80% of Americans intend to regularly practice self-care after COVID-19 pandemic
Most U.S. adults reported intentions to become more mindful about engaging in regular self-care practices after the COVID-19 pandemic, according to survey results.
“The COVID pandemic has resulted in a dramatic drop-off in preventive, mental health and basic chronic disease care,” Wayne Jonas, MD, executive director of Samueli Integrative Health Programs, told Healio Psychiatry. “As the country begins our recovery, it will inevitably create questions about the future of the health care system and the health needs of all Americans.
“Samueli Integrative Health Programs sought to better understand the mental, social, emotional and physical effects of the quarantine and social distancing,” Jonas added. “The survey findings provide a picture of COVID-19’s impact on adults in the U.S. and how they are managing the various threats and opportunities. Moving forward, patients and doctors need a basis of good information to understand how best to address overall health and well-being.”
Jonas and colleagues partnered with The Harris Poll to conduct an online survey of 2,051 U.S. adults aged 18 years or older between May 5 and 7. The survey gauged participants’ mental health experiences and self-care practices during the pandemic, as well as their agreement or disagreement with various statements about it, such as “I am more focused on my mental health now than ever” and “technology has been essential in helping me to remain connected with others during the coronavirus pandemic.”
Results showed 80% of participants intended to be more mindful about regular self-care practices after the pandemic; however, 46% reported struggling to find ways to maintain their physical, mental and spiritual health during the pandemic. Moreover, 30% of Americans reported a lack of energy, 29% reported difficulty sleeping or exercising less and 47% reported feelings of social isolation. Most (64%) reported being focused on their mental health now more than ever and 44% desired more guidance and support for practicing self-care during the pandemic.
Compared with before the pandemic, 35% reported practicing more creative activities and 31% reported praying more or engaging in more meaningful conversations with family and friends.
Other findings included the following:
- 83% reported that technology was essential in helping to maintain social connections.
- 25% reported increased time spent outdoors or increased consumption of healthy foods.
- 55% reported being scared to get health care during the pandemic.
Among those who reported fear of getting health care, most had a household income reduction during the pandemic. Further, 45% of all U.S. adults reported that they failed to get preventive health care during the pandemic.
“As we return to a new normal, clinicians cannot overlook the damage done to their patients’ physical and mental health during this pandemic,” Jonas told Healio Psychiatry. “Thus, patients are forced to care more for themselves. We need to find new ways of providing care and anticipate patient need during and after the pandemic. We need to empower individuals to maintain any healthy habits formed during the pandemic and emphasize strategies that enable them to promote their own well-being — like good nutrition, exercising and stress reduction — alongside guidance from physicians.”