Staying positive in these difficult times is hard. Due to COVID-19, people all over the United States and the world are being ordered to stay home or at least limit their time outside. Social distancing and self-quarantine have become par for the course, and isolation either alone or with family members is the order of the day.
“Don’t be pushed around by the fears in your mind. Be led by the dreams in your heart.” ― The Light in the Heart
All this can be even harder on people with mental health conditions like depression. If you’re a parent of such a person, you play a huge part in helping them to stay afloat. Especially now that your child is stuck at home. It’s important to ensure that you keep that environment positive.
After all, there’s no chance for ‘breaks’ from the space. This is easier said than done, of course; people with various personalities being in the same environment for extended periods will invariably have disagreements at some point. However, there are ways to help to make the home environment healthier. First of all, listen. There is nothing worse than being stuck in a space where your thoughts and input are not valued and validated.
A child with depression will likely have negative thoughts pop up regularly and keeping them inside is not healthy. While you may not agree with these negative thoughts, never dismiss them outright or make your child feel guilty for having them. Thank your child for being willing to share with you and show genuine interest in their thoughts and feelings.
Try staying positive
This extends to more than just depressive thoughts, of course. Welcome and exchange even innocuous thoughts. Pay attention to any changes in your child’s behavior; in other words, look out for signs of worsening depression. Be on the lookout for changes in sleep patterns and diet. If your child is becoming reclusive, this may also be a red flag.It can be tricky to know if these changes are the result of depression, though.
These changes may simply be a harmless result of these changing times. Trust your instincts and watch out, especially for signs of low mood or increased aggression. If your child isn’t much of a homebody time away from social activities can be rough for them. Encourage, don’t force your teenager to do physical activity like exercise. In order to pass the time and remain both physically and mentally healthy. Add this to your daily routine, but make sure there is time left for them to do any activities that they enjoy, too.
A routine helps give your family something to look forward to and helps them to mentally prepare for each activity. You may be working from home and doing chores, but make sure to set aside quality time for your child.
As long as you’re working to create a healthy, stress-free environment for your child, you are doing your part to help reduce the chances of worsening depression. Keep active, keep together, and communicate. These are unprecedented times, but they will not last forever.