Since the pandemic started, I have been focused on keeping my mental health in check. I am not going to sugar coat it – It’s been hard. I have battled postpartum depression and anxiety and continue to do so. Isolation fuels depression and months of social distancing and sheltering at home have affected my depression even on my “good days”. 

According to WebMD Americans are reporting high levels of emotional distress because of the COVID-19 pandemic. I am not surprised considering we are juggling work, distance learning, and trying to have some sense of normalcy in our lives. Personally, I feel like I am riding an emotional rollercoaster. On the outside, I may look as cool as a cucumber, but on the inside, I am anxious, nervous about the future, and worried I will fall back into depression unable to function properly.  

With no end in sight, I have to make a conscious effort to keep my mental health in check. There are several ways you can do the same. 

I am thrilled to partner with Pillar Clinical research who is sponsoring today’s post on mental health tips during a pandemic. They are also giving away $100 to Massage Envy to one lucky reader. Scroll to the bottom to enter giveaway or head here. Find how to participate in one of their upcoming clinical research studies. 

How to deal with depression during a pandemic

First, don’t beat yourself up if you have a few bad days, give yourself some grace, and start fresh each day. Here are some tips to keep depression at bay and keep your mental health in a good state of being. 

If you feel suicidal and your problems seem permanently overwhelming, seek help. Call 1-800-273-TALK in the U.S. or visit IASP or Suicide.org to find a helpline in your country.

Adopt healthy daily habits

I will admit at the beginning and even now it’s been hard for me to adopt healthy habits every day. However, it’s important to get plenty of sleep, drink a lot of water and avoid foods that contain a lot of sugar, caffeine, and fat. I definitely notice a difference in my mood when I overeat or drink too much alcohol and sodas. 

Limit social media and news consumption 

Here’s an area that definitely sets me in a state of despair. Whenever I get sucked into the black hole of news and mom groups I find my mental health declining. It’s hard for me to stay off social media due to my profession, but there are ways to limit it. Take applications off your phone and only check social media a few times a day or consider taking a break from social media to reset. For news, I do subscribe to a daily newsletter but sometimes I decide not to check it or only check it once and not overconsume media. It’s important to stay informed but set boundaries with how much media you read. Also, avoid unreliable social media coverage that will trigger you. Stay away from the noise. 

Get up and get moving

When you are depressed, getting up and exercising is the last thing you feel like doing. However, I have never regretted it once I finally went for a walk or rode my bike. You don’t have to have a fancy gym to fit exercise into your daily routine.  There are endless benefits to working out, but mainly it increases your endorphins and boosts your mood. 

Get a routine

I have found that having some sort of routine helps keep my stress and depression away. Once chaos ensues (and it does a lot) it can be hard to focus and stay on track. When you have one of those days, try to plan out your next day or even week with a general routine in mind to keep things running smoothly. Get your family on board with the schedule and consider delegating house duties and chores to keep clutter away. Use my daily planner and weekly planner to plan out your weeks and a cleaning checklist to track what needs to be cleaned daily. A little effort each day pays off big time. 

Connect with others

Staying in touch with loved ones and friends is tough right now, but not impossible. Stay in touch with those that bring you joy and not stress. You may have to unfriend or take a break from relationships that have caused you pain. Schedule Zoom calls or simply send a text or note to let others know you care. Let others know how you are feeling. 

Prioritize self-care

This is a tricky one for us moms. We are so busy that we sometimes forget about ourselves. Schedule some time to meditate, read, or do whatever brings you joy. Learn a new hobby or simply take a nap or drive around the neighborhood to catch up on your latest podcast or jam out to music. Whatever that thing is that brings you joy – do it. Need help finding those things? Take my 3o day self-care challenge and don’t let mom guilt get to you.  

Have depression? Consider joining a Pillar Clinical Research Study

Pillar Clinical Research offers mental health clinical trials throughout the year. They are currently seeking participants for an outpatient clinical trial for major depressive disorder. The study is being conducted in Richardson (the address is given upon participation) To see if you qualify, visit pillarcr.com or call 469-694-0544

What is a clinical trial? 

Clinical trials are designed to study the effects of investigational pharmaceutical compounds and devices.  Volunteers that qualify to participate in a clinical trial will be under the supervision of a study physician, also known as a “principal investigator” and other research staff.  The purpose of a typical clinical trial is to evaluate investigational drugs or devices for effectiveness, tolerability, and safety in order to help the FDA (Federal Drug Administration) make a decision on whether the drug or device should be FDA approved. 

Remember, give yourself grace and be kind to yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask help from others and seek professional treatment. How do you cope with depression during this time? 

Now for the fun stuff, Enter to win the self-care giveaway

 Tell us how you practice self-care for your mental health for a chance to win a $100 e-gift card to Massage Envy. No purchase necessary to win! 

This content was originally published here.

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