Coping Strategies for Depression and Anxiety
In this unprecedented situation, mental health resources are greatly needed and there is only so many to go around. While I'm not in a position to provide counseling to anyone, here are some tips on how to manage your mental health to help you cope with uncertainty.
Depression Coping Strategies for COVID-19:
I've personally found depression to be particularly tricky to manage because of the hopelessness that sets in. The best piece of advice I can give to anyone dealing with this is to do at least ONE thing everyday even though I know you don't feel like doing it and all that you want is to stay in bed. Once it's done, focus on the fact that you did it, you won that battle and congratulate yourself.
Here are some ideas:
1. Pick a room and clean it, just one room.
2. Play with your pet, they're stuck inside with you and they will love you for paying them that extra attention. Brush the cat, throw a ball for the dog, let out the guinea pigs and put your lizard on your shoulder (safely).
3. Listen to an old playlist. This is also useful for anxiety, I still have a few select songs that I listened to when I was about 11 and never fail to boost my mood.
4. Order a yoga mat and strap #socialdistancing, and use YouTube for its vast selection of free yoga classes; I almost always use Yoga with Kassandra because she has a huge selection of 10 minute videos and lots of beginner content. Moreover, I FINALLY got myself some Lululemon items and as much money as they were, I have no regrets because it feels so good to put them to use and there's a huge difference in the quality.
5. Reach out to the community. Right now, everyone is in the same position and everyone is struggling. If you don't feel comfortable joining a volunteer group then you can always donate some goods to a food bank, or submit a $10 donation.
6. Talk to your friends and family, like I said, everyone is in the same uncertain position... and misery loves company. If you don't feel comfortable sharing everything then you don't have to! pick one or two things to talk to a person or a few people about and feel the weight of the world fall off your shoulders.
Here is some more detailed information from CAMH about depression: https://www.camh.ca/-/media/files/guides-and-publications/depression-guide-en.pdf?la=en&hash=23FF02308C6E233057207E27F3EBF9AB86B84086
Anxiety Coping Strategies:
1. Run, walk, use the elliptical that's sitting in your basement being used as a coat rack, bike... just find a way to expand that energy in a constructive manner. You will feel better, this has never failed me.
2. Recognize that your brain is playing tricks on you. Your body is initiating a fight or flight response, it's telling you you're in IMMEDIATE danger meanwhile, you're sitting on your couch watching the same episode of Brooklyn 99 for the ten thousandth time. You're brain is lying! Call it out on its garbage! and then breathe... always breathe.
3. As mentioned before, listen to an old playlist and remember when your biggest concern was whether or not your middle school crush would ask you to the school dance.
4. Identify one thing that you know will calm you down (e.g. podcast, meditation app, audiobook, TV show, journal, scent) and make it accessible at all times. Whenever you feel your anxiety coming on, go to it.
5. Get something tangible from someone you love, and think about it or go to it when needed. Right before my surgery, I asked my boyfriend to get me something I could take to the hospital and home with me... so we went to ToysRus and got a teddy bear. That bear (named Arnold after Ginny's pigmy puff) is something that makes me smile every time I see it or think about it which is invaluable when you're having a hard time.
Some more CAMH information on anxiety: https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-illness-and-addiction-index/anxiety-disorders
Remember, all of this is temporary. Feel free to reach out to me for blog topic suggestions! My goal is to help you guys.