How are you holding up during this second wave of the Corona/Covid-19 pandemic, and is your country in lockdown again? Many countries are, which can cause depression, especially during these dark and cold winter days, with bad weather and no prospect of improvement yet!
The lack of positive forecast and also the big contrast with this summer, when much was possible again, is unfortunately, but understandably, causing many to struggle with daily ups and downs.
I felt like this most of the time the past weeks; waking up drained and uninspired, and quite depressed from day to day☹ It was a strange feeling, as I was not unhappy and was still able to smile, but I also felt much out of balance.
I actually found out that there's a word for it; the corona-coaster, and it's not a fun one!
'CORONACOASTER - noun: the ups and downs of a person’s mood, or life generally, during the coronavirus pandemic’
But with current restrictions, rising infections, new (semi-)lockdowns, no perspective of travel possibilities (yet) and many businesses, as well as my own, suffering, it's only natural to feel that way right?!
Semi-lockdown in the Netherlands
Luckily in my homeland we haven’t gone into full lockdown yet, until now, but due to rising infection levels in September and October the government did decide to close all restaurants, café’s, bars and forbade events and big gatherings for several months already.
However shops, gyms and hotels, including hotel restaurants are still permitted to stay open, and we can still go out and meet up with friends and family in limited numbers.
Economy and entrepreneurs are taking a big hit, which truly pains me, as I really feel for my clients, partners and friends, most in a very difficult position!
I myself had quite an ok year so far, and was lucky to have done several big campaigns already in the first months of 2020.
Coronavirus uncertainty 2021
But 2021 is also still very uncertain for me and my business, especially as a freelancer, with no fixed projects, mainly focused on the tourism and hospitality industry. I used to travel abroad 12 times a year, but now I'm focusing more on consultancy, domestic travel and local collaborations, as we’re not even allowed to travel abroad until at least half January.
I can easily travel and work alone, that’s why I started my own business in the travel, lifestyle and hospitality industry. But since I’m also quite a social person, who used to have regular trips to look forward to, and big variation in my workweeks, it's only natural that this new situation, restricting me to home for several months, got me down.
Getting out of the coronacoaster
To me it resembled a process of mourning, in which I needed to acknowledge the pain and loss.
But also accept it for now, and actively take back control over my life, by focusing on more positive things and what is still possible.
And that’s also what I wish for others, so I decided to open up and share my personal process and findings through this blog, in the hope that it can help you get out of this emotional rollercoaster too!
These are the 15 main things that helped me to get out of my Covid-19 depression – coronacoaster:
1. Structure your day
Since I am staying indoors almost every day I took up the habit to get up late and work from the couch in my pajama’s, without structure in my day, which wasn't good for my feeling of accomplishment.
Getting up on set times, getting dressed and working from a better spot than the couch helped me create more structure in my day and to gett more stuff done!
2. Go out regularly & exercise
Being outdoors, or just going outside more often, even if just for a 30 minute walk, created more variation in my week and helped me re-connect with nature. But I'm also going to the gym twice a week for a steady rhythm and to focus more on my body, instead of my mind.
3. Prevent (negative) media overwhelm
Even though I like to stay up-to-date, I make sure not to overwhelm myself with media and negative news, and generally check news sites now just once a week.
4. Take extra vitamins
Especially in the winter months this is vital for me and my mood. I take extra vitamin C and D for my immune system and COVID-protection.
Magnesium for my body and brain, as it is said to be good for your muscles, but also helps fight depression. And to improve my energy balance I take rhodiola, a beneficial natural herb for just that!
5. Avoid sugar-snack highs & lows
Of course sugary delights, snacks and junk food are attractive when you feel down, to give you that temporary high. But I also experienced big lows the day after! Therefore I try to stay clear of those as much as possible, especially in big amounts at the same time.
6. Work from different spots
Since we have been in semi-lockdown in the Netherlands for almost 2 months, I’ve mostly worked from home, hardly seeing anyone, while only having online meetings. This sometimes made me feel like I had nothing to look forward to.
That’s why I try to work from other spots once a week now as well, like my friend’s hotel: La Paulowna in The Hague, which is nearby, offers a nice setting and gives variation to my week.
