CLEVELAND, OHIO — COVID-19 has taken a mental toll on all of us.
Now, a Cleveland Clinic survey shows 77 percent of men report their stress level has increased as a result of the pandemic.
“Half of those admit that this is taking an emotional and a mental toll on their day-to-day lives,” said Frank Jevnikar, MD.
Results show 59 percent of men surveyed feel isolated, while others are struggling to stay healthy – with a quarter reporting weight gain and about half avoiding the doctor.
“You're going to find people responding in what we would consider unreasonable ways and we're reading about that in the newspaper and seeing that in the news where everybody’s shaking their head and saying what's going on with people? Well, they’re at their peak stress,” Jevnikar said.
According to the survey, 66 percent of men say they rarely talk about the impact COVID-19 has had on their mental health.
“You're not alone, admit that you're having struggles either to your loved ones or close friends, don't be afraid to talk about what's really bothering you,” said Jevnikar. “Finding people that you can share some of these stresses with is going to be important.”
On the flip side, 45 percent say the pandemic has actually improved their health.
“Some of them have actually been able to make the lemonade out of the lemons,” commented Jevnikar. “They're finding ways to exercise and relieve some of that stress. Some men are finding that without the day-to-day, I guess, responsibilities that their job used to have, they’re able to use that to connect a little bit more with their families.”
The survey shows 28 percent of men are sleeping more and 19 percent are eating healthier – inspiration for all of us.
“There are people that are living through this era that are actually doing better, they're connecting better with their families, they are taking timeouts and either going for walks or runs and enjoying life a little bit more when they don't have to deal with the hustle and bustle of everyday life as it used to be,” said Jevnikar. “I think we can all role model that, just find some daily joy, I think we'll be able to get through this a little bit easier.”
The survey shows more than half of men don’t expect the pandemic to end any time soon, but the majority of respondents say they’re still optimistic about the future.