It’s not surprising that mental health issues are increasing across the U.S. and around the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Seemingly overnight, our lives changed in ways no one could have imagined. Health concerns, job losses and a disruption of everyday life have been taking their toll on just about everyone to some extent. Fear of the unknown is making many of us feel unsettled.
Although avoiding the coronavirus may be your top health priority right now, managing your mental health is just as essential for your well-being. If you don’t “feel like yourself” these days or can’t seem to get out of a funk, there are things you can do on your own to start feeling better – and help is available when you need it.
Know That You’re Not Alone
After the novel coronavirus reared its ugly head, lockdowns and social distancing meant we could no longer spend time with friends or family members, celebrate important occasions together or even go to school and work. As if these changes weren’t stressful enough, we have also had to worry about our health and the health of family members. Concerns about job security, unemployment and finances have only worsened stress and anxiety, particularly among people who already struggle with mental health issues.
As weeks have stretched into months, worry and stress have only increased. Even as restrictions have been easing, Americans are feeling the effects of a world turned upside down. According to the U.S. National Pandemic Emotional Impact Report released on June 29, 2020, 55% of people surveyed reported feeling more stressed than in January. Additionally, 53% said they were worried about finances, 66% were concerned about the health and safety of friends and family members and 51% felt more anxious or ill at ease.
What You Can Do to Improve Your Mental Health
Stress and anxiety don’t just take a toll on your mental health. They also affect your physical health, increasing your risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and other health conditions and diseases. Chronic stress may also affect your immune system’s ability to fight viruses like the coronavirus.
Here are some ways to improve your mental health:
If you are struggling with changes to your life caused by the pandemic, know that you are not alone. Do what you can to improve how you feel mentally but also know that help is available when you need it. Prioritize your mental health just as you would your physical health to stay healthier – and happier – overall.
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