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After more than a year of unrelenting bad news, it finally feels as if the United States has left the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic behind us. However, even as our lives are opening back up, with work, school, and businesses beginning to return to something closer to pre-pandemic ways, many people are finding that they are still dogged by feelings of depression. Even worse, their children may be affected by depression and anxiety as well, falling behind in school and lacking interest in formerly favorite activities. Why, when the future is looking bright, would this be the case? It is important to know what causes depression to understand how to address it.
The COVID-19 pandemic, and the associated lockdowns and disruptions to our normal way of life, created a perfect storm of factors that could lead even those not normally prone to feeling down into depression. A CDC survey from the summer of 2020 reported that more than 40% of respondents had symptoms of anxiety or depression—and that was before the worst of the pandemic had impacted the U.S.
Depression is not simply a state of mind. It can stem directly from your physical condition. Among the issues that can cause or exacerbate depression are:
Chronic stress: Constantly feeling as if you are in danger or are uncertain of what the future may bring. Even if you or your loved ones did not get sick during the pandemic, illness in the community, job losses or the fear of them, and turmoil left people feeling unsettled and unsafe for months on end.
Loneliness: Feeling isolated and cut off from those who are important to you. The pandemic made it inadvisable to meet in person, cutting people off from their usual social networks. While many of us were creative with the use of social media and tools like Zoom to try to stay connected, it often fell short of the in-person human contact we’re used to. This was especially hard on younger children and the elderly.
Disrupted sleep: Healthy sleep is essential for a healthy body and mind. When you’re under stress, though, it’s common to experience trouble falling asleep or staying asleep through the night. An ongoing lack of restful sleep can lead to reduced immune function and symptoms of depression.
Lack of exercise: Physical activity not only helps purge stress hormones from our system, it also releases endorphins that are a natural mood-booster. With gyms closed and work/school happening online during the pandemic, for many their lifestyle became abruptly sedentary, removing the benefit of exercise when they needed it most.
Dependence on unhealthy coping mechanisms: Alcohol and indulgent foods are two comforts people often turn to when they’re feeling stressed. Though they may provide momentary relief, in the long run they impair your overall physical health, making depressive symptoms worse.
Anxiety about returning to normal routines: A year-plus of changed habits and concerns is hard to shake. Feeling trepidation about returning to things that once brought joy is discouraging, and may produce a sense of hopelessness.
At the Natural Healing Center, we know that good mental health and good physical health go hand in hand. Our holistic approach offers natural healing solutions for adults and children with depression, supporting your physical and mental well-being as a unified whole.
If you’re feeling the lingering effects of the COVID-19 crisis on your mental health, now is the time to seek help. This is especially true for children who’ve suffered academic setbacks during distance learning over the past year because summer is the perfect opportunity to restore a healthy mind-body balance to help them meet their potential when school resumes in the fall.
The Natural Healing Center’s integrated approach to health and well-being means that we take the time to get to the bottom of what’s causing your symptoms and devise an individualized treatment plan that’s right for you. To find out more about our treatments or schedule a free introductory consultation, contact us here.