What is the state of your mental health these days? The American Psychological Association's Stress in America report found that one year into the pandemic:
- 31% of us report our mental health has worsened (with even higher rates for moms of virtual learners!)
- 61% of us report undesired changes in our weight (48% of millennials report weight gain, with an average gain of 41 lbs!)
- Over 60% of Americans report undesirable changes in our sleep patterns (with people of color being affected the most!)
- About half of us feel uneasy about adjusting back to in-person interactions even when the pandemic ends
Can you relate to these statistics? How has the last year impacted you personally? Are you still struggling? Which data point resonates with you the most? : weight change, disrupted sleep, anxiety about the future, or an overall change in mood and worse mental health.
Personally, my sleep has been affected the most. It's why I created this YouTube video a few months ago. There were many, many nights when I slept up to 12 hours, my body craving rest from the chaos around me. Then other times, I couldn't fall asleep for hours, my mind churning with “what if's" about the future of Psych Hike, my family and friends' health, and the country as a whole.
Here are some things that have helped me in the last year:
Like many of you, 2020 was one of the most difficult years of my life. The long-term consequences of the pandemic coupled with ongoing racial and systemic injustices and continued polarization in the country continue to wreak havoc on our mental health. But, I'm hopeful that the worst is behind us. And I know, with the right tools, we are all capable of improving our mental health in powerful ways. I hope that this list gives you some ideas to try for Mental Health Awareness Month. Let me know how it goes by commenting below!