6 Mental Health Tips during Covid (and beyond)

6 Mental Health Tips during Covid 19 for 2021 (and beyond)

In the U.S., mental health conditions affect as many as one in five people – around 47 million of us. As devastating as COVID 19 has been, current case numbers are sitting at half that amount. The issue is that the pandemic’s mental health effects may be far longer lasting than the disease itself. COVID 19 has also caused disruptions to our mental health indirectly. The measures are taken to slow the spread of the virus have affected our physical activity levels, eating behaviors, sleep patterns, and our relationship with addictive substances, including social media. To this last point, both our increased use of social media while stuck at home, as well as the increased exposure to disaster news over the past year, have amplified the negative effects of social media use on our mental health. Thankfully, the news is not all bad, especially with new plans for rolling out vaccines. So in this video, I want to give some recommendations for boosting your mental health as we get through this pandemic together.

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There’s new, even stronger evidence for the positive benefits of exercise on mental health. The most common aerobic exercise forms, such as walking, running, or stationary cycling, have displayed these improvements. Encouragingly, these benefits have still been present at follow-ups up to 12 months after the interventions ended.

Resistance training, too, has provided similar reductions in depressive symptoms over an eight-week period compared to cardio. You don’t have to exhaust yourself, either – low to moderate-intensity exercise improves mood and vigor, while high-intensity training, if overdone, has more potential to increase tension and fatigue. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends two to three 20-30 minute exercise sessions per week. During isolation, we can enjoy the saved transit time and decreased costs of working out at home.

Epidemiological studies investigating the relationship between diet and mental health have steadily increased over the last decade. Research shows the increased risk of developing depression and anxiety when consuming a highly processed, Western diet. On the flip side, studies have also emerged showing the link between a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, nuts, fish – and low in processed foods – and the protection from developing common mental disorders.

The Mediterranean diet has been ranked the healthiest way of eating by dietitians and doctors for the 4th year in a row. It’s a nonrestrictive, mostly plant-based eating style that has been extensively researched. Study after study shows benefits for weight loss, lower risk of diabetes and high blood pressure, better digestion, and even healthier aging. The diet is based on eating habits in regions like Greece and southern Italy, the so-called blue zones, where people live the longest, healthiest lives.

More than a third of adults experience sleep difficulties. In the first half of 2020 alone, U.S. Google searches for ‘Insomnia’ increased by 58%. More often than not, these problems occur in conjunction with physical and mental health burdens. Since COVID 19 has disrupted our daily routines, our ‘sleep hygiene, as it’s known, is suffering as a result.

Depending on the weather (and the restrictions) in your area, you may be able to get outside for a certain amount of time each day. I suggest you take this opportunity wherever possible. The restorative properties of interacting with nature include lower stress levels and reduced symptoms of anxiety and depression. Getting outside also means you’re spending less time on social media and away from your phone, and the importance of this can’t be underestimated. You’ll also get the benefits of healthy sunlight exposure – weather permitting. This plays a vital role in mental well-being by regulating our energy levels and is also a source of our vitamin D supply.

Doctor Mike Hansen, MD
Internal Medicine | Pulmonary Disease | Critical Care Medicine
Website: https://doctormikehansen.com/
Doctor Hansen’s Courses: https://doctormikehansen.com/courses/


47 Comments on “6 Mental Health Tips during Covid (and beyond)”

  1. But people I think it's because of putting a blame on our selves yet it's not our problem,for me I always say that in my mind and keep on wearing my mask that's helping me.

  2. Oh my, this video has been out for like 6 months, but I have been meaning to reply to it. I'm a counselor and I so appreciate it when medical doctors promote the importance of self-care and mental health awareness. Thank you, Dr. Hansen! ❤

  3. Dance on your favourite beats 💓
    Always remember we are part of this amazing universe and we will always remain its part whether as a matter or an energy

  4. 😈😈😈 Covid-19 is the secret terrorist in this 21th century. The world has to join its solidarity to combat this fierce enemy.
    WHO & WPA should play the important role in fighting with Covid-19 & its complications such as : mental trauma, PTSD, melancholic depression etc.

    – Covid-19 is the biggest lesson between Science & Religion.
    – Covid-19 is the greatest lesson between humanity & profit.

  5. At least they are talking more about the "real pandemic" that's still gripping the world. My poor nephew a perfect example of victim to mental health. He and his partner never encountered a fight in 5 yrs together but when lockdowns took place, they split overnight without even facing each other and nobody is to blame, his poor partner had endured several abusive relationships during her life and appeared to have flashbacks during isolation and cut him off, it's like he became one of their past abusers yet treated her like a Queen.

    This type of behavior seems more common in older people who've had a history of abusive. Goodness knows how many marriages/relationships that were otherwise ok have been ruined by this horrible disease. He's still broken 9 months later but not because of the loss, but knowing it would never have happened had it not been for this pandemic. Many couples have coped and even prospered during the crisis, but many haven't. The real cost of C19 is sickening.

  6. I am petrified of having any vaccine and would rather continue isolating from the world to avoid contracting the illness. I have had many medical blunders and high risk of shock syndrome so I wont be having the vaccine .

  7. A lot of good facts and promise in here, thanks for making these videos. However you mentioned a new Biden administration aiding in making covid improve, I don’t understand that, could you explain further how that impacts anything?

  8. In the beginning of this pandemic I had panic and anxiety attacks multiple times a week, so much that I had to even put my Fitbit watch back on in the evening to try and controle my heartrate. Now at this point, I'm pretty much sliding into a depression, crying multiple times a week. I'm an introvert and like being alone from time to time, but even for me this is getting really hard to handle. On top of that I have MS and winter is the hardest time for me when it comes to that. I work for the governement so I'm still working, seeing my colleagues and I do 14000 to 15000 steps a day and do yoga. But doesn't really help. I started 2021 with a good feeling and good hopes with the vaccines and health experts and politicians here in Belgium stating we'll all be vaccinated by half of september. But now once again there's nothing but bad news, coz the pharmaceutical companies are not doing what they're supposed to and delivering way less doses than they were supposed to. At this rate, it'll be 2023 by the time we all got our 2 doses of the vaccine 😭😭😭

  9. Thank you for making these vdos. Very informative, get to the point. Very helpful in with keeping up with important Medical news. The length of vdo is perfect, since we all are so busy.

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