As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wage across local communities throughout the U.S., many people are feeling anxious and overwhelmed. While feeling down is a normal reaction to the situation at hand, it’s important to recognize the difference between quarantine blues and clinical depression. If you’re unsure if you’re experiencing clinical depression or experiencing a typical response to the current situation, here are a few things to consider.
It’s important to consider how long you have been feeling down and not like yourself. If you began feeling down and out of it roughly the same time the isolation of COVID-19 began, then it may be linked to the current situation and is a bout of quarantine blues. However, If you’ve been feeling hopeless and unlike yourself since before COVID-19 started, then you may want to seek help. Even if you’re struggling to bounce back as the pandemic progresses, it is always encouraged to get help and talk with a professional. If you are unable to shake the feeling of being down, restless, and hopeless for more than two weeks, you may be experiencing clinical depression.
Lack of Fulfillment
It’s common to get bored and feel restless with your limited activities and shows while remaining stuck in the house. If you find that some days pass by slower than others as you rewatch your favorite show for the upteenth time, it’s completely normal. It’s hard to feel fulfillment after beating a video game you already beat countless times. However, if the feeling of anhedonia seems to consume you- if nothing seems worth doing- and it lasts for more than a couple of days, it is a serious symptom worth checking out. This can include binge watching your favorite show or finding a new one, playing with your dog or cat, or even eating.
Times of uncertainty such as losing a job or feeling unsure of when your favorite hobbies will resume are causes for distress and anxiety that may make sleeping harder. Tossing and turning as you try to fall asleep or waking up on-and-off are not unusual for quarantine blues. However, if you find that you’re sleeping an excessive amount and still not feeling well-rested, or continually struggling to get to sleep and stay asleep for long periods of time, it may be a sign of clinical depression.
If You’re Experiencing Quarantine Blues Here are Some Tips to Help
Periods of isolation are hard on human beings who thrive on social interactions. Facetime, Skype, or Zoom with friends and family you’ve been unable to visit to help ease the feeling of isolation. Make it fun by making plans to watch a movie you all love together or play trivia games.
Exercising at least three times a week will also help boost your serotonin levels which can boost your mood and overall sense of well-being. It will also help manage your weight while gyms are closed. If you are unable to go outside and enjoy a hike, bike ride, walk, or run, try finding a fitness routine you enjoy for free. Yoga with Adrienne is a popular Youtube channel that offers hundreds of free yoga videos, and FitOn is an app available for iPhone and Android users that provides various exercise routines focusing on interval training, stretching, and strength building.
It’s also important now more than ever to set time aside for your mental health. Try meditating to balance your sense of well-being. Find free meditations on YouTube or download an app such as HeadSpace, Calm, or Insight Timer. Meditating just 10-15 minutes a day can make a huge improvement in how you feel.
Always Ask for Help
If you think you or a loved one is experiencing clinical depression, it is important to reach out for help. The TMS Center of the Lehigh Valley is always here for you when you need us. Call our office today at 610-820-0700 or visit us online to schedule an appointment.