Suffering from depression or feeling depressed can drain your energy, motivation, self-esteem, and make it difficult to get through the day. Making an effort to be active is easier said than done, especially during a pandemic. During these challenging times, many individuals are stressed about social isolation, the worry about jobs, money, and health. Unfortunately, some have experienced the profound feelings of loss that can trigger depression for the first time or worsen symptoms if already diagnosed. There has been a lot of change during the pandemic, from humans beings being social creatures to no social contact. Being cut off from the love, support, and close contact of family and friends can prompt depression. Social distancing and quarantining have been difficult for many individuals, it can leave someone feeling isolated or lonely. But let’s be realistic, there is no easy fix for recovering from depression, and finding distractions can be difficult since the pandemic has limited numerous activities. Finding ways to climb out of a depressive episode is not easy, however, many activities can alleviate depression during these challenging times. Many activities can help with depression, from therapy activities, outdoor or indoor activities. Everyone is different so be sure to find a coping mechanism that works best for you.
When an individual is depressed and isolated from their social network, the negative thoughts in their heads never seem to stop. However, focusing on something that adds meaning or purpose to your life is the first step to being able to find a great coping mechanism. Activities to Alleviate Depression: Advanced Psychiatry (2020) suggested walking, riding a bike, or gardening is a great outdoor activity that can boost your mood. Spending time in nature whether it is walking on the beach or going for a hike, can ease stress and uplift your mood. Also, you can remain six feet apart from others and enjoy the fresh air. However, many individuals cannot go outside for various reasons, some might have a harder time getting out of bed let alone the house due to depression. Nonetheless, there are still plenty of activities to do indoors, for example, cooking, baths, games, or reading. Hands-on activities like arts and crafts are a creative way to express thoughts and emotions. Writing, drawing, coloring, and painting are some examples of creative outlets that occupy the mind and bring peace of mind. Other indoor activities like knitting or embroidery involve a lot of detail focus, leaving no room for unwanted thoughts.
Additionally, therapy activities are other alternatives that allow the mind to relax and block off unhappy thoughts. Activities to Alleviate Depression: Advanced Psychiatry (2020) recommended trying yoga and meditation. Yoga goes beyond physical benefits, it allows the mind to practice mindfulness which can help treat depression. Moreover, you will see an overall improvement in your physical and mental health. Many states have closed gyms and other facilities, but go on YouTube and search for yoga classes. Many instructors teach different levels, from beginners to advance. Like yoga, meditation is an excellent way for you to learn how to relax your mind and efficiently refocus it. Practicing meditation can help develop qualities like mindfulness, which can also help with depression. According to Activities to Alleviate Depression: Advanced Psychiatry (2020), mindfulness teaches individuals how to respond to stress with an awareness of what is happening in the present moment.
All these activities are great for alleviating depression during these challenging times, but being kind to yourself and practicing self-acceptance are effective ways in helping you feel better. Self-love is the best love! Being kind to yourself promotes happiness and confidence. During these unprecedented times, it might be harder to practice self-love due to gyms being closed, not getting hair cuts regularly, or not being able to attend to your favorite hobbies. However, there are other ways you can practice self-love safely during the pandemic. Treat yourself to things that are coming and boost your mood. Lighting scented candles or taking bubble baths are relaxing activities that help ease the mind. Listening to music is another form of self-love, it reduces stress, improves mood, and creates relaxation and happiness in everyday life.
No one thought the pandemic was going to last this long and to be honest the end is nowhere near. As humans, we have to accept the circumstances and learn how to adapt by finding new hobbies or rekindle old ones. Go out and be spontaneous! Try something new by getting out of your comfort zone, it can either be an indoor, outdoor, or therapeutic activity. There will be days where you refuse to get out of bed or the negative thoughts continue to linger around your head. But you must tell yourself that you are worthy and stronger than your emotions. More than ever it is very important to keep our brains busy, good thoughts attract good things so try your best to stay positive during this time.
Activities to Alleviate Depression: Advanced Psychiatry. (2020). Advanced Psychiatry Associates.
About the Author:
Jennifer Rosales is an undergraduate intern from Fisher College in Boston, MA.
South Shore Child and Family Counseling is a private group psychotherapy practice consisting of a team of experienced clinicians. We are committed to the physical, mental, and social well-being of the residents of Braintree and the surrounding area. Our team of talented and compassionate clinicians will work with you to help you overcome life’s most challenging situations and celebrate your accomplishments.