The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our lives significantly; for some adding work, for others reducing work, and increasing daily stressors for most.
New studies show people in general are making less healthy lifestyle decisions and not keeping up with regular doctor’s appointments, many of which screen for illnesses that if caught early can be quickly and easily mended, but if left unchecked can become life-threatening.
We need to make sure we’re making our health a priority. Making healthy nutritional choices, increasing daily physical activity, working to maintain a high-functioning immune system and taking steps to reduce stress can not only ward off a slew of illnesses and chronic diseases, it can even lead to less severe illness from COVID-19 in many cases.
Some women are experiencing unwelcomed increases in workload, while others are seeing reductions in work — both can have an impact on a person’s stress levels and overall health.
A study by Kaiser Family Foundation found that a year after the pandemic began, women are still bearing the brunt of its damage: lost wages, lost child care support, and now, a reported loss of medical care. According to the poll, women missed 38% of their annual checkups during the pandemic compared to 26% of men.
According to a RAND Corporation study, during the pandemic women have increased their heavy drinking days by 41%. Additional research has shown that the psychological stress related to COVID-19 was associated with greater drinking for women, but not men. There are negative health impacts of drinking excessively, including increased risk of heart disease, stroke, liver disease, certain cancers, and it can also lead to increased risk of depression and anxiety.
Take time today to schedule your routine health care appointments. Work toward a balanced diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables that are great for your body and your immune system. Get outside and hike, bike, walk, run or do something that feels good. It will increase feel-good hormones and allow you to get some natural vitamin D.
By making your health a priority, you will be better prepared to weather whatever comes next.
Sources: Kaiser Family Foundation Study: Women’s Experiences with Health Care During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Findings from the KFF Women’s Health Survey | KFF
Rand Corporation Study: Changes in Adult Alcohol Use and Consequences During the COVID-19 Pandemic in the US | RAND