National Stress Awareness Day was November 3rd, and this year, our collective stress is off-the-charts, In fact, before the pandemic started, we THOUGHT we knew the meaning of stress. But, according to recent research by NPR, post-pandemic stress is a whole different monster, and the data backs it up.

According to NPR, people in all walks of life–and in nearly all areas–were dealing with incredible set-backs.

Take education: Two-thirds of parents say their children have fallen behind in school.

Financially, 38% of American households say they’ve faced serious financial problems in the last few months, with minority households reporting far more setbacks financially than their white counterparts. And, all this, despite the fact that two-thirds of low-income households say they’ve received financial assistance.

When it comes to mental health, half of households say at least one person in the home has had serious problems with anxiety, depression, stress, or sleep in recent months.

If we thought we knew what stress was before COVID, think again. The latest data begs the questions: Do we need to raise the bar when it comes to defining stress? Are COVID stress-levels here to stay? Should there be a whole new word for what Americans are currently feeling?

At least one thing is clear–the same stand-by relief behaviors still work, even during COVID. Self-care, exercise, social connections, meaningful work, and getting outdoors all still appear to be tried-and-true stress relievers. So, whether it’s pre-covid stress or post-covid STRESS, best practice is still to maintain your health, both physical and mental.

Britt Young, M.A. LMFT
Xplor Counsleing, LLC