How to Overcome Depression 24
What can you do about sadness and despair?
Suggestions for adults to deal with depressive moods
If during this time of the corona pandemic you are occasionally or more often
- feeling sad or lonely
- do not feel like doing things that have given you pleasure or
- it is difficult to motivate and "get up" to do something,
then you probably suffer from at least slight depressive moods and you are exactly right on this page.
Depressed mood is a normal response to the crisis
First of all: Our everyday life has changed radically almost overnight due to the corona pandemic and the associated restrictions. What is particularly difficult in this situation is that what otherwise helps and comforts us is not possible or only possible to a limited extent: meeting friends and family, hugging each other, attending sports or cultural events, going to a fitness study, etc. There are also other things new stressors such as conflicts caused by long-term being together in the smallest of living spaces, new tasks such as home office and home schooling, as well as existential fears or feelings of loneliness. These changes create stress in most people and sad or depressed moods in many of us: these are normal human responses to this crisis. Perhaps you already know such depressive moods from the time before Corona or have been suffering from depression for a long time? That would not be so surprising, since depression is very common in adults (see info box below on the "widespread disease" depression, you can also find it here the link to a self-test). In that case, the fears and limitations associated with the coronavirus can be a particular challenge.
We can do something about the moods!
The good news is: We are not powerless at the mercy of depressive moods, but can do something about it ourselves! You will find suggestions for this in the following. These come from psychotherapies that have been shown to be effective in studies. However, not all recommendations will help you equally well. Please choose the ones that about your living conditions and your state of health fit!
The following suggestions can help to overcome the depressive moods
1) Positive relationships despite distance
- Establish emotional closeness despite social distance!
We are social beings. Human closeness and solidarity are among our basic needs. That we should avoid important and loved ones at the moment does not correspond to this. The feeling of loneliness can trigger or maintain a depressive mood. We also know that through studies. Therefore, it is now important to establish emotional closeness despite social distance. The best way to do this is through exchanges, be it via chat, phone or - best and if possible - video calls, as these reinforce the feeling of closeness. Try to talk about your sadness and worries, because it is well known that a suffering shared is a suffering halved. Exchanging ideas about how to deal with the crisis in practice can also be very relieving. A change of perspective may also help: if, for example, the other person shows a more level-headed and relaxed attitude than you, this can have a positive effect on your mood.
- Try to resolve conflicts in a calm way!
Since relationships - as described - are so extremely important, conflicts with close people can be particularly stressful. In particular, living together in confined spaces can generate so-called 'density stress' and lead to so-called 'camp jolting conflicts'. Providing opportunities for everyone to retreat and holding a couple, flat share or family council on a regular basis may help prevent conflicts. However, if you do feel anger or sadness, try to address the problem in a calm way, naming your feelings and expressing wishes. Avoid accusations, the so-called 'you messages'. When you find that you cannot control your anger, leave the situation. Under 3) you will find exercises that will help. You can find more ideas and suggestions for dealing with conflicts - through a simulated camp collision conflict in domestic isolation - in videos on this page https://psychologie.uni-egoswald.de/corona-pandemie/
- Help other people too! We know from research that support does not only have a positive effect on the person who is supported. Even with the helpers, positive feelings quickly set in, which among other things result from the fact that they are doing something meaningful. By the way, you are doing something very useful yourself if you keep social distance: you show great social responsibility and save human lives. Make that clear to yourself again and again! You can also think about whom you could still help. For older people and people with previous illnesses in particular, it is now particularly important not to feel left alone in this situation. A phone call, a message or a letter can go a long way and convey the message “You are not alone”. Fortunately, in many neighborhoods there is currently a wave of solidarity with mutual support, for example offering older neighbors to do some shopping or running errands. It is also a very meaningful act to donate money or sponsor corona emergency aid, for example for children in need who cannot help themselves. Together we can do so much good and also get the feeling that we are not helplessly exposed to the crisis.
