The U.S. is in far different shape today than it was last Memorial Day, and many Americans are, too.
According to a recent survey by the American Psychological Association, undesired changes in weight driven by pandemic stress are widespread: 42% of adults reported gaining weight, with a median weight gain of 15 pounds, while 18% reported undesired weight loss. About 66% of people reported changes in their sleep habits, and 23% of respondents reported an increase in alcohol use.
In addition, many people have delayed routine medical and dental maintenance: Think mammograms, childhood immunizations and teeth cleaning. There’s also a mental health pandemic underway in parallel with increased substance use, which must also be addressed.
I am a physician and associate professor of medicine at Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine. In my role as the director of wellness, resiliency and vulnerable populations, I hear the concerns of faculty and staff regarding returning to on-site work.
The switch that got flipped in March 2020 to social distancing, remote schooling, mask-wearing and long-distance work – or no work – is switching back almost as abruptly. With little preparation time, many people are faced with wanting to be in top form for reentry. Resuming – or beginning – healthier habits is a wonderful goal. Trying to get back to normal too quickly, however, may be hard ..
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