As the COVID-19 crisis continues and millions of us face economic uncertainty and spend more time isolated at home than ever before, it seems that the world is facing what could become a crisis of mental health.
A new study from the University of Phoenix has shown that more than 40% of Americans are concerned about anxiety in the midst of the pandemic, mostly due to economic concerns like reduced income. A staggering 2 in 3 Americans have reported regularly feeling out of control, while more than 20% reported a noticeable drop in their sleep quality, which can have hugely detrimental effects on mental health. Given the ongoing uncertainty, it seems likely that these numbers will only increase as time goes on.
In response, many people are turning to prescription medication to help, with huge spikes in insomnia aids, antidepressants, and anti-anxiety medication, prescriptions for which have jumped 34% since the beginning of the pandemic according to a report from Express Scripts.
However, there does seem to be a small silver lining to the current situation in that more people are taking the time to check-in and reassess their relationship with their mental health, whether it’s turning to yoga (according to digital health firm Withings, yoga practice has increased 42%), taking more time to check in with loved ones (60% of respondents to the UOPX survey reported doing this) or practicing mindfulness (mindfulness apps have seen a huge surge in downloads in the past few months).
Tips & Resources for Looking After Your Mental Health from Home
- If you’re able to get outside to exercise safely and responsibly, even if it is just a 30-minute walk, this can make a huge difference to your physical and mental health. Professional obstacle course racer Rose Wetzel gives some great advice to people who are just getting started with exercising here.
- Stress can impact mental and physical health in a huge way, and in return, mental health issues can make it harder to deal with stress. However, it is possible to manage it. Read how the journey of recovery from stress-induced burnout actually led to the founding of PurePower here.
- When you spend more time alone, it can be harder to overcome self-doubt, which can lead to negative cycles. Watch PurePower co-founder Don McLaughlin describe how he overcomes self-doubt here.
- If you’re spending more time at home, it can be easy to slip into an unhealthy routine, which in turn can affect sleep patterns, eating habits, and more. Learn how to hack your habits to make more time for yourself here and here.
- Speaking of sleep, a healthy sleep routine is vital to your mental health, yet it can be one of the most difficult things to maintain. We’ve got lots of resources on improving your sleep, including how to improve sleep quality, how to create the perfect environment for sleep, and why exercise is so important to getting good quality sleep.
- Never be afraid to reach out and seek help. Many therapists are turning to online, video-call sessions, and a number of health providers are offering free or reduced rates to members during the lockdown. Mental Health America has a great resource about finding affordable therapy options here.