Tips for Handling Stress, Anxiety and Depression During the COVID-19 Pandemic published | 07 January The current times, they sure are strange. It is perfectly normal during these tense times to be overwhelmed and to feel fear and anxiety when facing a new disease. Besides that, public health measures, such as social distancing and working from home, can make people feel isolated and lonely and increase stress and anxiety. Here are some tips that can help you cope with the challenges that the pandemic brings. Keep in touch with your loved ones Don’t allow the feeling that you are on your own to take hold of you. It is more important than ever to stay connected with the people you love and trust during difficult times. Being cut off from the love, support, and close contact of family and friends can trigger depression or make existing symptoms worse. Back when the first lockdowns began around the world, it was easier to think we could get through it on our own because we believed the restrictions would only be in place for a short period of time. As we enter 2021 still facing the same challenges, it is crucial that we realize we must stay in touch with our support networks to get through this. If you can, meet the people you care about in person while adhering to the current social distancing measures. If not, use video calls and social media to maintain any form of contact. These times might even be an opportunity to reach out to the old friends you have fallen out of touch with. Remember, we’re all struggling, and everyone could use a bit of human contact. Talk about your feelings It is crucial to be able to admit to yourself that you are not feeling okay. Without acknowledging the emotions you are experiencing, you won’t be able to deal with them. Once you manage to overcome this hurdle, it is equally essential not to keep all your negative emotions to yourself. If you don’t want to burden those around you, seek help from a professional. Doing this is the best thing you can do for your mental well-being. You can do so even without leaving the comfort of your home, as many places offer remote therapy or counseling. Remember to be kind to yourself One of the trickiest things about anxiety and depression is their ability to self-perpetuate. Once you go down the spiral of depression, you have even less energy than before to deal with the negative things in your life. In turn, this makes you even more depressed or susceptible to depression, and the circle goes on. This is why you should do your best to remember that you have value and to practice self-belief. Self-belief incorporates self-care and believing in yourself, and as such, it can be essential for a healthy mindset during the Covid pandemic. Be supportive of others as well If you feel healthy and capable of doing something for those in need, do it. Helping others can help you as well as them. See if there are any local community groups that you could join to help people around you locally. (If you do go out to offer support or help to others, always follow social distancing guidelines when you are outside your home.) Another option is to find a friend or family member nearby who is affected by Covid and try to help them. If you cannot help this way, try to be a little more understanding of other people’s concerns, worries, or behaviors at this time. Take care of your body Many people reach for unhealthy coping mechanisms such as junk food, alcohol, or even drugs during uncertain times like these. Do your best to avoid these traps, as your physical health has a significant impact on how you feel. All these things might provide a short relief, but in the long-run, they’ll make your anxiety or depression symptoms much worse. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, and exercise regularly. Avoid smoking or drugs, and try not to drink too much alcohol. If you can, go for a hike or a bike ride, as those can help you clear your mind and reconnect with nature while simultaneously boosting your overall health. Getting fresh air and catching some rays is particularly important in the winter when the lack of sunlight lowers our levels of D vitamin, making us more susceptible to seasonal affective disorder. Try to do the things you love One of the worst things you can do for your mental health during this pandemic is to let the routine take over the control of your life. Being stuck in a rut is never a good thing, but during times like these, it can make you less likely to turn your attention and energy towards the things you love doing, the ones that can fill you with positivity. Focusing on your favorite hobby, relaxing, or connecting with others can help with anxious thoughts and feelings. If you cannot do the things you usually enjoy, think about how you could adapt them, or try something new. This is also important: when the pandemic started, everybody talked about self-improvement and set up huge goals for themselves. As you might have seen already, most of those grandiose plans have failed. It is essential to judge yourself on your own merits. Every small accomplishment counts. Even if all you do until the end of the pandemic is to stay safe and maintain your mental and physical wellbeing, that is no small feat, especially as we begin to realize this is a marathon, not a sprint. _____ Written by: Rebecca Brown I’m Rebecca, a translator, avid traveler, and a bookworm. My job has given me the amazing opportunity to travel to dozens of countries around the world, and writing on Rough Draft gives me a chance to try to showcase some of them.