2 Your Health: Mental health remains top of mind for many Americans as the pandemic persists

2 Your Health

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – In fact, according a Parade Magazine and Cleveland Clinic survey, 56% said as COVID-19 cases rise, so does their anxiety, depression and stress.

“In a global pandemic, there is a lot that is out of our control. However, we can control what we do,” said Dawn Potter, PsyD, clinical psychologist for Cleveland Clinic.

She said there are ways to cope with those concerns.

For starters, be sure to get vaccinated if you haven’t already. That’s going to be your best form of protection from the virus.

You could also wear a mask when out in public, even if it’s not required.

Finally, limit your time on social media and reading the news.

“Yes, we need to be informed and we shouldn’t just bury our heads. However, once we feel we are fairly informed about what we need to do to be safe for ourselves and our communities, then it is okay to unplug for a little bit and say I just don’t want to hear it today,” said Potter.

Despite the pandemic hardships, the survey showed Americans did grow emotionally, with about a third saying they learned to be more empathetic towards others, better handle stress and anxiety, and increase their desire to give back and help others.

“I think that the way that the pandemic has shined a light on the fact that we need to care about other people — we need to take care of ourselves in order to protect other people – has really probably led to that increase in empathy,” explained Potter.

They also became more resilient. The survey reports that 80% said they feel confident they could handle living through another pandemic.

“We learned a lot from the survey about habits of resilient people and so those included seeking social support, those included trying to get regular exercise, focusing on eating healthy, focusing on getting good sleep,” said Potter.

She said if you are having a hard time with those things, don’t be afraid to reach out to your physician or therapist for assistance.

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