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*Depression rose to the highest levels during the lockdowns as fear and sadness – exacerbated by social isolation – gripped the world. Depression in the US rose by 300 per cent, leading to an increase in suicides and drug overdoses. The mental health epidemic brought about by the lockdowns is every bit as serious as the viral pandemic. As you take precautions against the virus, you should also take measures to keep yourself happy.
Covering your face is crucial – but it also chips away at your identity. With everyone looking the same, the feeling of an Orwellian future comes to mind. Hold on to your individuality by expressing yourself. Dress as colourful or as drab as you want and wear a custom neck gaiter instead of a plain face mask.
*Neck gaiters give you more space to breathe properly – removing the suffocating feeling you get from a face mask. Opt for gaiters that express your personality, ideals, or just day-to-day feelings. Being able to express yourself in a sea of conformity will reinforce your sense of self and make you a bit happier. You might even brighten up someone’s day with your colourful statements or maybe get a laugh or two.
Start a Hobby
With what’s going in the world, now is one of the best times to start a hobby. Everyone is starting their own projects – and you should too. Take up baking or cooking. Whipping up something for the family, friends, or just yourself – is a good distraction from the everyday gloom that is 2020.
Build a table, sew a dress, or make early Christmas jumpers. Making something with your own hands will give you feelings of accomplishment and productivity – which is especially important as lockdowns make everyone feel powerless.
Even with lockdowns, make time to exercise. As little as 30 minutes of *exercise a week can boost your immunity and lower your chances of catching diseases.
Have a quick solo run early in the morning. The bright sunshine should put your biological clock in order and give your serotonin levels a boost.
Serotonin is a hormone that balances your mood. It uplifts your spirit, makes you calm, and increases your focus. Running will also give you a healthy dose of endorphins associated with “runner’s highs.” Endorphins can usually keep you in a euphoric state for a couple of hours, but the satisfaction you get for finishing a run can last for days.
Regular exercise also helps maintain or lose weight, decreasing your risk of catching a bad case of the coronavirus and depression due to weight gain.
Learn a Language
Improve your self-esteem by working on yourself. Learning a language is a great way to add facets to your personality and communicate with other people. Opt for a language spoken frequently in your community to strengthen your bonds, or choose an obscure language just for the difficulty.
Two to four weeks is enough to learn the basics of communicating – and you can always continue learning even after 2020.
Don’t let a crisis dictate your life. Make the most of what you have, don’t lose your identity, and make time to improve yourself mentally and physically.