Let’s face it, 2020 has lost its damn mind. I won’t list everything here, because holy hell no one needs that sort of reminder while reading a blog post. This post is not about the shenanigans of this year though, it’s about dealing with those shenanigans. Because, honestly, one thing is so quickly followed by another horror, calamity, injustice, or natural disaster that it can make my head spin. And it’s on every level – personal, local, national, & worldwide. If it was just one of those things, it’d be hard it wouldn’t seem as if it was unending like it does now. Adding to the fun of 2020, I lost my mom during the summer of 2019 and that is definitely not something I’m over.
Before I go on, I just want to do a little disclaimer. If you’re having a truly bad time this year and have fallen to a depth of depression that is soul-sucking, go talk to someone. This blog post isn’t for true depression, it’s for the “meds are working, but I’m still bummed out” level of stress. Does that make sense? Anyway – onward.
So how do I deal with it all? I’m not an expert in psychology or self improvement, but what I am is someone who has dealt with depression and anxiety for the past 20ish years so this isn’t my first rodeo with the feelings 2020 is inspiring. I was lucky to find a solid medication mix before 2020 started, which has been a huge help, but there are some days (or weeks) where it’s a slog.
- My first piece of advice is to discuss your situation with your doctor if you feel like you need to. Just your normal doctor – you might just need something short term to deal with everything going on. Maybe you need something long term. Maybe you don’t need anything at all.
- Complete something. Literally anything. Some days I empty the dishwasher and call it good.
- Take a nap if you need to. Even if you slept 9 hours last night. A nap can be the best thing in the world.
- Realize it isn’t forever. This one is hard because it can really feel never ending. Try to make post-apocalypse plans….that sounds wrong. Make plans for when the apocalypse is done.
- If you love something, do that thing. I love hot chocolate. The heat index right now gets over 100. I still drink hot coco. Don’t let anyone tell you that you shouldn’t.
- Don’t focus on the “signs” of depression/anxiety if you genuinely enjoy doing something. Wearing sweatpants every day is brought up a lot as a thing that only people in a bad way do, but I love my new sweatpants. I’m working from home, I sit cross legged in my office chair, if a fan is on I’m cold (and there’s always a fan on), AND they have pockets so I will wear sweatpants every day for a month. If I start watching 3 Hallmark movies in a row while in my sweatpants, I’ll know I’m in trouble.
- On the other hand, be aware of signs that mean you personally are in a bad way. For me, that’s watching non-zombie horror movies. When I start watching horror movies obsessively, that’s a clue I’m not doing as well as I could be. But not zombie movies. I love those all the time.
- The most important thing I could suggest is to give yourself a break. Shit’s crazy, let yourself mourn the death of pre-2020 life. If you don’t get to the dishwasher emptied, it’s okay. This is the hardest thing to do sometimes because what you should be doing won’t always match up to what you’re up to doing.
- Write all your thoughts down. Well, not all of them. I write my mom letters in a journal and I often feel better once I get some of my angst down on paper.
So, that’s my advice. Take what works, ignore the rest. For instance, when I get anxious about normal things like a social gathering I try to think of the worst thing that could happen. In 2020, the worst thing that could result from most of the things going on could be death, so I don’t do that so much anymore.
Here’s hoping that the next 4 months are less shenanigan-filled. And that we all make it through.