Everyone may react differently to the current situation. Some reactions can include:
- Loneliness: associated with feeling cut off from others and the world.
- Low mood: you may feel down and lose motivation to do things that you usually enjoy.
- Physical changes: You may notice changes in your appetite or your sleep (sleeping too much or too little).
- Sadness and grief: You may be experiencing personal and widespread impacts of the virus, such as the loss of your routine, unemployment, and the possible passing of a friend or family member.
- Boredom: due to not being able to engage in your usual activities.
- Feeling numb: you may not feel much of anything right now or may feel disconnected from the current situation.
While some pessimism and hopelessness can be expected reactions to COVID-19, these feelings are linked to depression and may increase over time. However, there are ways to manage low mood and its negative effects.
- Use strategies of behavioral activation, which is an evidence-based approach to managing depression that can help improve a low mood and loss of motivation.
- Make a light schedule for yourself.
- Include activities that you enjoy and/or that make you feel productive.
- Keep it realistic. Include things you’re able to do, based on what you’ve been doing recently.
- Manage unhelpful thoughts.
- Reexamine how you’re viewing this time and try to take a perspective that feels more helpful to you. For those in quarantine and isolation, remember that you’re ‘safe at home’ and not necessarily ‘stuck at home’.
- If you’re feeling lonely, there are a number of resources to help you connect with others, including Gifts of Gab, a volunteer call-based companion organization that connects Stony Brook social work students and those in need of social interaction to combat the negative effects of loneliness.
- For many of us, a depressed mood may come and go. However, if you’ve been experiencing symptoms such as low mood or lack of motivation for most of the day nearly every day for over two weeks, reach out for professional support. Please call us at 631-632-8657.