Written by Serena Norris – A volunteer at Le Chéile as our new monthly guest blogger and a graduate from St. John Fisher College in Psychology. Serena is currently undergoing her Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counselling and runs her own online blog. To see her blog click here.
These past few months have been nothing less of odd and troubling for all of us.
From balancing finances, staying home with the family (yes it can be stressful), or mentally feeling low, it has affected our bodies mentally and physically. I know I used to go on walks every day with my dog before quarantine. I am lucky if I get a couple walks a week because of the COVID restrictions. This has affected my mental health because walks used to help me with my depression. When restrictions were placed it became difficult to go out to hike plus, I worked with COVID positive patients, so I was not allowed to even go anywhere even if I wanted. That was the hardest part to accept. My freedom was taken away being in the job I chose BUT I would not have done anything differently. Even though it has been the hardest experience of my life, it has also helped me grow as an individual. Let me explain and give you some ways I coped with my depression during the COVID pandemic.
The first thing is I had to remind myself of what I must be grateful for such as my health, my home, my family and friends, etc.
Unfortunately, some people do not have a home or good health. We tend to look at the materials to make us happy, but the true things are our physical being or others. I will be the first to say I am obsessed with my phone BUT I could live without it, our ancestors all did. We like to have these objects with us anywhere we go that it has become a part of our physical being. It is healthy to take time away from your phone and spend 30 minutes or even 10 minutes just appreciating the life we live in. This world has so much to offer us with its beauty that it goes unnoticed since we are always glued to a screen. Take just a couple minutes out of your day to go for a walk or even go outside and just look at the sky. You will be amazed at how beautiful this world is we live in.
This was one of the best things I did to help my depression.
Let’s be honest, all social media does is cause unnecessary stress from posts/statuses that are most likely from unreliable sources. Yes, I said it. Half of the information that is on Facebook or Twitter is probably false. Now, some may be creditable, but I doubt any of us take the time to check for an author, date, and validate the actual source. If you choose to read about something and get frightful of the content, do your research and make sure that it is true before posting and potentially causing other people to be stressed. This trend continues until this article is spread across the world and causing stress to thousands of people for nothing. Check your local news station or even do your own research, if it is true, I guarantee it will be published somewhere important.
My last tip to offer for helping with depression is to talk to your close friends.
This may seem obvious, but I mean really share how you feel and think. My one friend and I express our feelings to each other weekly. We both talk about our depression and help talk each other through our episodes. This can be through texting or even face to face and this has made our friendship even stronger. It is nice to have a person to lean on who understands what it is like to go through these depressive thoughts. Make sure to choose someone who may also be struggling or a person who will support you. You do not want someone who is going to judge you for inputting how you feel because all feelings are valid.
I hope giving some personal advice will help show that everyone is affected by mental health. It is okay to speak about it and to express how you feel. Until next time, stay healthy, stay positive, and stay mentally strong!