March.
Life changed in the blink of an eye. Perhaps you picked up new hobbies, moved jobs and school online, or re-invented yourself. Maybe you fell into a dark place of depression and developed anxieties. As regular routines had to end or change, days faded into months as hobbies no longer brought joy, and it became harder to maintain regular sleep, diet, and exercise. Being alone became more comfortable than going out. Pajama pants replaced yoga pants while DoorDash solved your nutrition issues.
One day, maybe you will wake up and see the hole you have let yourself sink into. Then you look around and acknowledge that you have let a lot of things fall by the wayside. At this point, it is hard to know where to start. Maybe the mountain of mail is overwhelming or you have no idea how you are going to catch up on your bills.
Seeing all the things that need to be taken care of can bring depression to the surface again and make you want to crawl right back into the hole you have managed to escape from. Do not let depression win, in these cases. Resolve to get back to the happiness and balance that you once enjoyed. There are ways to recover from depression and get back on track with your daily activities and responsibilities.
Beginning with a Plan
Keep in mind that Rome was not built in a day—in other words, things are not going to magically get better without hard work and time. When depression hits, it can be hard to find meaning in things, and pulling yourself up by your bootstraps can be hard if you do not know where to start. Consider starting by making a list of all the things that need to be taken care of. Then, chip away at it slowly but surely.
For example, if you have a mountain of unopened mail, take care of five or so pieces a day. Keep a pad of paper handy, and if you run across an unpaid bill, make note of it. Make a plan to begin catching up on payments. Many agencies have online chats to help you manage your account which may be an easier route if you do not feel like engaging in a conversation.
You can try taking things one room at a time. Tidy your bedroom one day and the kitchen the next. If that is not working for you, take it one task at a time, like tackling laundry one day and cleaning out your fridge the next. Plan certain times of day to do things so that you have a bit of structure. Get your favorite playlist or podcast on and get going. When you have completed a task, reward yourself with a sweet, some downtime, or a fun outing.
Remembering What Feeling Okay Is Like
If you have been depressed for any length of time, it is easy to forget what being okay feels like. Now is the time to formulate what your okay will feel like. Anyone can give you ideas of what happiness should feel like, but what does it mean to you? Now that you are beginning to come out on the other side of depression, you get to decide what your new normal will look like. How exciting is that? You are the captain of your own ship, you choose where to steer it.
Maybe for you, okay looks like talking to friends again. Maybe it is going back to a weekly gathering you have been skipping. Okay might be catching up on your to-be-read pile or to-watch list. Start with something small to get you engaged in the world again and go from there.
Get Back Out There
Engaging in new hobbies is a great way to empower yourself and discover hidden talents. Feeling frustrated? Try a new gym class at your local fitness center. Choose a class that sounds like fun and excites you. If you are feeling as if you cannot get out of your head, do something creative like paint or write poetry. This can be just for you, so it does not have to be good, it just has to be some kind of outward expression of your feelings. If you are feeling stuck or lost, seek help from a mental health professional. Whatever you choose, you can work your way out of depression and get back to living your life.
Gaining your life back after being stuck in depression may seem like an uphill battle, but you've got this. Reach out for help if you need to. Always remember recovery happens one step at a time. Start with small victories and work your way back into your normal routines. You are stronger and more capable than you know, and you have the power to overcome depression. If you're feeling stuck, Achieve Medical Center offers non-judgmental support to combat all your mental health challenges. Our wonderful staff of therapists and health professionals can help you get out of depression brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and get back to living your life. We provide many kinds of interventions to make you feel comfortable and get to feeling your best. When you need help fighting that uphill battle after depression, call Achieve Medical at (619) 375-3977 to find out how we can help you.