Pandemic changes: Shifting behaviors & the mental toll

Health News

(NBC News) – Brittney Bunker has been cooking up a storm during the coronavirus pandemic, both for her family and others.
“It was a way to bring love in the form of food to people,” she says.

She’s not alone according to a recent survey by Parade Magazine and the Cleveland Clinic.

It finds COVID-19 hasn’t just impacted health, it’s shaped behaviors. 

Sixty-two percent of Americans say they’ve adopted a positive lifestyle change as a result of the pandemic, like cooking at home, exercising or getting more sleep. 
“This really seems to show that our society has a lot of resilience,” says the Cleveland Clinic’s Dr. Kristen Englund.  “People are willing to look for the positive. People are willing to find changes that they can make in their own lives.”

The survey also indicates the pandemic has strengthened family connections.  Seventy-eight percent say they now value their relationships more, and 65 percent have reevaluated how they spend their time. 
“It’s given a lot of people the opportunity to look at those folks that are right in front of them,” Dr. Englund says.

Unfortunately, it’s not all positive. The past six months have taken a toll on mental health. 

More than half of adults, and three out of four 18 to 34-year olds say they’ve experienced stress, anxiety, depression or isolation since March. 
“The first thing you need to do is to be able to recognize it and understand that this is something that you’re going through, and it’s okay. Understand it and then be able to get help,” Dr. Englund says.

Half of respondents say life will never go back to what it was pre-pandemic, a new normal with new highs and lows.

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