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Why You Still Feel Depressed After Your World Reopened

Not long ago, so many were making plans and dreaming of life after the pandemic. Plans that began with the phrase “once the lockdowns are over...”. So much energy was expended imagining life after the masks, the quarantine, and all the closures of places we loved. We longed for lifted restrictions to help lift our moods.


Then it finally happened. Yet, for some folks, the reopened world hasn't soothed their discouraged state much at all. Life, indeed, returned to some version of “normal,” but it didn't bring any joy.


Is that how you feel? What’s going on?


Part of this may be due to the fact that so many people were struggling with depression before Covid happened. Others became depressed during Covid. Therefore, reopening may not feel as exciting to them.


Is It Depression? How Can You Know?


It’s inevitable that everyone experiences some down periods. Particularly when the world turns upside-down. But depression is more than the occasional blues. It manifests in many common signs and symptoms like:

  • Restlessness, loss of focus/concentration

  • Unexpected changes in appetite, weight, energy levels, and sleeping habits

  • Feeling sad, shameful, guilty, or worthless

  • Losing interest in activities you once enjoyed

  • Unexplained physical issues, e.g. body aches or tension

  • Recurring thoughts of death or suicide

If these symptoms persist for more than a couple of weeks, depression is likely an issue. THere is no shame in acknowledging your struggle. The uncertainty, negativity, and grief that marked our pandemic experience were unprecedented in our lifetimes. So are the practical and emotional fallout.


Why You Still Feel Depressed After Your World Reopened


Depression Felt More Normal and Accepted For a While

During the lockdowns, there was more talk than usual about mental health. Some famous voices were raised in the name of awareness. People who always seemed to have their act together were heavily impacted by the crisis.


Now, while everyone is posting photos from their return to normal, you may find that you're simply not ready.


You Wonder, "Is It Really Safe?"


There is still confusion about what is and isn’t true.


Are new variants coming? Do the vaccines really work? If so, for how long? Did we need to shut everything down in the first place?


The list of questions is endless and they all add up to mental stress. For someone already dealing with depression, it can feel daunting to move forward amidst so much disagreement. It feels safer to withdraw.


Another Routine is Ruined


It was jolting to have your habits uprooted and rearranged in early 2020. Yet, over time, you settled into a new rhythm. Now you're expected to flip the switch again. You may feel overwhelmed and unable to move quickly enough. That’s definitely not how depression or any mental health issue works. Speaking of which…


Depression is a Serious Disorder


You can feel some relief and happiness that the crisis has shifted in a more positive direction but experience dread about what that means personally. Again, depression is about much more than emotional ups and downs. It’s a serious, debilitating disorder that requires ongoing professional treatment. This means that you need a plan for recovery and moving forward.


Some Tips for Your Peace of Mind


Take Social Media Breaks


It doesn’t help to witness all the conflict, fake news, and carefully curated posts appearing on your news feed. Even with a pandemic in progress, social media can send you into a tailspin. Under current conditions, you may benefit greatly by moderating your usage.


Practice Self-Care


This is your constant. No matter how unpredictable every day feels, you can still practice self-care. It will help you self-soothe and bring out a better version of you. Feeling stronger and more stable, you are better positioned to navigate the chaos. Try these daily components to include in your regimen:

  • Stress management and relaxation techniques

  • Regular sleep patterns

  • Healthy eating choices and hydration

  • Daily exercise and activity

  • A healthy balance of solitude and social time

Recognize that Relationships Matter


Whether you return to work or not, or venture out to restaraunts or continue to order curbside, resist the urge to isolate. Sure, “social distancing” was the directive for months but withdrawing now will only serve to worsen depression. If you do nothing else, find ways to connect.


If the pandemic showed us anything, the support of trusted loved ones and compassionate others is vital. No matter how depression tries to convince you, You are not alone.


Finally...


Another beneficial relationship right now is the one you forge with a therapist. Depression is nothing to take lightly under any circumstances. And it rarely dissapates by itself. Consider talking to a counselor or therapist to get the help and treatment you need during this time of upheaval. Please read more about depression therapy and contact us anytime for a consultation.

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