Depression and Anxiety during COVID-19
If you are feeling anxious, on edge, depressed, or obsessively scanning the news for updates during this uncertain time, there is a reason for it. As humans we are wired to constantly be scanning our environment for threats – for instance, when you are driving your car, you are instinctively looking out for danger, it’s how we survive. When we sense immediate danger, we switch to our “fight or flight” response, we either get out of the way of danger or we fight for our lives. Fear, anxiety, the rush of adrenaline all come with it. While this is a useful tool for our survival, it is also incredibly taxing, particularly when there is not an immediate solution to the perceived threat. We can’t just slam on our breaks, swerve, or jump out of the way. We aren’t even certain what the answer is; stay home, don’t stay home, wear a mask, don’t wear a mask, and it’s invisible – this can feel like a complete mind f***.
Taking care of yourself during this time is crucial because what you may be feeling is not just “in your head,” it is a primitive response. Oddly enough, some of the very things that many of us do to deal with our stress, anxiety, or depression have been removed from us as well. This means that it may take a paradigm shift, a complete or even subtle change in the way in which you nurture your body and your mind (spoiler alert – TP is not the answer.)
- Talk about it – You don’t have to be a superhero, and possibly by you opening up, it will pave the way for others to share and realize that they are not alone.
- Eat well and stay hydrated (stop rolling your eyes) – Stress and anxiety can deplete our bodies. Many scientists are starting to talk about this more and more, if there was a time to get healthy and care for the vessels that we live in, now is the time, we need our immune systems strong. Also, the caffeine, sugar, and alcohol rotations that many of us find ourselves turning to, maybe a quick fix, but the highs and lows are taxing on our bodies and our mental health. And let’s face it, you have time to learn how to use the juicer that’s gathering dust in the pantry.
- Sleep – I don’t mean all day, I mean on a schedule. Force your body to stay on a good sleep/wake schedule. We need both structured activity and structured sleep patterns.
- Meditate – Give your mind a break, focus on your breathing, and give yourself space to just “be.”
- Nurture yourself through creating a calm space – Light a candle, burn incense, play calming music, open up the windows to feel the breeze – in short, remove the chaos. **Note: If you have screaming kids, an annoying husband (God love him), roommates you are stuck in isolation with, find a space just for you (I have been known to use my closet – just sayin’).
- Put down your devices and step away from the digital world – Tuck into a good book, start drawing again, finish a puzzle, write in a journal, take a long (socially distanced) walk. Remember that staying connected to the digital world of news and social media 24/7 keeps that fear response on high alert.
- Consider adding CBD to your routine or if you already use CBD, consider micro-dosing, adding in a CBD bath or tea. You can learn more about CBD on our blog, or our education page.
- If you currently use Cannabis or are considering it, look for strains that are high CBD and low THC for the best anxiety relief. You can learn more on our education page.
- Call your Doctor or Therapist if you feel overwhelmed, don’t dismiss it or ignore it.
Most importantly, take some time to find ways to care for yourself that work for you.
May you and yours be well.
These are serious times, and studies have shown that domestic violence and suicides increase drastically when people are faced with fear, financial stress, and isolation. Please reach out if you need help.
*This is not to be taken as medical advice, always refer to your physician and medical professionals.