Coping with Anxiety and Depression During COVID-19
Updated: Aug 17, 2020
These times are stressful. I’m just trying to take it day by day, do the best that I can, and figure it out as I go.
A good colleague of mine uses a great metaphor to describe uncertainty while still moving forward and that is that we are “trying to build the plane while it’s in the air.” This metaphor resonates so much with me as I think about it often because, well, I feel that way often!
In spite of the challenges and difficulties I am experiencing, I know that life must go on and it is up to me to figure out just how to do that without losing my mind!
Personally, I have chosen to reframe this unique time to be an opportunity. An opportunity to learn new skills, get more creative, reconnect with family and friends, and find new ways to take care of my mind and body. This is not to say that I don’t still feel lonely at times and continue to struggle with my own burdens but I know that it would be MUCH worse if I didn’t have a plan nor follow it.
I’d like to invite you to also think of this time as an opportunity. What tasks have you been putting off to which you can now give your attention? Which crucial conversations have you been putting off that you can now practice having? What are new ways that you can care for your mind and body that you are not typically able? How can you show up differently with your family and friends?
For many, it is a natural inclination to either put your head in the sand, become overflowing with anxiety, or experience a combination of both.
My default in the past had been to become paralyzed with anxiety which would lead to some pretty crippling bouts of depression. It was a painful realization to learn that my intergenerational and societal programming to always put others first led me to feeling trapped, overburdened, heavy, and dysfunctionally sad.
Like the God Atlas, it felt as though the weight of the world was constantly on my shoulders because, in my mind, it was. It’s not surprising that I have historically struggled with neck and shoulder pain as this is a psychosomatic manifestation of my inner world. Luckily, I’ve learned to use this as a guidepost that signals that when I am feeling pain in this area, it is because I have leaned into my propensity to put others first and it is a sign to self-correct.
I don’t always get it right but through consistent healing and maintenance practices, I am happy to report that much of the time I now do.
My own pain, suffering, struggles, triumphs, lessons, and wins are part of the gift that I offer you during your treatment. Because I am you. Your pain is no different nor am I better than you. No one is exempt from the human condition. We all bleed red and we all hurt.
So know that when you are lying on your couch cruising the internet, breaking up fights between the kids, stepping out to sneak a cigarette to escape your family to have a few minutes to yourself, busily working away on your laptop from home, or beating yourself up because you constantly feel like you should be doing more know that I see you.
Please know that you are not alone.
Use this opportunity to your advantage. One of the best things you can do is to keep yourself occupied so get busy with filling your time with a combination of the necessities as well as things that nourish you.
Make a well-balanced routine and stick with it.
Don’t forget the self-nourishing part!
Don’t just veg out in front of the TV for hours! This can make depression and anxiety significantly worse!
Here are some self-nourishment ideas to add to your routine to fight anxiety and depression during COVID-19:
Go for walks,
Talk to a friend or family member
Make an online counseling appointment with me
Try out a new recipe
Create a new work-out routine
Paint your house
Take up a new hobby
Call someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time
Clean out storage spaces
Go on a stay-at-home picnic with your significant other
Listen to podcasts and talk about them with friends and family
Make a vision board
Play with your animals
Clean and do laundry (limit this if it does not nourish you)
Play board games with the kids
Start a blog
Remember: this is only temporary. We will get through this!