When I work with women who have been deceived and betrayed by their husband or partner, the stage of grief they tend to settle into for the longest time is depression. Most people would think it was anger, but once they get clarity, anger is quickly exchanged for depression. There are several reasons why this happens but for most it is because they lose hope in their future.
As this current health crisis that has risen from the Coronavirus spreads around the world, many people have found themselves struggling to cope. Struggling to hold on to hope of an end to a controversial pandemic and what the world will be like in the future. Most of us initially reacted in fear which then turned to anger about how this has completely changed our lives. And as time goes on, we have seemingly settled into our new normal way of life, creating 6-foot bubbles around us, hunkering down inside our homes, and adapting to our lives of seclusion. But without the freedom to move around our world, the freedom we take for granted, our mental ability to make the necessary shift toward an isolation with no expiration date gets more difficult with every passing day.
This can lead to depression. Most people already clinically diagnosed with depression and anxiety have seen their symptoms get worse. And those that have never, or rarely experienced depression are finding it hard to understand the slow onset of this condition. We seem to have been thrust into a world that is doing more harm than good emotionally, and we feel trapped with no way out.
So, what to do. If you have not bought into any of the conspiracy theories because of fear and anger, then you may be starting down the path of depression. Or you may be at the acceptance stage and know that you are only able to control what you alone can control. Either way, without knowing what the future holds you can do some things to help keep you mentally active and look forward to a future during this strange and trying time. I have outlined below some of the more popular exercises I use in my Restoration Roadmap designed to help women through the healing process. I give them homework to put action to what they learn about themselves which reinforces their successes. These make the biggest impact when dealing with the stage of depression and are also relevant to being in an isolated state due to unexpected actions.
- Start a journal – The act of bringing your feelings and thoughts from your head and heart and putting them onto paper is very cathartic. It allows you to articulate what you need to, even if the words are few. It is a freeing opportunity. And as you continue to do this every day you may find relief and gain strength through the isolation period.
- Remember – When we are depressed, we forget the positive things about our lives because we are focused on current state of being. Look through old pictures, communicate with friends and family who lift you up, re-read a book that you know will make you feel good, get dressed up and have a date with your partner, kids, or even yourself. Doing these things may feel weird at first but you will find yourself smiling when you least expect it.
- Meditate – Or pray. When we connect with our God and allow our spirit to open, you give permission to allow positive vibes to enter your spirit. There are many ways to start this practice and there are plenty of YouTube videos and phone Apps to help you get started.
- Back to the future – You may have had to cancel some long-awaited plans like a vacation, a family gathering, or a wedding because of the worldwide shut down. Start thinking about how you can plan for them in the future. This allows you the opportunity to make additions to the original plan and look forward to something exciting when the social distancing has been lifted.
- Move – Depression makes you want to not do anything. And with all the gyms and studios closed you may need to adjust or find new workout options. Exercise is the best medicine you could take because it has a positive impact on mood. It has been proven that physical activity stimulates the release of “feel-good” chemicals in the brain, called endorphins. Just 30 minutes a day, and vary the exercises, for maximum benefit. You can also find yoga and non-weight bearing videos on YouTube as well as computer and phone Apps to get you started.
- Eat – Depression slows down our metabolism and causes us to not feel hungry. We tend to just eat whatever is available and easy. So, chips and other processed foods take the place of healthy, nutritious staples that our bodies really need. Take the time to make a big salad that you can save in the fridge for several days and alternate it with some soup or pasta that you make in your InstaPot. Be creative but just make sure you are eating lots of colorful and dark vegetables.
Without knowing when the social distancing requirements will be lifted, doing all 6 of these actions will keep you from being bored, stave off depression, and give you something to look forward to.