5 Common Stressors That Can Lead To Depression During The Pandemic

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As the months of COVID-19 stretch on with no clear end in sight, more and more people are trying to identify the most common stressors that can lead to depression during the pandemic.

These are unprecedented times and our lives have changed completely. Things that we used to take for granted are no longer a part of our lives.

Things as they are, now, often feel uncomfortable and unnatural.

The good news is that once you identify the stressors that lead to depression, you can learn how to manage your moods before they get the best of you.

RELATED: 6 Steps To Coping With Depression & Despair In COVID-19 Quarantine

Here are the 5 most common stressors that can lead to depression during the pandemic.

1. You fear the future.

As winter descends, COVID cases are mounting every day. A vaccine is near but still uncertain in many ways, and COVID is dividing America even further across party lines.

We wake up every day not knowing what the future holds.

Fear for the future and the hopelessness that it engenders causes depression in a way like none other. Not knowing what tomorrow looks likes worries us.

What will life look like for our children? Will toilet paper will disappear again? Will the current weather patterns worsen?

All these things make us so anxious and fearful that depression can follow.

This fear of the future is our baseline right now, and so the common stressors that lead to depression are magnified during the crisis.

2. You're lacking "me" time.

Alone time is a big one for me.

Until the pandemic, my boyfriend and I were living a quiet life together in the woods of New England. I had escaped my NYC apartment, where I had lived alone for years.

I was nervous about living with someone again, but it ended up being fun. I worked from home alone all day, because he was working, too. I had my alone time, and then there was time for us.

Then COVID hit.

Within weeks, one of his kids moved in with us. And seven months later, he's still with us. He lost his job and his social life dried up, so he was home 24/7. I literally wasn’t alone in my home for five months.

I thrive on alone time and the lack of it is driving me, it feels like literally, insane.

Are you one of those people who needs time by themselves? Many of us do. Even if it’s just the car ride to or from work, time by ourselves helps us recharge our batteries.

Right now, many people's batteries are empty, especially if their co-habitants are under the age of 10.

If you're struggling with empty batteries, do whatever you need to do to spend some time by yourself.

I've been closing my TV-room door and doing yoga, taking walks, working in the garden, writing my blogs from my bedroom, and, sometimes, just driving nowhere.

None of those things completely charge my batteries, but they're doing a nice job of keeping them charged enough so that I don’t drive off a cliff.

3. There's not enough time with friends and co-workers.

A client has been really struggling recently. As we talked it through, I realized that she's really missing her co-workers.

She had worked closely with the team for years, and not being in their physical presence is wearing on her. To have them there one day and gone the next was something that she was really struggling with.

Similarly, another client who thrives on being with people is really struggling because she and her core group of friends have all left the city.

They were in their mid-20s, living life in the city, but lost their jobs and headed home to their families. They FaceTime each other, but it's just not the same.

If you find that you're missing your friends and co-workers, try to make an extra-special effort to figure out a way to see them. It can be a challenge, but there are ways — picnics, walks, outdoor movie-watching, etc.

All of these things can be done to allow you to spend time with people who feel you and help alleviate the depression that might be caused by the pandemic.

RELATED: 6 Things To Remember If You Are Struggling With COVID-19 Depression & Thoughts Of Self-Harm

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4. You have anxiety about public spaces.

One of my closest friends fled San Francisco in March and is now living in a small town in Vermont. She's been there since March and rarely leaves, worried about COVID to the extent that it has made her fearful of leaving her home.

For most of our lives, we've taken public spaces for granted. Running to the grocery store, the mall, or the movies is something we used to do without thinking.

Now, we don’t go out unless we need to. When we do, we don masks and carry hand sanitizer.

One person goes into the store while the others wait in the car. Everyone in the store wears a mask and stands six feet apart.

If they aren’t, we feel anxious.

There's now a fear of public spaces. Not feeling safe anywhere other than our house makes us sad, anxious, worried, and depressed.

If you're struggling with fears of public spaces, you're not alone. If these fears are causing you to feel depressed, get someone to help you do the things you need to get done so that you can manage your anxiety.

5. There's less physical affection and romance.

Back in March, everyone was talking about "COVID babies" — babies who would be born nine months after the pandemic began. Ironically, they aren’t a thing.

Why? Because we're actually touching each other less.

COVID is transmitted by physical proximity means people aren’t touching each other as much anymore.

Of course, many of us have our pods of people who we interact with and (hopefully) hug, but the bigger world isn’t accessible to us.

Hugging someone you haven’t seen in a while or even shaking their hand isn’t an option anymore.

And if there's one great natural depressant, it’s physical touch. Hugs, holding hands, and kissing — all these things make someone feel better. Not having those things is making many of us depressed.

Furthermore, romance is, in many ways, out the window. Many are meeting other people online and getting to know each other through FaceTime.

But, if and when they choose to meet, there's little or no physical contact. And without physical contact, romance is difficult, especially a new romance.

Not exactly sex, but that initial jolt that you get when you hug someone "hello," when your hands touch, or when you brush up against each other walking down the street.

Those things aren’t happening now. Dating is more Victorian, as if we had a chaperone who was measuring the space between us to ensure that it was "proper."

Lack of romance and physical touch are very common stressors that can lead to situational depression during the pandemic.

Are you struggling with depression right now and wondering why?

Many things are in play right now that are making a lot of people depressed.

It's very important that you pay attention to your depression. Follow the suggestions above if you think they might be helpful.

However, if you find your depression getting worse and it's impacting your life, work, and relationships, then it’s time to talk to a doctor.

Depression can get worse if not managed properly. Talk to your primary care doctor right away if you feel like yours is worsening and making your life a difficult one to live.

Good for you for taking the time to identify the most common stressors that can lead to depression during the pandemic.

We have a long road ahead, and knowing how to manage your mental health will help you come out the other side intact, ready to fully live again.

You can do it!

RELATED: How To Use The 'TIPP' Method To Balance Mental Health When Experiencing Coronavirus Depression

Mitzi Bockmann is an NYC-based, certified life and love coach. Let her help you find, and keep, love in this crazy world in which we live. Email her at mitzi@letyourdreamsbegin.com and get started!

This article was originally published at Let Your Dreams Begin. Reprinted with permission from the author.