Social Distancing and Depression: 7 Ways to Cope - North Carolina Rehab
The novel coronavirus caused the world to drastically change with social distancing measures, affecting people from all walks of life. The isolation from social distancing is difficult for many people, but individuals struggling with substance use disorders and mental health are particularly at risk. Many people suffering from the disease of addiction also have co-occurring mental health disorders and the most common dual-diagnosis is substance use disorder and depression. As a result, it’s important to know how to cope with social distancing and depression.
People with depression rely heavily on the support of family, friends, and various support groups to help cope with their condition. This makes the social distancing requirements surrounding COVID-19 detrimental to maintaining their mental health. However, there are many things people struggling with mental health can do to help them cope with social distancing and depression during these unprecedented times.
Tip #1: Host A Zoom Call With Family And Friends
With social distancing and shelter-in-place orders preventing people from getting together, many people are turning to zoom and other video chat platforms to host virtual hangouts. It’s a safe way to see family and friends while still being able to adhere to social distancing measures. Connecting with other people can help to improve mood and reduce feelings of isolation. The CDC recommends calling people to share concerns and worries over the current state of the world.  This helps remind people they’re not alone throughout the pandemic and have people they can turn to, such as family support. If social distancing and depression are getting the best of you, schedule a Zoom call with your friends or family. It will feel good to connect and stop you from feeling so alone.
Tip #2: Limit Watching, Listening, Or Reading News Stories
The news is heavily saturated with articles and tv segments regarding the coronavirus. Most of the news reports are very bleak and fear-inspiring, two things which can significantly worsen feelings of depression. Limiting news intake helps to give the mind a break from the stressful information in the media. Make sure you’re not spending all day reading the news, and most importantly, don’t get your news from social media. Instead, take time for self-care so you don’t get caught up in the heavy news that is drenching the media.
Tip #3: Take Time To Work On A Hobby You Love Or Find A New One
Fun activities help stimulate the mind and distract from stressful situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic. These distractions help to boost mood and decrease depression. Pick a hobby you always enjoyed and dedicate a few hours a day to working on it. Or, if you don’t have a hobby, go online and find something that sounds interesting. Many people are trying new activities now that they have some extra free time on their hands. There are countless tutorials on DIY projects online for baking, arts and crafts, and building. Others are working on difficult puzzles to challenge themselves or reading books they have been meaning to read for a long time. All are excellent ways to help relax and have some fun while coping with social distancing and depression.
Tip #4: Get Some Exercise
After weeks of isolating, a lot of individuals are feeling trapped inside their homes. However, social distancing measures don’t mean you can’t go outside. Taking time for exercise outside or inside boosts dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine. These chemicals are extremely important for regulating mood and keeping depression at bay.  This exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous – it can just be a 20 minutes walk around the neighborhood. There are also many free workout routines for beginners to expert levels all across the internet. Devoting some time to physical health will guarantee to improve mental health. For an extra mood boost – get your exercise outside in the fresh air! You will be surprised what a little wind and sunlight do for your mental health.
Tip #5: Establish A Daily Routine
The novel coronavirus has caused many people to change their daily routines drastically, if not lose them entirely. With countless numbers of people becoming unemployed or working from home, it can be difficult to establish a new routine. However, having a regular schedule helps stabilize mental health – especially for those suffering from depression. Creating a list of tasks that need to be accomplished on a daily basis as well as setting some “me time” aside can help people to maintain a sense of purpose. Routine is important for everyone, but especially so for people in recovery.
Tip #6: Get A Good Night’s Sleep
A lot of people are experiencing changes in their sleep cycles with the new state of the world. A large portion of the population is having difficulty sleeping due to increased stress while others are sleeping too much.
Sleep is very closely tied to depression. Poor sleep patterns increase symptoms of depression, making it extremely important to get a restful night of sleep for those who suffer from depression.  Limiting caffeine intake, reducing stress levels, and regular exercise can all help people to sleep better at night. While it’s tempting to stay up light and break your regular schedule, doing so will help you cope with social distancing and depression.
Tip #7: Seek Professional Help
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has changed life for nearly everyone, it is no excuse to stop taking care of yourself. Carolina Center For Recovery in Matthews, North Carolina is a dual-diagnosis treatment center. Our counselors are equipped to treat substance use disorder and a wide variety of co-occurring disorders, including depression. Our therapists work closely with individuals suffering from addiction and depression to develop comprehensive treatment plans tailored to your unique needs. Don’t let the pandemic stop you from getting the help you deserve, call today.
Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.