2) Daily structure through positive activities
- Create a daily structure with positive activities!
If the usual daily routine and social contacts have been broken or at least greatly reduced due to Corona, this represents a special challenge for our psyche and triggers depressive moods. In these cases it is particularly important to establish a daily structure with fixed times for sleep and eating. If you work from home, it makes sense to keep the hours similar to those at work. In order to maintain inner stability, you should pay particular attention to structuring everyday life with activities and habits that can contribute to physical and mental well-being. That's easy said, but hard done - especially with a depressed mood. So here are a few suggestions.
- By the way: The more the activities depend on yours values aligned the better. Values are activities, areas and topics that are important to you personally. Aligning behavior with values leads to the experience of meaningfulness and coherence and reduces depressive moods. A table with examples of values and related activities can be found here. If nature - i.e. experiences in nature, living in harmony with nature - is an important value in your life, then you should try to spend as much time as possible outside in nature, which is luckily possible here in Germany is.
Exercise and sport help against sadness and depression! This has been proven by studies. Jogging or walking as well as cycling outdoors in nature and the beautiful spring sun are still allowed! If you have a garden or balcony, you can also do “gardening”. In addition, sport is also possible at home - there are also very motivating apps that help you overcome your "inner weaker self".
- Reading, hearing and seeing
Our favorite (listening) books or favorite films and series are often like familiar companions through life, which is why it makes sense to read or listen to such a (listening) book again or to watch a film or a series. Of course, new (audio) books or films can also stimulate you and make you think differently. You can currently order or borrow (audio) books or films on the Internet.
Perhaps you would also like to become even more active by simply writing down everything that burdens you during the day - like a diary: this is then your personal “writing therapy”, which can also be proven to help. Or get creative and write stories or poems. Perhaps you have a writer slumbering in you!
Painting, drawing, handicraft - there are many ways to get creative and active. If you can sew or if you want to learn to sew, then you have the perfect goal: sew face masks from your favorite fabrics. Instructions for masks are all over the internet!
You have probably already seen that music can comfort you. Otherwise, give it a try: listen to your favorite music when you're sad. Or start looking for new songs, bands, singers or classical music, which streaming services make possible. It is of course also great if you like to sing or play an instrument yourself, because now you probably have more time for that. If you have previously played in an orchestra, band or sang in a choir, then you can (with restrictions) continue to use a video conference system. Here you can see an example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uP0WL1HlyY4. Perhaps you also have balcony concerts in the city or your place of residence: sing or play along there. The feeling of connectedness is a strong opponent of sadness!
If you have children, family members or friends who like to play, real or virtual games can be helpful against the depressive mood: for example, classic games like Monopoly, the Settlers of Catan or card games like Skat or Doppelkopf are ideal.
3) Avoiding unhelpful activities
- Not too much TV and computer games!
If you have more time to yourself than before the pandemic, it may be tempting to let the television shower you or play a computer game or two. However, try to pay attention to the dose, so do not overdo it: passive watching and computer games often cannot keep the sadness away for long. Some people are now constantly finding out about the current status of the coronavirus on television or other media. Unfortunately, there are currently a lot of false reports in the media that unnecessarily unsettle and frighten you. Therefore, only use trustworthy sources of information (such as advice from the Federal Ministry of Health, the Robert Koch Institute or the World Health Organization) and try to get regular and well-dosed information, i.e. only once or twice a day!
- Don't sleep too long or too short!
Sleep hygiene is now particularly important! Good, regular sleep helps us and our body recover - and it also reduces the mood of depression. If you currently suffer from insomnia (e.g. cannot fall asleep, often lie awake at night or wake up very early in the morning, or experience confused dreams or nightmares), this can also be part of the depressive mood. It is therefore very important to try to move around a lot during the day so that you are tired in the evening. Before you go to sleep, you should do something particularly nice and calming (read a good book, for example) and then go to bed at the same time as before the pandemic. However, it is also very important not to stay in bed any longer in the morning. We know from studies that a longer length of stay and also longer sleep can lead not to a reduction, but to an increase in the depressive mood. With the Moodpath app, you can listen to sleep aids for free or find out more about sleep and helpful relaxation techniques (https://mymoodpath.com/de/).