7. Meet up with friends more often
As I’m a very independent, but also quite a social person I found out that I really need this to re-energize! Luckily we're still allowed and able to meet up here, so I try to go out for nature walks with friends more often, now that the restaurants and cafés are closed.
However when this is not possible in lockdown, you can also plan regular Zoom sessions to stay in touch and have weekly social meetings to look forward to!
8. Have crazy, silly fun
Coffee dates at home, nature walks and photoshoots with friends is something I really enjoy, but having some crazy, silly fun and re-connecting with your inner child can also be very good for the soul, and of course your mood.
That’s why I re-revisited the Instagram museum: Wondr Experience in Amsterdam this week with 2 of my favourite photographer friends. It just re-opened 2 weeks ago, is the ultimate adult playground, and will surely make you feel rejuvenated, read why in this blog.
9. Decorate & set up the Xmas tree early
Yes I admit it, my Christmas tree was already up start November, as I just love those festive months, but also needed the extra coziness in our home right now! So why not go all out with the Xmas décor and lights and make your house extra cozy, since this currently is where you spend most of your time?
10. Ask for help or hire a coach
Recently I met a very nice coach through an online event, with whom I really connected, and who's helping me regain my energy and focus through weekly Zoom meetings. Heidi truly helped me back on my feet and feel positive again.
Therefore I can highly recommend this to anyone, even if it’s just a friend who can be your accountability buddy, don’t be afraid to open up and ask for help! And of course feel free to let me know if I can help you as well:)
11. Help others too
Even though I’m still working on myself, I also try to help others where, and when I can, as friends and partners are struggling personally and financially in this situation!
I invested some time to help the ones that need it most, now that I can still afford it and have extra time on my hands. Something that felt really good, not only as karma points, but also brought me great joy and a feeling of accomplishment.
I am however quite selective with this, in order not to lose all my energy on it either.
12. Don't overthink & live in the moment
I catch myself worrying and thinking too much about next year already. It’s very challenging that I don’t have an overview of what’s to come yet, and which projects will be guaranteed. But in the end that’s also the life of a freelancer and I have to keep faith and trust in myself and my network.
Instead I try to live in the moment more, think about the things I accomplished this year, but also be more aware of the accomplishments I still have every day.
13. Regularly make a gratitude list
Making a list of things you’ve accomplished and you’re grateful for every day, or even just once a week, to start or end the week with can really help with that.
14. Focus on what you DO have control over
So instead of focusing on what's not possible now, which is a lot ☹ I try to look at what I do still have control over, like my mood, my home and my own education.
If there’s one positive thing that can come out of this dreadful year, it would be that I have developed myself and my skillset, to use to my advantage in the future. That’s why I’m taking online courses, am following webinars regularly and have joined several online networking events, which already have brought me a lot!
Although this is my last tip, it's THE thing that helped me get out of my low period/depression and got me on my feet again! I started with re-connecting with fellow entrepreneurs, and freelancer friends online, social media and in my current network, and was then asked to join 2 online events as a speaker.
These were unpaid jobs and charity events, which took me extra time to prepare and host, but did bring me quite a few new projects as social media coach/consultant, and got my positive juices flowing again. Also the opportunity to broaden my network and connect with other freelancers and entrepreneurs is very valuable, as everything will be more online-focused now and in the future.
To me networking and collaborating is the key to grow your business, but also to stay relevant, productive and pro-active.
Therefore don't hesitate to contact me if you have any good ideas on which we can collaborate as well!
Last year I also wrote a blog with tips to prevent a burn-out, which can be helpful with feelings of inbalance, depression and negativity, especially for freelancers.
Read more about that here!
And earlier this year, during the first wave, I wrote 2 blogs with fun and productive things to do, when you’re restricted to home due to a lockdown, or just have extra time on your hands:
With this blog I want to open up about the feelings of depression that the second Corona-Covid-19 wave is causing for many, like me. And acknowledge the underestimated problem of the coronacoaster!
I hope these tips can be helpful to you as well, and that you can learn from my process. I would certainly not say that I’m there yet, but I am aware and working on it.
If you need help, have more questions, or other tips to add, don’t hesitate to let me know here, or find me on social media and connect!