If I were to ask the question, “Have you been depressed at all during the pandemic?” my guess is that every single one of you would answer that question with a yes. I know I have. Many days are great, but there are also those days when I feel like I’m going to go stark raving mad crazy if this doesn’t end soon! That’s why I thought I’d do a blog post and podcast on how to stop being depressed during the pandemic.
If you’re reading this after the pandemic, the tips will help for regular life as well! The first thing I want to show you is how I came up with the tips. I find that if I renew my mind first, it’s easier to see how to handle life. The following is an option chart I made to renew my mind about this issue.
This isn’t a chart to brainstorm options–it’s a chart to analyze the options we’re currently taking to see how they’re working out for us. The left column shows the options we often take during a crisis. I always put the healthy option choice at the bottom of the chart (the one we don’t often take!).
The second column shows how that option affects our peace and joy, the third column shows how it affects our relationship with God, and the last column shows how it affects our lives. An up arrow means that it improves that area (peace and joy, relationship with God, life) and a down arrow means that it makes it worse.
After you’re through filling out the chart, take a minute to look it over and ask, “What’s my best option?” I’ll often find that I’m taking those middle options that don’t get me where I want to go in life. The option that requires giving up my “rights”–and also putting out some effort to change life–is pretty much always the best option. I may know that intellectually before I renew, but filling out the chart helps me to see it at the gut level.
These are the tips I’ve come up with about how to stop being depressed based on the results of the chart.
How to Stop Being Depressed during the Pandemic (or in Regular Life)
* Get a biblical perspective of the situation. From a cultural perspective, there’s nothing good about trials (and a pandemic certainly qualifies as a trial), but from a biblical perspective there is. God uses trials to help us grow: to mature us, build our character, and help us grow closer to Him (James 1:2-4). Also, Jesus reminds us that life is about loving God and loving others. We can still do both during the pandemic, so life isn’t terrible! It’s only terrible when we think life has to be fun and exciting or safe or free to do whatever we feel like doing. If you’re struggling with how to respond to the trial of the pandemic, ask yourself, “How would Jesus respond if He were living in your state or country during a pandemic?” Then don’t get annoyed with your friend or neighbor if they come up with a different answer.
* Renew your mind as soon as possible when you become upset. There’s lots of different ways we get upset during the pandemic. We’re fearful. We’re annoyed. We’re bored. We’re grieving. And we’re probably regretting some of our coping mechanisms. When we let those negative emotions simmer for too long, they morph into depression. You can avoid that by renewing as soon as possible. Try truth journaling to renew, or answer the questions in I Deserve a Donut (and Other Lies That Make You Eat) or the a href="https://a...