The weight of the world’s current state between Covid 19, civil unrest, and political bedlam can magnify our daily life stressors. This level of stress can begin to be difficult to navigate emotionally, especially when you are raising children that are also impacted by the current climate. The current reality is unfortunately a perfect storm for depression symptoms to arise for children and adults. Take a moment to take a quick inventory of how you are feeling and how your children are experiencing their feelings.
Are you or your children:
Feeling less motivated
Being less present or engaged
Feeling more tired, not sleeping well or waking early
Eating more than normal or less than normal
Feeling more irritable
Noticing you are socially isolating yourself
Having trouble concentrating
Just feeling down
These are all symptoms of depression. Keep in mind, depression is a continuum, so these symptoms can be mild, or they can be more severe. It is also important to remember that children and adults experience the same symptoms but express them differently. For example, a child may express feeling of lack of motivation by rushing through schoolwork with less genuine effort. Children also will experience irritability as an expressed symptom far more often than adults. An adult may express feeling less motivated by having a slower start to their day or pushing meetings back to get the motivation to get started. Adults have more control over their day so have more options in expressing their depression symptoms in a way that is pro social. This is in direct contrast to a child who’s daily scheduled is dictated by school and parents which leads to less pro social methods of expressing depression symptoms.
Talking to a therapist to help you or your child navigate mild to severe depression symptoms is a wise decision as the global pandemic continues to add extra weight to our daily lives. When looking for a therapist, be specific about your concerns and your goals and ensure the therapist can join with you in that pursuit. Cognitive behavioral therapy, CBT, is the preferred method for reducing depression symptoms for adults and children.
As you look for a therapist that is a good fit, here a few tips for easing the challenges of depression symptoms.
Get a daily dose of sunlight. Sunlight can help boost serotonin levels and improve your mood. Whenever possible, get outside during daylight hours and expose yourself to the sun for at least 15 minutes a day.
Eat a consistent meal schedule of healthy food. Having low B vitamins such as folic acid and B-12 can trigger depression. Eat more citrus fruit, leafy greens, beans, chicken, and eggs.
Move your body. Exercise is a powerful tool for depression reduction Research shows that regular exercise can be as effective as medication for relieving depression symptoms. Try for 30 minutes a day to boost your mood after all, just a 10-minute walk can improve your mood for two hours.
Stay connected to your social circle. The goal is not to look to your social circle to able fix your depression symptoms, just be caring, a good listener and can also be a fun distraction.
These are difficult times we are navigating, and many Americans are experiencing some symptoms of depression. Be familiar with the symptoms of depression, do self-assessments for yourself and your children, and utilize the helpful tips. Creating a relationship with a therapist to talk about how the weight of the current state of the world is adding to the challenges of handling daily life stressors is beneficial and can really make a difference in the lives of the whole family.
Glynita Bell, MSSW, LCSW, ABD is the founder of Heart 2 Heart Wellness Center, She specializes in treating depression, anxiety, mood and behavioral disorders for adults and children. Glynita holds certifications as a Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional, and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Her research interests include school-based bullying interventions, stress management interventions for helping professionals, and best practices for cultural humility in employment and academic settings.