2020 has been a tough year. COVID-19, social unrest, political drama, and natural disasters can all cause stress and mental fatigue. Add in less sunlight and a colder climate, and this winter might be rough for many workers.
According to the CDC, in the second quarter of 2020, “the prevalence of symptoms of anxiety disorder was approximately three times those reported in the second quarter of 2019 (25.5% versus 8.1%), and prevalence of depressive disorder was approximately four times that reported in the second quarter of 2019.”
“There’s less activity, there’s less socialization, there are less mastery activities, there are less pleasurable activities, so in general there is an increase in depression, not to mention job losses and losses of people. A combination of all those things, I think, would put us more at risk this winter.”
Essentially, even if you don’t suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, workers must prioritize their mental health this season. Following are methods to cope.
Take Exercise Breaks
With colder weather setting in and many gyms still closed across the country, getting proper exercise is incredibly important. When the stress gets to you, consider taking a few minutes to go on a quick walk or take a meditation break. Your body and mind are connected, and getting your body moving can reduce mental fatigue.
Organize Your Routine
One major cause of stress is lack of control. With everything happening in the world, it can feel like there isn’t anything you can do to make real change.
An ideal way to combat this feeling of helplessness is with organization. Keep track of your to-do’s and accomplishments in a computer document or journal. Actually seeing what you’ve done and still have to do can reduce stress and keep you on track.
Keep in Contact with Others
Self-isolation is difficult. It can be hard to focus on your work when you’re cut off from seeing anyone else. Even if you’re back at work, odds are, social distancing measures are strictly in place. If you find yourself missing human contact, ask your manager if it would be possible to add more video meetings into the schedule.
Contact a Mental Health Professional
If the stress gets to be too much, and you notice it starting to affect your work, it might be time to schedule a visit with a mental health professional. Your health care provider should be able to set you up with someone that can help you work through your stress and recommend treatment.