Life as we know it is changing at a rapid pace. We are experiencing a worldwide pandemic with the spread of the Coronavirus: COVID-19. Things are intense and unknown. For many of us, this uncertainty can lead to increased levels of fear, anxiety, and/or depression.
Because of this, it is important to talk about what we are experiencing and to come up with some practices and tools to manage increased stress and symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Depression During the COVID-19 Pandemic
If you or a loved one is already prone to depression, please be aware that isolation and self-quarantine may be especially difficult for you. It is important to stay connected to friends and family during this time. Fortunately for us, we live in the age of cell phones and the internet which makes staying connected easier.
If you live by yourself, I encourage you to use these tools to see people’s faces and hear people’s voices on a daily basis. Schedule daily phone calls if need be. It is important for your mental health to be proactive. Put in the extra effort to connect with friends and family online, through Skype or FaceTime, or phone calls. Although we may be asked to stay home and shelter-in-place, we don’t have to go through this alone.
Anxiety During the COVID-19 Pandemic
In the Unites States around one-third of the population is already experiencing some form of anxiety. So, we need to be aware of how a situation like COVID-19 will affect us. Individuals with previously diagnosed anxiety may feel it increase. Those who normally feel calm, may notice a change in their stress levels as well.
If you’re experiencing increased anxiety, don’t worry. First and foremost, the best way to alleviate anxiety is to accept it. Acknowledge the anxiety and say thank you. Thank you for trying to protect me, but I’m ok and I don’t need you right now. In contrast, trying to resist anxious thoughts and feelings will usually make things worse.
If things do become too intense and you experience a panic or anxiety attack, focus on your breath. Inhale slowly and deeply to a count of four. Then, exhale slowly and deeply to a count of four again. Repeat until you feel yourself calm down. Many therapists, including the therapists at the Relationship Therapy Center have transitioned to providing online therapy. If you’re suffering with unwanted thoughts and stress, it may be a good idea to seek the help of a professional via teletherapy.
It is important to allow yourself to feel the whole spectrum of emotions right now. It’s ok to have freakouts. It’s ok to feel calm. It’s ok to feel differently at different times. Accept that the world feels chaotic and that this may trigger all sorts of different emotions. Give yourself permission to be human.
Keep in mind that as humans, we feed off one another. So, be mindful about who you are talking to and how their energy makes you feel. Consume media intentionally. It is a good idea to stay informed about Coronavirus and what’s happening in your community. But be careful that you aren’t mindlessly consuming content that is causing increased levels of fear and anxiety. If you find yourself watching the news and becoming anxious, turn it off and do something else.
At Home Practices to Reduce Anxiety and Depression During the COVID-19 Pandemic
As we are asked to stay at home for the foreseeable future, we may find ourselves wondering what are some good practices and uses of our time?
First and foremost, take care of yourself. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. Eat well and remember to sleep. Whenever possible, cease using devices at least one hour before bed, preferably two. Turn your phone off or put it in airplane mode while you sleep. This allows your brain to rest because it’s not thinking about when the next notification is going to come in.
Silence, meditation, and quiet time are all practices that will help decrease fear and anxiety. Spend time in your backyard if you have this luxury, get some fresh air, and plant your bare feet on the earth. Exercise and stretch if possible. Maybe you start that morning yoga practice you’ve always wanted to do or finally turn on those internet workout videos, either way, movement is key.
Practice mindfulness and stay in the present. Don’t jump ahead into future possibilities because we don’t know what is going to happen. Instead, stay in the now and use this opportunity to slow down and do things you’ve been putting off. Finish a project around the house, work in the garden, try out new recipes, get ahead on a work project, paint, create, learn piano, do a jigsaw puzzle, read a book. Consider journaling as it is a great way to get in touch with your emotions and release stress, anxiety, and depression.
When you do think about COVID-10, focus on logic and facts. Be smart and stay informed. Don’t get sucked into panic or fear. The best ways to counteract anxiety is to focus on slowing down. Take care of yourself, rest, and do activities that calm you. In other words, when you feel anxious you should focus on doing things that are opposite of the way you are feeling.
As always, take it one day at a time. If you are having a hard time or feel overwhelmed and fearful, reach out for help. Staying connected to friends and family is especially important right now.
Consider Online Therapy in California
If you are struggling to cope with the changes that the COVID-19 pandemic have caused, we can help. The therapists at The Relationship Therapy Center in California are trained to provide high quality online therapy to people who live in the state of California. We specialize in helping couples, teens, and adults overcome the challenges they are facing in their lives. We can help you learn more tools and techniques to cope with the symptoms of anxiety and depression during the pandemic. Our online therapy platform is secure and meets HIPPA guidelines for privacy. You can meet with a talented therapist from the comfort of your home, at a time that is convenient for you. We offer flexible scheduling options to work with your unique schedule and life circumstances.
Begin Online Therapy in California
If you are ready to take the next step in your mental health journey, we encourage you to reach out to the Relationship Therapy Center in California to learn more about our online therapy options. To get started seeing an online therapist in California, please follow these steps:
Reach out to the relationship therapy clinic and schedule a free 20-minute video consultation to learn more about online therapy
Meet with one of our compassionate online therapists
Begin online therapy and find relief from the symptoms of anxiety and depression during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other Services offered at The Relationship Therapy Center in California:
In addition to online therapy, Our Sacramento area counseling clinics located in Roseville and Fair Oaks, CA are pleased to offer a variety of mental health services. Our couples services include: Couples Counseling, Counseling after infidelity, sex therapy, co-parent counseling, family therapy, divorce counseling, intensive couples retreats, and premarital counseling. Our individual therapy services include anxiety treatment, therapy for children, teen therapy, depression treatment, codependency counseling and individual relationship counseling. Our therapists offer online counseling in California to treat a variety of mental health concerns. Please reach out to our Sacramento area therapy office to learn more about the many ways we can help you or your loved ones.