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Self-Care Looking Up After Pandemic

A new survey conducted by The Harris Poll suggests a vast majority of U.S. adults (80 percent) say they will be more mindful about practicing self-care regularly once the pandemic is over. Nevertheless, nearly half of Americans (46 percent) also report that they are currently struggling to find ways to maintain their whole health during the pandemic.

Whole health is often described as an integration of physical, mental, social and spiritual health.

“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,” said Wayne Jonas, M.D., executive director of Samueli Integrative Health Programs.

“As we adjust to a new normal, we need to foster a robust, patient-centered healthcare system to better promote self-care.”

More than one in four Americans report a lack of energy (30 percent), difficulty sleeping (29 percent), or exercising less (29 percent) during the pandemic. Nearly half of Americans (47 percent) report feeling socially isolated, according to the online survey of more than 2,000 adults over age 18 conducted in May 2020.

A majority (64 percent) say they are focused on their mental health now more than ever. Nearly half of Americans (44 percent) say they wish they had more guidance and support for practicing self-care during the pandemic.

Self-care strategies include lifestyle changes, healthy diet, regular exercise, stress management, and other behavior changes such as smoking cessation. Compared to before the pandemic, roughly one-third say they are practicing more creative activities (35 percent), praying more (31 percent), or engaging in more meaningful conversations with friends and family (31 percent).

Most U.S. adults (83 percent) report that technology has been essential in helping them to stay connected with others. One in four also report that they are spending more time outdoors or eating healthy foods more. Still, a majority of participants share that they are experiencing disruptions in obtaining regular and preventative healthcare services. A majority (55 percent) say they are scared to get healthcare during the pandemic.

This is felt most acutely by people who have had a household income reduction during the pandemic (64 percent vs. 46 percent of those whose household income has not decreased due to the pandemic). Nearly half (45 percent) of all U.S. adults say they have failed to get preventive healthcare (e.g., wellness visits, standard vaccinations, screenings, etc.) during the pandemic.

“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,” said Jonas.

“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.”

In summarizing the importance of the findings, Jonas said, “As the country begins our recovery, it will inevitably create questions about the future of the healthcare system.

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.”

Source: The Reis Group/EurekAlert

Self-Care Looking Up After Pandemic

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2020). Self-Care Looking Up After Pandemic. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 10, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/news/2020/06/09/self-care-looking-up-after-pandemic/157065.html
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 9 Jun 2020 (Originally: 9 Jun 2020)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 9 Jun 2020
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.