How can we prevent our spirits up and not give in to a Depression during this total confinement?
Being forced to stay at home is not natural for anyone. Every individual has a fundamental need to feel free to do what he wants, to go out if he desires it and to get some fresh air. He also needs to maintain social ties to maintain a balance of well-being and respect homeostasis. This phenomenon corresponds to the capacity of a system to maintain the balance of its internal environment, whatever the external constraints.
How can we prevent Depression during Confinement?
Isolation or confinement at home hinders this psychological balance and sense of freedom.
The most challenging thing is to hold out over time, especially without knowing exactly when the long tunnel will get opened. The risk of depression exists, especially for already vulnerable people to mood disorders because of their history or sensitivity to stress.
Here are 10 Recommendations to protect oneself in times of Confinement:
Preserve your biological clock
Not having an imposed schedule, especially when one does not have access to telework, exposes one to an inevitable drift in lifestyle habits: getting up late in the morning, irregular mealtimes, repeated naps, night-time TV, or video sessions, etc.
It is, therefore, essential to try to keep bedtime and waking hours relatively stable, close to the classic schedules, and guaranteeing a sleep duration in line with needs. And this is important and very effective very to prevent depression during this confinement.
Look for light
Lack of light can increase the risk of mood alterations, as is the case in individual so-called seasonal or winter depressions. Variations in light levels over a 24-hour day help the body’s clock to synchronize and act favorably, via the cells of the retina. These two hormones play a role in the fight against depression.
Otherwise, it is possible to position oneself near a window for enough period in the morning, or even to use “light therapy” lamps if available.
Take care of the contents of your plate
We now know nutrition plays a significant role in the proper functioning of the brain and, thus, in emotional and mood balances.
Indeed, the excess of calories and fats promote the development of a lasting inflammation in the whole and mortal body to the cerebral metabolism. Similarly, an unbalanced diet exposes the body and brain to deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals.
Therefore, take advantage of the confinement period to cook with fresh products and avoid already prepared dishes that are too rich in calories and salt. It is a rather pleasant and creative occupation. This requires frequent shopping, especially for fresh fruit and vegetables.
The consumption of alcohol and other substances increases the risk of depression and whose use can get out of hand during periods of isolation and inactivity.
Another physiological aspect that plays an essential role in protecting against depression is physical activity. It has proved that regular and relatively sustained exercise reduces the risk and even effectively treats mild depression. Here too, this effect probably involves the secretion of beneficial substances for the neurons involved in cognitive and emotional functions.
Not dull, of course, in periods of confinement, but there are currently many tutorials to follow Workout to do at home. At least half an hour of this mini sport per day is a good base.
Let what comes
Fear, anger, frustration, sadness, guilt are negative emotions, because they are painful or painful, is quite natural in this period of significant upheaval and uncertainty. These reactions of our bodies are here to alert us and teach us to protect ourselves. They are, therefore, inevitable, and even profoundly human and useful.
Problems can arise when we try to resist or stifle them. We then fight against ourselves, which is harmful and futile. The keyword is acceptance, both of our own emotions and of the situation we are living in and over which we have no control. Letting these states of mind come, accepting them even as a part of oneself, makes them less painful and less lasting.
However, be careful not to take them “at face value” they do not tell the truth! Being afraid does not mean that you are in immediate danger; feeling guilty does not mean that you are at fault. The idea is to receive these messages for what they are, alerts, and it is then up to you to decide what answers to give by taking a step back. This avoids the vicious circle of distress that leads to ruminations, which themselves reinforce the pain.
Give yourself a right to pleasure and futility
Accepting painful emotions on the one hand, but also open to other, more favorable feelings on the other. The “cocktail of well-being” is composed of two-thirds positive emotion (pleasure, affection, love, curiosity, etc.) and one-third negative emotion, in terms of duration or repetition over the day.
Even in times of crisis, it is therefore essential to grant oneself this right to humor, entertainment, various emotional exchanges, and futility. Disconnect yourself from all sources of bad news and give yourself small rewards in case of gloom or after an effort.
So make a “supply” of these healthy pleasures (movie lists, books, music, games, etc.), and dig into them according to your pre-established house rules. Above all, enjoy them fully, without any ulterior motive, moment after moment!
Live one moment at a time
It is indeed one of the bases of positive psychology and of the meditation methods known as “mindfulness,” which have proven to prevent depressive relapses.
The human mind has the tremendous ability to travel through time and carry out countless tasks at the same time, which can be very useful in certain situations. However, the human mind is often distracted by memories of concentrating on the present moment, with the result that it does not take full advantage of quiet and enjoyable moments.
It’s better, but it can also be done in front of a beautiful picture or listening to beautiful music, it is not easy for many of us.
The relationship to time is essential in the ordeal we are going through. We know that it will end, but no one knows when exactly. Counting the days and hoping that everything will be settled tomorrow generate frustration and anxiety. Isolation professionals like astronauts or frequent travelers teach us that with a daily schedule and a “day to day” view, long tunnels subjectively seem much shorter and tolerable.
Prevent Depression during Confinement
Give meaning to the lived experience
In the immediate future, however, giving meaning to the long and painful efforts that need to make can only bring more resistance, not to say more serenity. Caregivers are directly affected by illness and terrible working conditions. Find courage in the certainty that their grief is useful, even indispensable, in saving lives, with immediately concrete reality.
Staying at home, without doing anything for several weeks, is obviously not comparable, but also represents a challenge that must be associated with the same collective, even altruistic approach. Of course, you protect yourself by limiting your physical contact, but you also do it so that others, especially those who are more fragile, do not get sick or can be treated in good conditions.
This reminder must be constant in order to cope with the discouragement and the feeling of absurdity that can invade us from time to time.
Keep in touch
In the same vein, the collective, even fraternal, experience of the crisis is one of the essential keys to getting through it as well as possible. Of course, the feeling of loneliness is not the same for everyone. We are even seeing patients usually who have social phobia or agoraphobia, which are living the situation of confinement rather well!
But social and emotional exchanges remain one of the essential human needs, such as breathing and eating. And social isolation is one of the risk factors for depression. It is, therefore, necessary to keep in touch, at least by phone or digitally, with your loved ones, through regular calls, especially if you live alone.
It’s more manageable by the fact that the exceptional situation we are experiencing is the same for everyone at the same time, all over the world. So, there is no difficulty in calling your grandparents, colleagues, or friends, even those you have not seen for 20 years, no need to find false pretexts. This opportunity may never come again!
Remember to get help if you need it
During the pandemic, many health professionals, such as doctors, psychiatrists, and psychologists, continue their work, particularly in telemedicine.
If you are permanently anxious, do not hesitate to contact your attending physician.
Confide in your loved ones, and remember that it is possible to consult a psychiatrist at any time in most hospital emergency departments, all of which remain open during the pandemic. It is also possible for emergency calls for immediate counseling.
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