What To Do If You Have the Mandate and Lockdown Blues

Special Note:  If you start having thoughts of wanting to die or harm yourself, seek professional help immediately, or let a loved one know. Or call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which provides 24/7, free, and confidential support.

When the COVID-19 Pandemic first appeared in early 2020, Jack and I were as startled as everyone by the strict restrictions of just going to the grocery store to buy toilet paper and food. After a few weeks, we both agreed “NO MORE.”

We moved to the country, lowered our living expenses (cut them over half), started an organic garden and became far more self sufficient (energy, water, food backups and redundancies). In a nutshell, we simplified.

While many people we knew were rushing to get experimental vaccines, buying hoards of masks, staying home and complying with lockdowns, we took the opposite approach.

We went on several roadtrips (Washington DC, Las Vegas, Colorado Springs, Phoenix, Graceland in Memphis, Pigeon Forge in the Smoky Mountains, Andy Griffith Museum in North Carolina, Ark Encounter in Kentucky and other crowded places) visiting 20 states.

We were a bit surprised to see both ends of the spectrum:

1. People wearing masks, gloves, headgear and wrapped in extra clothing just to walk outside to their mailbox.

2. Or like us, RVers, bikers, campers, and travelers enjoying America’s freedoms indoors and outside. We only wore masks per local establishment restrictions, but even then, like other patriots, it was minimal. We attended theater plays, saw movies, enjoyed concerts, explored museums and road amusement park rides.

Everyone experiences ups and downs, but the sadness we’ve been seeing from some people is like weather. It tends to come and go, and it can lift quickly if something positive happens. We made sure to focus on positiveness. We turned off the TV and especially mainstream media of any kind (radio, newspapers, magazine’s, etc.)

Those who took similar approaches seem to snap out of it—sort of like a rain cloud moved aside by the sun.

When It’s More Than Normal Sadness

But some people practically bolted themselves indoors and continuously watched the propaganda and news. Their sadness wasn’t a temporary occurance like a rainshower. It is full blown depression, like a season.

Depression moves in and stays for a while, most of the day, every day, for weeks at a time. It can affect your mood, your physical health, and the way you perceive just about everything. Rather than an emotional state, depression is a health condition.

Consider simplifying your life, finding alternative news sources (like CleverJourneys.Com), and improving your well being. Here are some suggestions:

1. Get moving. Any form of regular exercise boosts mood and energy. It’s hard to get moving when you’re feeling down, so start with small steps and build from there. Standing, stretching, or taking a quick walk around your house or neighborhood is better than being boarded up. And guess what? You don’t need to wear a mask! As a registered nurse of 40 years, I’m not about to wear a mask so frivolously. Just move!!!

2. Try meditating. Research has shown that medication can improve depression symptoms, but research shows you can equate the benefits of 30 minutes of meditation to the effects of one antidepressant pill. Of course, if your doctor has prescribed medication, you should continue to take it as instructed—but you can add meditation to your routine. There are plenty of apps that can help you get started, including Headspace, Calm, and The Mindfulness App. Or simply just go walk!

3. Go outside. Spending time in nature can decrease feelings of depression. It also exposes you to sunlight, which can help your body produce vitamin D. Low levels of the nutrient have been linked to depression, but soaking up even 15 minutes of sun per day can lift your spirits in the present and over the long term.

4. Foster close relationships. Nurturing your existing relationships with friends and family is one of the best things you can do for your health. But it’s also never too late to forge new bonds. How? Sign up for a book club, volunteer to lend a hand at your local community center or place of worship, take a group exercise class, or simply invite a neighbor to meet for a cup of coffee. As feelings of connection increase, depression often decreases.

5. Read. Simply pick up a book and read it. I say book, instead of reading on a computer or phone, for the sake of your eyes. Each day, I have a ritual of reading Bible devotionals and a few chapters in a novel. Library cards are a good thing. It is positive and good for the spirit.

6. Practice gratitude. Making daily lists of what you’re grateful for has been found to help lift mood. Even if you’re not able to write everything down, simply thinking about it or expressing gratitude to others can help boost happiness.

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  1. Stellar article and advice. Though I’m not a Doctor, the name is a character in a 2001 Movie, I certainly have a great deal of exposure to doctors through my own issues, research, and my wife was a medical assistant in Family Practice, Pulmonology, and Cardiology.

    I used to have Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a depression that is associated with decreased exposure to light in the Winter. Though keeping indoor lighting brighter, if the right kind of lighting is used, is said to help, I opted to take Vitamin D, 2000 IU (it’s not really a high dosage) once per day year round (I’m fairly large, it’s also available in 1000 I.U. for smaller people). It helped immensely in my case. Though my Vitamin D in a recent blood test was slightly low by the most current standard, it was more than adequately above the original standard, and I have made no changes, and my Doctor agreed. But I get through winter without the SAD type symptoms. If anyone has a physical condition or is on medication, consult your Doctor or Pharmacist (or both) before taking Vitamin D in case there are contraindications for its use in your case.

    Exercise. I have Afib, I walk my 9.85° hill, that I calculated rises 10’ for every 30 of my steps. I walk, several times a day, 60 or 90 steps up the hill for a rise of 20 or 30 Feet (after going down the hill sufficiently to keep me in the steepest part of the grade). My FitBit and Watch consider a Rise of 10’ to be a Flight of Stairs, so I average 15+ Flights of stairs per day, and I don’t walk far, but the exertion for the day is equivalent to climbing 150’. My Family Doctor and Cardiologist both are aware of my exercise routine. And it’s outside, in the light (usually), gives me exposure to the neighbors (at times) and I’m briefly away from the computer, which is the source of aggravating news.

    Mindfullness, a Medication Technique, something that was taught to me, and I should use it more often: “Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us.”

    20 Minute Mindfulness Meditation for Being Present / Mindful Movement

    The above video is the closest to the way I was taught.

    Close relationships, that has always been a difficult one for me. In Jungian Psychology, I’m a INFJ, and as only 2% of people are similar, it’s the rarest psychological type, so I think people don’t understand my motivations, or perhaps, I do not signal my motivations as others do. But I wholeheartedly agree that close relationships are very important.

    Read, and Write. I only wanted to add Write to this. And if people begin to write, write things that are a distraction, not things that reinforce frustration and despair. I spent several days on a Blog on Humidifiers, Researching, Writing, taking pictures, and making drawings, and it’s such a relief not to hear the news, or political issues. But as already indicated, reading will do the same.

    For those of us that like to read, the Original Kindles are a gem, they have what looks like Ink, they are not Tablets, they are more like Electronic Books. These devices, or similar, or a Tablet that is not configured to “go online” might be the best method to read without stress, as using a conventional Internet Ready Tablet, it’s too easy to relapse into taking a peek at the news, and that can destroy any benefit of reading. I do understand that there are papers bound together to form what used to be called Books, these are the safest bet for reading, and without the Blue Light that is common in LED Back Lighting, is less likely to interfere with “Melatonin, a natural hormone that helps regulate the body’s circadian rhythm” and therefore less likely to cause disruptions in sleep cycles. The original Kindles and similar Electronic Ink with no Back Lighting will be the same as reading books.

    Liked by 1 person

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