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Post COVID/Lockdown Depression - How To Recover

If you’re like the millions around the globe suffering from residual depression caused by COVID-19, you’re among the many. Depression is becoming one of the most common side effects from lockdown and social distancing practices throughout the world, which is largely associated with increased loneliness, a lack of regular activity, and isolation.

The alarming increase in solitude has doctors and specialists concerned for the ongoing impacts toward mental and physical health. According to professor of psychology and neuroscience at Brigham Young University, Dr. Julianne Holt-Lunstad, “There is robust evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase risk for premature mortality, and the magnitude of the risk exceeds that of many leading health indicators.” This also contributes to increased smoking habits, substance use disorder, and further mental health disorders. In the era of COVID-19, the likelihood of suffering from these effects is ten-fold. 

Signs of loneliness and depression

As a common feeling, most individuals have suffered from loneliness at some point in their lives. With lockdown and COVID restrictions so heavily enacted in various degrees throughout the world, some individuals may exhibit more signs of loneliness and depression than others. Some of these symptoms can be seen in the following traits:

  • Constantly feeling sad, lonely, or empty
  • Problems remembering, concentrating, or focusing
  • Feeling tired and fatigued
  • Lack of motivation
  • Overattachment to items or people
  • Suicidal thoughts

These traits often lead to physical reactions within the body, doubling the risk of heart attacks, lowering your immune system, or even heightened sense of pain. As depression lingers without treatment, further symptoms like diabetes and high blood pressure can begin to affect the body.

How to recover

Start small

If you’ve noticed signs of depression, take your well-being one step at a time. Changing your lifestyle cold-turkey may prove unsuccessful or overwhelming, which means implementing small changes throughout your daily routines can provide significant impacts to your overall motivation. Consider some of these smaller changes to add throughout your week:

  1. 15 minute exercise: We’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it a million times; exercising for even small periods of time can increase endorphins, improve your sleeping habits, and greatly affect your physical well-being. Studies show exercise routines are more effective compared to antidepressants over a 10 month period, adding plenty of reasons to implement small amounts into your daily or weekly routine.

  2. Reach out to friends/family: The people around you care, and so should you. Those suffering from depression are less likely to reach out to friends or loved ones, which can amplify the effects of loneliness. Simply texting occasionally or calling a relative can allow you the opportunity to talk about your feelings when you otherwise wouldn’t. This venting process provides ample benefits for not only yourself, but for those around you who can finally begin to understand your struggles of isolation.

  3. Get outside: Many experience a reluctance to get out of bed, let alone get outside. Seasonal depression on top of lockdown loneliness can prevent you from receiving the proper vitamin D and natural light your body requires. Going for a walk outside, riding your bike, or lounging at the park with a favorite book can provide the necessary self-recovery to help battle further depressive tendencies.

Seek specialized help

If you’ve attempted to start small and continually struggle with life changes, keep trying. Persistence is paramount in overcoming almost any obstacle in our lives. Although difficult with depression, the repetition of small changes has proven to help countless individuals through varying states of mental illnesses. However, the fault isn’t yours if noticeable improvements aren’t made. This means it’s time for further help from the professionals who treat people and symptoms on a daily basis.

When all else fails and motivation is at an all time low, the moment has come to seek specialists and peer counseling. The debilitating symptoms of depression can deter many from finding motivation to do so, which makes battling severe cases that much harder. Reaching out to specialized facilities, like the Jackson House, can provide the necessary aid to begin changing your life for the better. Surrounding yourself within communities of empathetic peers and trained professionals can guide your lifestyle toward healthier, more proactive changes.

Your struggles are shared by millions of individuals throughout the world. COVID-19 has amplified the mental and physical stress we feel on a daily basis, making the comradery behind self betterment a shared and common experience. Don’t allow yourself to reap the depression of this unprecedented pandemic; reach out to the people and places that care.

About the author

Jackson House

Jackson House

We built Jackson House because we realized there was a critical gap in our healthcare system and many individuals with mental illnesses and substance abuse problems were struggling because of it. While there are many outpatient treatment options and locked, inpatient facilities there was nothing in the middle. Nothing to help people who needed around the clock care but wanted to receive treatment voluntarily, on their own terms. Jackson House is different. We provide clients with the level of care they need in a welcoming environment. When you walk through our doors, we will meet you wherever you’re at and help you on your journey toward feeling better.

It's time to feel better

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If you’re a provider and need to send us information on a client, please feel free to fax us at 619-303-7044. If you need help immediately, call our 24-hour crisis line at 1-800-766-4274. If you have a medical emergency, call 911. Jackson House is licensed by the State of California Community Care Licensing Division and certified by the Department of Health Care Services. We are also CARF Accredited. If you have any client or quality of care concerns, please reach out to us at (951) 331-5607. If your concerns need further attention, you can contact the Department of Public Health at 619-278-3700 or the Community Care Licensing Division at 1-844-538-8766.