If you feel like you’ve had a constant weight on your back for the last 18-plus months, you’re not alone. The changing dynamic of what was once considered normal to the new normal still hasn’t felt quite, well, “normal”. And even though we’re heading into our first “back to normal” holiday season, you might be experiencing more burnout than ever.
Researchers have been investigating the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on global mental health. A 2020 systematic review found that in the general population of numerous countries saw relatively high rates of symptoms of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, psychological distress and stress. While there were certain risk factors associated with higher levels of stress, the bottom line is unfortunately true: The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant levels of psychological distress in many.
While it may seem like we’re climbing an uphill battle, thankfully many mental health experts are committed to helping the public understand and work through the turmoil of the pandemic, especially as we enter yet another “new normal” holiday season.
As someone who’s personally felt guilt for feeling any remote depression or anxiety symptoms given that I have a roof over my head, food on my table and employment, it’s important to hear professionals speak on this and remind us too that we’re not alone.
According to behavioral health expert Dana Peters, MA, “As we enter the holidays, remember that all people have their own individual relationship with how they perceive and understand their time, energy and how to live a life reflective of what they value. While these things can be impacted by economic status, we could also argue that culturally we are not encouraged to be aware of our time, energy and how we want to take our power back to put ourselves and our mental health first. Every individual faces their own unique challenges around this, but we all have the ability and power within us to set up our lives in a way that works for us.”