Day 6 of social distancing, and it is a mental fight. If you struggle with depression and anxiety— this entire quarantine situation is only amplifying it. I know. I am with you. Currently, every morning I am waking up with that deep sinking feeling in my gut. The kind that makes you want to stay in bed all day, pull the covers over your head, and fall back asleep.
I hate depression and anxiety. But I refuse to let it isolate me further during these crazy times. It is comforting knowing that our entire country is going through the same thing that I am. We are truly “in this together” like never before.
If you are like me, I want to give you some tips for helping with your depression, anxiety, and overall mental health during this social distancing season.
8 Helpful Tips for Anxiety and Depression During Social Distancing
1. Be a Friend: Call a friend who is also in the EXACT same scenario as you and check on them. Call and ask them how THEY are doing. Don’t talk about your problems. Don’t talk about your anxiety. Don’t talk about your depression. Don’t be needy. This call is about them..not you boo-boo.
Simply— get on the phone and be of help to someone else. One of the best antidotes to getting outside of your own head is doing something FOR someone else. That could be asking if your friend needs you to pray for them. It could be asking your friend how they are holding up. It could be asking your friend if you can send them food. (Texas is letting you send drinks…just saying.)
2. Online Therapist: If you are having a hard time coping with being quarantined, social-distancing, and everything else, “Coronavirus”– talk to an online therapist. Mental health counselors are equipped to help you during this season than say, a friend.
With that said, your friends are not your therapist. Therapists are therapists. Friends are friends. I hate to say it, but I’m going too. Even though you have this disorder…and again, I am right there with you…you can’t be emotionally selfish. DON’T, for the love of the land …don’t you dare cause more panic in someone else because you are having an extra hard time.
People who don’t usually panic are panicking. Yes, you can identify with each other, but most people don’t want to hear about how “extra” of a time you are having during this time. Just being honest.
Fact: everyone is.
I repeat- call a virtual, mental-health therapist. They are better equipped to handle your disorder as it’s their job!
3. Get Your Butt Up: I hate working out. I really do. But if you struggle with anxiety and depression, the worst thing you can do is sit around all day. Now is the time to get healthy. Go for a social-distancing walk. Do some jumping jacks. There are A TON of FREE workouts that you can stream right from your computer.
Listen, you need to force yourself to do this. You NEED to force yourself to move because it releases those endorphins, which is imperative to fighting anxiety and depression.
4. Intentional Relaxation: Take a half-hour and relax intentionally. Do your breathing exercises. During this time, don’t read the news. Don’t hop on Facebook. Don’t scroll the gram.
For me, when my body is on high alert, and the anxiety is pulsating through my body— I tense up. In-fact, I tend to clench my hands while I sleep and wake up completely sore like I have arthritis. Unfortunately, our bodies tend to respond to our anxiety no matter what…even if we are doing all the things to calm down. SO, here are a few things you can do to relax at home during this social distancing situation.
- Take a bath
- Read a fun book
- Watch a movie
- Do Yoga
- Dump essential oils all over your body and breathe them in.
- Take a chill pill…whatever that is for you.
5. Phone Date: This is just for fun. Set a phone date where you can Facetime your friends and watch the same movie together. You can play virtual games together. You can sip a glass of wine or coffee together and talk about the good old days of when you use to be able to go out into the world.
Just kidding, don’t talk about that. That’s depressing.
The point is, it’s quality time with friends over quantity time with friends. Make the most of it and make it fun!
6. See the Rainbow: Those of us that struggle with anxiety and depression REALLY struggle with seeing the happy in things. Tell us anything bad and we ruminate on it for a million years and think of all the ways the world could get even worse. Trust me. It’s a real mental battle. So, here’s my challenge.
You have to CHOOSE to see the positive. I know, it sucks. I knoooowwww!
But instead of letting a Merry-go-round of “what if’s” and negativity enter your brain like a broken record— change your tune, babe! Write a list of what you are thankful for RIGHT NOW. Then, repeat it to yourself when you start to feel out of control, panicked, and excessively down.
Here is my list:
- Thankful for my husband
- Thankful for my kids
- Thankful for my family
- Thankful for my friends
- Thankful I am alive
- Thankful for my church family
- Thankful for food
- Thankful health
- Thankful for my home
And then I pray. I pray for them. I thank God for the people, and thing’s on this list.
7. Medicine: Now is not the time to get off your meds, babe. If you need to, call your doctor. If you think you might need meds for anxiety and depression…call your doctor.
8. Pray: Maybe you meditate— I pray. When I have a spike in anxiety, I repeat verses that speak truth to my circumstances. Here are a few that I pray over my family, friends, and myself.
- Isaiah 43:1 “Don’t fear, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; you are Mine.”
- Psalm 18:2 “The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer.”
- Deuteronomy 31:8 “He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
- 2 Timothy 1:7 “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
- Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
- Psalm 56:3 “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”
- Philippians 4:6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
- John 14:27 “Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.”
In the end, I truly believe we will walk out of this season with a new perspective on life. We will be like Dorothy from Wizard of Oz— seeing life through a new lens. Even those of us with anxiety and depression.
So, to you that suffers from this dreaded disorder….here is my prayer for you and I.
Give my friends and I the strength to not just endure during this season, but thrive. To give ourselves grace upon grace. To know that we aren’t forgotten, alone, or abandoned. Give us your peace that surpasses all understanding. Calm our souls and help us re-direct our thoughts.