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Sunday, December 10, 2023

COVID-19 depression? No, thank you.

We are back to where we were last spring. We are witnessing the second wave of the epidemic and life is slowing down again. Information about the closure of schools, kindergartens, the inability to move between regions, the closure of bars and the prohibition of other forms of public gatherings are certainly a good reason to worry about your future. The lack of physical contact with people in us evokes a feeling of alienation, loneliness and triggers a bunch of thoughts about ourselves and relationships with others. Life is becoming increasingly unpredictable and our future uncertain.

This is a condition that might make people feeling anxious. A feeling of anxiety is fed by feelings of the unknown and unpredictable. Regardless whether our lives before were pleasant or not, we at least had a sense of knowing what tomorrow would look like. The state of uncertainty, however, stimulates many rather dark thoughts. In desperate desire and craving for a sense of certainty, our brains replay various, unfortunately mostly dark scenarios. Such a mechanism is primarily intended to maintain attention, alertness and vigilance, but unfortunately this same mechanism can easily lead us to panic, search for shortcuts, reckless decisions and oftentimes sadness. It also leads to depression and lack of the right will to work.

But we can still do a lot to protect ourselves from it. Maybe we cannot control our feelings, but we can certainly control our attention to life aspects that we can also control. I am talking about simple daily tasks and decisions such as what will we eat or what will we wear today, as well as about the slightly more demanding ones, such as our goals, our inner conversation, or the judgment of arguments for the beliefs we have about this or that. Write them down on a piece of paper and you will be amazed at how many there are.

Probably during this crisis, you are following the government spokesman, the NIJZ recommendations and all sorts of other related news. We want to be up to date, but such a flood of information is a double-edged sword. If you are exposed all day to relentless statistics, unpleasant news from hospitals and nursing homes, if all the time you are listening to where and how many people have been transferred to intensive care and how many people died, then that is all that is going on in your world. If this puts you in a bad mood, it may be time to turn off the TV for at least a while and surround yourself with some positive information. The leap into some fairy-tale world will not happen overnight, but certainly a greater amount of positive information will slowly change your mood. Just as negative information has. The more we are exposed to peace, joy and positive ideas, the stronger and faster it can affect us together. What puts you in a good mood? Comedies? A good sandwich? Book? Sweets? Crossword puzzles? Puzzles? If ever, now is a good time for all these things.

Many lose rhythm in these times and are not productive. They are not lazy, they just lack the right will. The tackle such a condition stick to daily routines. Take your time, make a new schedule and stick to it. Get up in the morning at the same time as you would otherwise on weekdays. Take time for lunch and dinner and schedule time for recreation and similar repetitive activities and tasks. Such an approach helps us maintain a sense of progress in life. It also let us continue with our efforts to achieve personal goals. Reading, writing, attending online courses, and learning are just some of such endeavours.

Either way, it is up to us to each do our own thing in these extraordinary times. Extraordinary situations require extraordinary adjustments and extraordinary measures. Adherence to the implemented measures connects us, as together we are overcoming the crisis despite the fact that we are not physically next to each other. Even if we feel powerless at times, we can contribute our share by encouraging and setting an example to others. It may not seem like much, but every such step counts, adds up and leads to our victory.


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