Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of stories about how stress is impacting Chatham County during COVID-19.
It’s no secret that many people have been feeling additional stress lately. Whether it’s related to issues occurring in personal lives or the world engaging in protests and facing a pandemic, 2020 has seen its fair share of tumultuous moments, to say the least.
Pittsboro-based psychological associate Kristin Krippa said that the events of the past three months, compounded by other personal struggles in our day-to-day lives, could easily send one’s stress and anxiety levels into overdrive.
“Obviously, one of the major problems is isolation,” she said. “People are at home and feeling stressed out about that because they are not getting their normal stress relievers by going out.”
In fact, North Carolinians are particularly stressed, according to research conducted by BodyNutrition.org. The study showed that North Carolina is the third-most stressed state in the country, following Texas and Hawaii, respectively.
In the study, researchers tracked geotagged Twitter data over the course of three months. They targeted phrases such as “I’m stressed out” and “too much stress,” and hashtags including #stressed and #stressedout. Between March 1 and June 1 of this year, the study included over 300,000 tweets.
Overall, many Americans have been stressed during the coronavirus crisis and have reported “higher levels of general stress in recent years,” according to the American Psychological Association (APA)’s website. So much so that the APA has adapted its annual Stress in America survey into a monthly analysis of stress levels and stressors in order to better examine how individuals are coping with the significant stress of the pandemic.
The Harris Poll, which conducted a survey on behalf of the APA between April 24 to May 4 of this year, collected responses from 3,013 U.S. adults who were 18 or older.
U.S. adults were asked to rank their stress levels on a scale from 1-10, with 1 meaning “little or no stress” and 10 representing “a great deal of stress.”
When U.S. adults were asked about their stress levels related to COVID-19, the average reported stress level was a 5.9. When adults were asked to rate their general stress levels, the average was still a 5.4; these numbers are significantly higher than 2019’s Annual Stress in America survey, where U.S. adults had an average stress level of 4.9 out of 10.
With no vaccine for COVID-19 in sight and a recent surge of new cases throughout the country, it is likely that Americans will continue to experience higher stress levels until further notice.
Searching for solutions
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, people have been looking for answers on how to better manage their stress levels. In times like these, medical professionals, mental health advocates and others…