Fear. Uncertainty. Everything you thought you knew about your life has been stirred up. Your five-, ten-, and twenty-five year plans may need to be rewritten. Your family is turning to you for answers. The bills are piling up.

We’re finding that, while we all respond to this level of stress in different ways, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone. There are ways to avoid – and cope with – depression and anxiety related to the Coronavirus. Here are seven suggestions, but remember: If you are feeling anxious and/or depressed, speak to a mental health professional immediately. There is no substitute for the care of a licensed professional. Additionally, for any advice we may have related to getting outside, please refer to your local health mandates and cautions.

Okay, with that being said, here we go with our seven:

Hang Out without Hanging Out

If you enjoy knitting, discussing books or films, crafts, and/or drinking responsibly, you should be having video chat happy hours with friends or even strangers. Sign up for a hobby happy hour, or start your own. Don’t feel like doing any of that? Simply FaceTime or Skype your friends and take advantage of the miracles of technology to see the smiling faces of your loved ones as you talk over the phone.

Go for a Walk

If it’s safe to do so in your neighborhood, try getting up early and going for a walk. Keep your distance from others doing the same, and enjoy the mental benefits of being outside as the sun comes up. There’s something magical about walking before the hustle and bustle of the world (abbreviated though it may be these days) begins. And, with a little exercise under your belt at the beginning of the day, you’ll feel better prepared to face whatever else comes.

Take a Yoga Class

All over the world, yoga teachers are trying to stay in business during a time when their studios are closed. These teachers are offering daily and weekly online classes. Sign up and log in for one and find out what all your friends who do yoga are raving about. The bonus to these video yoga sessions is that you can finally try it out without leaving the comfort of your own home. Ordinarily you’d have to show up to a class and try yoga in front of all those people!

Download a Mindfulness App… and Use It!

There are several mindfulness apps in the various platform-dependent app stores, and there’s no time to give meditation a whirl like the present. Some of the reported effects of mindfulness include better coping with stress, anxiety, and depression. Each app on the market seems to have its own spin, too. If you want to lean to the spiritual side, there’s an app for that. And if you want a more pragmatic/scientific approach, there’s an app for that, too!

Eat a Healthier Diet

If you’re sitting around feeling bored and restless, you might be indulging yourself in more convenience foods and comfort foods than normal. Take a step back! Think about boosting your immune system, instead. Eat plenty of food packed with antioxidants

Catch Up On Your Reading

Whether you have a stack of books you’ve always been meaning to read or you prefer to download ebooks to read with an app on your phone or tablet, there’s never been a better time to indulge in non-TV entertainment. If you don’t like reading, try audiobooks!

Professional Help

In closing, we want to again stress the importance of seeking the help of a licensed mental health professional if you are feeling overwhelming anxiety and/or depression. There are all sorts of options, from video chat sessions to group therapy to Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (see this article: what is TMS treatment?). It’s not a sign of weakness to seek help. 

So hang in there, stay active, and know that we’re all working to get through this time of crisis together.