One of the things that therapists and doctors of psychology will warn against is isolation. It makes any mental health problem you are having so much worse. In these last few weeks as we have all be forced to be isolated due to the current climate, it has made things really hard on everyone, but especially those with underlying mental health conditions. For many, too, they never had depression and are experiencing it for the first time. It can be really hard to stay connected to others during this time as often, social media is a toxic place full of judgement, negativity and panic. If you are searching for some advice other than to take a walk outside, I hope some of these suggestions that I got from several folks on my social media timelines and ones I have been doing helpful.
How to Help Depression and Anxiety When You are Isolated
Turn off social media- Yes, it can seem counter-productive to do this, but we are highly influenced by what we read. If your timeline on Facebook is becoming a place of negativity and bad feelings, turn it off. Just a simple break from it for 24-48 hours can really help. The same goes for the news. Watching constant news-streams about something can really get into your mental state. If you are concerned you will miss important updates, subscribe to an authority’s alerts such as your governor’s emails.
Journal– This is a suggestion I think is great for any time but especially now. Not only will your journal be a non-biased place to just let your feelings out, but it can also be an interesting piece of history if you think about it. Years later, you will be able to look back on your survivor spirit and how you overcame during this time.
Stress doodling– My son does this. He is 17 and says it’s simply just doodling whatever comes to mind with no direction. Even if all you do is scribble black lines, its helpful. In the same way as journaling, it can get your feelings out. Dress up your doodling with some fun markers.
Cry– It’s truly OK to cry in times of distress. Don’t hold back. Crying is what I like to think about as detoxing the mind. I sometimes just need to get in the shower and do it. Take care of yourself and acknowledge all of your feelings. When you are done, pamper yourself with some homemade self care. I have lots of recipes on my site.
Connect with others with ‘appointments’– Another friend of mine has made a commitment to FaceTime or Skype a friend at least every other day. It can be the same friend or a different one. Just make a commitment to do it at a certain time and stick with it. This can be helpful because unlike social media or a phone call, you are interacting with a person you can see, much like face to face time.
Start a Book Club over Zoom– Download the Zoom app and have video time book club meetings. This will give everyone something to focus on in their alone time and also a reason to connect with each other as often as you would like.
Play games online with friends– There is a site that allows you to play card games, and even games like Cards Against Humanity online. Check out Playingcards.io. There, you can play all your favorites with up to 6 people.
Host a Netflix Party– This is a fun way to watch a show with a group without anyone coming over. Simply pick a time that works for everyone, a show or a movie and make snacks from home. Choose to ‘meet’ online through Zoom and press start at the same time. Discuss and laugh along with your friends!
Do exercise indoors– I am a firm believer that depression can be helped with exercise. It is very hard to get up and do when you are depressed, but so vital for our well-being. Look up yoga, Zumba or whatever your fancy on YouTube and get your sweat on.
Foster a furry friend– A friend suggested that she was able to get a furry companion to foster very easily with her local shelter. Just having an animal has been shown to help with depression. Why not get yourself a friend while isolated?
Start a Phone Check in– If you have a group of friends, why not rotate making phone calls to each other to check in on everyone?
Hotlines and Depression Support
Text for help. Check out 741741. It’as a crisis support text line that can connect you to a counselor 24/7.
Call the Suicide Prevention line. The number is 1-800-273-8255. Soon, it will simply be 988, but that is NOT running yet.
CalmHarm is an app that helps your resist the urge to self harm.
HAPPY is an app that allows you to just connect with another person. Sometimes that can be extremely fulfilling.
Please let me know of other resources I can add to this post! I would like to keep adding more as my readers suggest them and as I find them.
As always, please reach out for help if you are suicidal. The world needs you and your uniqueness no matter what your mind is telling you. <3
Thank you to the friends that helped me create this post.