Mental Health Effects of a Pandemic

Stress is a normal part of daily life for all people. The COVID-19 pandemic, though, has caused stress levels to increase for many people, even children. In addition to routine daily worries, the pandemic caused fear and worry about personal safety, the health of loved ones, and the long-term financial implications that may go along with changing work situations.

Certain biological processes occur when individuals are presented with a long-term threat, such as the current pandemic. Initially, fear is induced as it would be with any other threat that emerges. However, in most normal circumstances, the fear (as well as the corresponding physiological responses) subsides. With the COVID-19 pandemic, this fear is persisting for months. And it is being combined with forced behavior changes, such as limited socialization, which can compound the mental load that most people are currently feeling.

The stress levels during this pandemic may be so great for some individuals that it can wear down their overall mental well-being and even induce depression. But mental well-being is a crucial aspect of physical well-being; this statement is so true that even the CDC published a page containing information about taking care of mental health during a pandemic. Mental health and well-being are particularly important during a pandemic because individuals who are physically and mentally healthier are also more resilient when faced with the virus itself or any other challenges it may bring into their life.

Prioritizing Mental Wellness Strategies

While stress levels are high, you may be tempted to feel too flustered and busy to carve out time devoted to increasing your own mental well-being. It may also feel too difficult to focus on anything other than the fears that have been at the forefront of your mind.  But these actions are essential strategies to help you stay at the top of your game when it comes to doing what you need to do throughout the pandemic.

Millions of Americans who were polled during the height of the stay-at-home and quarantine orders indicated elevated stress levels, and nearly half (49%) of the respondents showed signs of depression. Clearly, coping with stress, anxiety, and depression should be a priority for many Americans.

Identifying Mental Wellness Strategies

Prioritizing sound strategies that promote mental well-being can include small actions such as taking time to take in a few deep breaths, or it can include major life decisions such as committing to work with a therapist regularly.  For many individuals, the first step is identifying your symptoms that may accompany the stress, which can range from physical discomfort and pain to irritability and trouble eating or sleeping regularly. Once you have identified the symptoms, you can begin working on strategies to address the underlying sources of heightened stress and anxiety.

Using Acupuncture to Relieve Stress and Depression During COVID-19

Acupuncture is one of the best natural medicine. Acupuncture treatments can enhance both mental and physical well-being for some sufferers, which may be especially important during the time of a pandemic. Acupuncture works by inserting hair-thin needles into energy points or pressure points across your body. This type of stimulation can help to release endorphins and serotonin in our bodies to feel better mentally, and it can help your body return to a state of relaxation. While some patients have minimal or no response to acupuncture therapy, others have found that it can help significantly in reducing anxiety and combatting some of the symptoms of depression.

Acupuncture works particularly well when combined with other therapies that address conditions of high stress, anxiety, and depression. It works even better when individuals also make lifestyle changes that also promote mental health, such as getting the appropriate amount of exercise and eating a diet rich in vitamins and nutrients.

There is no roadmap for moving forward amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The weeks have turned into months, and many areas of the country are currently experiencing increasing case numbers once again. Given this, it would appear that the coronavirus will be impacting our lives for many more months to come.

While there is no way to avoid the stress and fear that come with a pandemic, there are ways to help you cope better and lessen the effects of stress and depression. For many people, acupuncture will be a key strategy in coping as it can help both the mind and body remain healthy. This is one of the best ways to adjust to the changing circumstances and emerging challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought.