We will all have hard days during this time of uncertainty. Those “hard days” have the potential to become something deeper. We all have the potential to experience short-term depression. There are many things you can do to keep depression at bay. If your “hard day” extends beyond one or two days, contact your health care provider. Here are some things you can do to help keep the “hard days” at bay:
- Set a routine and stick to it, including taking a shower or bath, brush your teeth, get dressed
- Get outside and do some physical exercise.
- Do things you enjoy (remember to do so safely!)
- Keep your goal-setting realistic. You can always set more.
- Connect in helpful ways: Facebook is okay but keep it minimal; phone calls are great! Write letters
Those hard days will happen. It’s okay to allow yourself to have a hard day here or there but be aware of extremes:
- Can’t focus or concentrate
- Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and/or emptiness
- Irritability and/or restlessness
- Loss of interest in things you usually enjoy
- Change in appetite
- The “hard day” becomes hard days
Shifting away from the downward spiral takes intentionality and hard work.
- Your feelings are real and indicate that something is going on with you. It’s not a matter of getting over it but addressing the reality of what’s happening
- Tell someone you’re having a hard time in person if possible, if not in person, by phone
- Lighten your schedule or whatever feels like it’s burdening you. Find a way to take a break from demands that are not essential.
- If you can get outside, go for a walk
- Avoid alcohol and binge eating
- Avoid screens: computers, tablets, phones, television – especially the 24 hour news cycle and continual scrolling through social media
- Do something creative
- Take a warm shower or bath
- Listen to uplifting music
- Pray, journal, meditate
Again, if your “hard day” extends beyond one or two days, contact your health care provider.