The Impact of Social Distancing on Depression

The Impact of Social Distancing on Depression

The practice of “social distancing” has been mandated by our government, which means we are isolated in quarantine, and away from our friends, colleagues, and extended family members. Even if you are an introvert and don't love social situations, studies show that too much isolation can be detrimental to our mental health.

For those who already suffer from anxiety, depression, or past trauma, social distancing has a way of bringing up past trauma to the surface. During this time, those people may need social support from their family and friends to lift them up. However, with social distancing in place, their mental health may be in more danger than ever --- as with isolation comes loneliness.

Isolation is the physical separation from others while loneliness is the emotional feeling of being alone. Loneliness is associated with bad quality of sleep, lower immune system, and high blood pressure. Studies show depression is more frequent among those who are lonely.

Not only that, the fact that we don't know when we will get out of the isolation period only makes matter worse. Being out of control contributes to anxiety which can lead to a deeper feeling of depression and hopelessness.

Things you can do to help alleviate your mood during this time:

  1. Exercise. Daily movement, even a walk, can alleviate your mood almost immediately.
  2. Acknowledge what is happening around you. Don't deny but acknowledge it's there and that it's stressful.
  3. Keep in contact with friends and family. Facetime, Zoom, text and call your loved ones to keep in contact.
  4. Read less news. Too much news intake can breed anxiety, as headlines often sound scary and seemingly disastrous.
  5. Change expectations. Don't create unrealistic goals. Set realistic expectations that you can meet or have back-up plans so you aren't devastated if it doesn't happen.
  6. Help someone else. Studies show that when you help another person, you get a little dopamine hit in your brain.

These are just a few tactics you can incorporate into your daily routine. However, if you find yourself having suicidal thoughts, reach out to a mental health professional who can guide you through this time.

Feeling depressed during COVID-19? You are not alone. Call our office for your free consultation. Our clinic is still open and accepting patients on a limited basis.

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