People are coping with the pandemic by increasing their use of self-care, a new survey finds.
Self-care strategies include exercising, stress management, healthy diet and other changes like giving up smoking.
Among the most popular types of self-care are creative activities, praying and having meaningful conversations with friends and family.
People are also eating more healthy foods and spending more time outdoors.
Dr Wayne Jonas, the study’s first author, said:
“The pandemic threatens the mental and physical well-being of every American.
People are seeking ways to manage their stress, but it isn’t enough.
As we adjust to a new normal, we need to foster a robust, patient-centered healthcare system to better promote self-care.”
The results come from an online poll of 2,051 people in the US.
Almost two-thirds of Americans said they are more focused on their mental health now than ever before.
Most Americans (80 percent) said that they will be more mindful of their self-care in the future.
Typical problems people are experiencing include:
- Social isolation (47 percent),
- lack of energy (30 percent),
- problems sleeping (29 percent),
- and less exercise (29 percent).
People also report being scared to seek medical attention they may need (55 percent).
Dr Jonas said:
“At a time when healthcare is needed the most, a majority of people are scared to seek it out.
This not only leaves them without critical immediate care, it also halts necessary preventative care that is vital to chronic disease prevention and management.
This change in healthcare access will likely have dangerous repercussions for the long-term health of our country.
These are also the same risk factors that increase serious illness from COVID-19.”
Dr Jonas summarised:
“The findings from this study show the critical need for a system that empowers individuals to maintain healthy habits they formed and emphasizes strategies that support self-care–like good nutrition, exercising, and stress reduction–alongside guidance from physicians.”
The Social Isolation Survey was conducted online by The Harris Poll on behalf of Samueli Integrative Health Programs.