- Eat healthy and don't drink too much alcohol!
Cook yourself, preferably healthy and balanced meals, because "You are what you eat"! Eating healthily and regularly is worth its weight in gold. So don't try to get yourself through the day only with fast food, chips or sweets.
You should also pay attention to your alcohol consumption: everyone can treat themselves to a beer, a glass of sparkling wine or a glass of wine in the evening from time to time. However, the German headquarters for addiction issues recommends not drinking alcohol for at least two days a week. Women should also not drink more than 12 grams of alcohol per day, i.e. not more than a small glass of wine (0.125 liters). This corresponds to 60 grams over a week for two alcohol-free days. Men should not drink more than 24 grams of alcohol per day, i.e. two small glasses of beer (0.6 liters), which corresponds to 120 grams over a week with two alcohol-free days.
4) Concrete exercises for your everyday life
- Admit your sadness!
Sadness is a feeling that is part of human life, especially in such times of crisis. Therefore, we should admit that it is completely normal for this situation to make us sad and for the feelings to allow. Crying and letting out all the grief is often good too - do you know that too? Negative feelings cannot be suppressed for long either. Videos on this page https://psychologie.uni-egoswald.de/corona-pandemie/ provide further suggestions on how to successfully allow and accept sadness - and still act against sadness and other negative feelings, which, by the way, is called 'Opposing action' is called.
- Practice relaxation and mindfulness!
Relaxation helps against stress. Mindfulness is necessary to find your inner calm. Both have been shown to be effective against sadness and worry. You can be sure of what relaxation is. But what do we mean by mindfulness? Mindfulness means that we consciously experience the present moment without thinking about the past or worrying about the future. This helps against the depressed mood and the good thing is: You can train mindfulness! For example, relaxation and mindfulness exercises are integrated on the above-mentioned video page and in the Moodpath app (https://mymoodpath.com/de/).
- Just brood on the brooding chair!
When you find yourself worrying a lot and having to think about the same problems over and over again without getting any further, we call it brooding. This brooding costs you and your body a lot of effort and usually does not help at all. It helps to identify a chair as your brooding chair to sit on it for a maximum of 5 minutes a day and brood. When your pre-set alarm goes off, get up and do something nice. You will likely find that your brooding will decrease over time. The Moodpath app provides more exercises to break your brooding (https://mymoodpath.com/de/).
- Integrate wellbeing into your everyday life!
Do you sometimes feel helpless and think that you are never really well or at least that you cannot influence that yourself? Then the following exercise is just right for you: First, pay attention to when you experience phases or at least brief moments of well-being in everyday life (e.g. Wake up in the morning to the rays of the sun falling on my bed). You can, for example, record this in a well-being diary and then check which thoughts (e.g. Corona! How many new cases are there?) or behaviors (Check the latest data immediately on the Internet) these are interrupted. Then try to counter these thoughts and behaviors with something (e.g. First enjoy the moment and look after breakfast!). Fortunately, positive feelings are not only the result of external influences, but you can influence them yourself. This is particularly important in this time of the corona crisis.
- Try to find an opportunity in the crisis!
Here is a final tip on helping people to help themselves. You can analyze your situation. Write down what you currently have to do without and think about how you can make up for these waivers if necessary (e.g. I am not allowed to visit my parents or children, but video calls are possible). Then, however, you can also see what positive things have remained the same in your life (e.g. my family and friends, my balcony, my passion for cooking, etc.) and see how you can make better use of what has remained the same so that it improves your well-being. Finally - and this is possibly the most difficult but most important step - see what could be an opportunity now (e.g. Remember what is really important in life). The whole world stands still. What are the opportunities for society - and above all for you personally? The momentum for change is there. When, if not now?
