If there was one word to describe the 2020 pandemic, it would be uncertainty.
Never before has the world faced such uncertain events in terms of global health and economics, all of which were sprung on us seemingly overnight. Stay-at-home orders forced millions of people to adjust to the new “norm,” creating a wave of mental health implications.
Now that businesses and public spaces have begun to re-open, many continue to feel uneasy — uneasy about work, seeing their loved ones, and of course, their health. Can this feeling of being stuck in “COVID limbo” have lasting effects?
COVID Left Many Feeling Uncertain, And the Implications May Be Long-Lasting
Due to COVID, millions quickly became uncertain about their physical health, mental health, financial security, and relationships. This has created prolonged feelings of stress and anxiety. For some, symptoms of depression have worsened and as reported in a recent Medscape article, “we may be in for the perfect storm of factors driving substance abuse rates higher than we have seen before.”
Related: The Impact of Uncertainty on Mental Health – How to Better Cope During These Unpredictable Times
According to data from the Census Bureau, of those who are 18 to 29 years old, 42 percent reported feelings of anxiety, and 36 reported feelings of depression. It is concerning that this pandemic is having such a significant impact on young adults. As cases spike once again across the U.S. Sun Belt, many feel as though there’s no sense of rhythm to life. When will things go back to normal, and what will that “normal” look like?
Some experts and media outlets say that things will shift back toward normal this year, while others say it will be sometime in 2022. There is uncertainty about the future — and the consequences could be significant.
Living In Limbo Is More Stressful Than Knowing What’s Coming Next — But You Can Take Action
As reported by Hartford Healthcare, experts are calling the mental health implications of COVID the underlying crisis. As of June 29, 2020, more than one-third of Americans report related depression and anxiety.
From an evolutionary perspective, humans have been able to survive based on their ability to plan. The fear of the “unknown” can be terrifying, as we are essentially hard-wired to avoid uncertainty. In the case of COVID, uncertainty led to fear, and fear led to anxiety — and the longer feelings of anxiety linger, the more likely it is that those feelings will manifest into depression.
Whether you are unsure about work, school, or when you’ll be able to spend quality time with friends and family, it’s important to acknowledge the way you’re feeling. For now, it’s important to:
- Focus on the things you can control.
- Challenge your need for absolute certainty and embrace the unexpected benefits that come with a less certain life.
- Actively reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.
- Seek help if you need it.
As Marie Curie said, “Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.” For more information on how you can achieve a great quality of life, please contact one of our ten locations. We’re here to help you and your loved ones achieve a healthier, happier future.