- You will find further suggestions for the last two exercises through videos and working materials on the page https://psychologie.uni-egoswald.de/corona-pandemie/
Hope is the real currency for our psyche!
Finally, you can be sure that this is a temporary condition. One day the security measures will be relaxed and at some point the crisis will be over. Then you will do everything again that you have to do without now, for example touching your parents / friends etc. again and hugging them! Imagine exactly what it will be like: where will it be? What are they going to do? Will the sun shine? How are you going then? - Do you have to smile while doing it? These hopeful thoughts also help against the depressive mood, because - as the stress researcher Mazda Adli put it so appropriately Hope is the real currency for our psyche!
If you find that none of this is helping you, and you just keep getting sad and tired of life, then you are probably suffering from depression and should be be sure to seek professional help. The good news, however, is that depression can be treated wellespecially if those concerned seek professional help early on. What this means for you: seek help now. General practitioners, outpatient departments at universities or clinics, psychosocial counseling centers in your city or region are suitable first points of contact. Psychological or medical psychotherapists or specialists in psychiatry and psychotherapy are the right people to contact for professional diagnostics and specialized treatment of pronounced and persistent psychological complaints. In view of the current situation, you have all expanded the range of telephone and video advice and are there for those affected: Our doors are wide open!
Depression - a widespread disease
Depression is characterized by various symptoms and courses and canall ages affect. Mild depressive moods up to severe depressive disorders are among the most common mental illnesses in adulthood, which is why depression is known as a widespread disease. One in four women and one in eight men will develop depression at some point in their lives. Depression can be very stressful for those affected and their relatives and friends. Unfortunately, depression is also the number one cause of suicide.
The positive news:Depression is a good treatable disorder, especially if those affected get professional help in good time. Psychotherapies and antidepressants have proven to be effective, although the effects of psychotherapies last longer. In severe or chronic depression, psychotherapy should be combined with medication.
Here you will find a self-test, whereby the results only provide information, but do not replace a professional diagnosis: https://www.deutsche-depressionshilfe.de/depression-infos-und-hilfe/selbsttest-offline
Attached you will find further links to offers of help for people who suffer from depressive moods or depression
If you are interested, you can find out more about depression, e.g. through the free Moodpath app (https://mymoodpath.com/de/). Incidentally, you can also 'track' your mood here over a period of 2 weeks using a mood diary - i.e. follow it up to better find out whether your mood is in need of treatment or not.
Psychological advice in times of corona crisis
The anonymous and free offer of the Professional Association of Psychologists (BDP) has been running daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. since March 24, 2020.
Corona hotline number (free of charge): 0800 777 22 44
More about this on the homepage:
Available 24 hours a day (free of charge): 0800/111 0 111 or 0800/111 0 222
Depression discussion forum
The online discussion forum Depression is a professionally moderated forum for the exchange of experiences.
To the forum: https://www.diskussionsforum-depression.de
German Depression Aid on Facebook
To the Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/DeutscheDepressionshilfe
iFightDepression Online program of the German Depression Aid
The online program iFightDepression is an internet-based, free of charge self-management program for people with mild forms of depression aged 15 and over. It supports those affected in dealing with the symptoms of depression independently and gives practical advice for everyday life. Through exercises, for example, they learn to structure the day and break negative circles of thought.
Normally, iFightDepression requires accompaniment by a doctor or psychological psychotherapist - studies have shown that online programs are particularly effective in this case. Since many patients have to stay at home due to the corona virus and general practitioners are reaching their limits, the program can now be accessed without supervision until the end of June.
To the homepage: https://www.deutsche-depressionshilfe.de/unsere-angebote/fuer-habene-und-angehoerige/ifightdepression-tool
Source: Brakemeier, Eva-Lotta & Jacobi, Frank. (2017). Behavioral therapy in practice Weinheim: Beltz
Author of the web article: Eva-Lotta Brakemeier
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