(StatePoint) It’s no secret that the country is feeling the pinch from inflation and the rising costs of goods and services, with 48% of Americans struggling to make ends meet financially, according to the latest data from Dynata’s Global Consumer Trends survey. That’s up from 34% in August of last year. These circumstances are having a significant impact on wellness, with 53% of respondents attributing financial difficulties as being an extremely or very important contributing factor to their worsening mental health since before the pandemic. Women are feeling the impacts most. Nearly six in 10 women – 57% – say financial difficulties are the largest contributor to a decline in their mental health vs. 44% of men who say the same. Many Americans however are finding new ways to ease the burden on their mental health. Here are a few of the habits and attitudes that have helped those who report having better mental health now than they did pre-pandemic:
• Exercise. Getting more exercise has helped 78% of respondents achieve better mental health during this time of financial uncertainty.
• Spending more time with hobbies and interests. Seventy-four percent of respondents have seen an improvement in their mental health by spending more time and focus on their hobbies and industries. Whether it’s knitting, playing a sport or bird-watching, taking on a new hobby can be an effective way to better your mental health.
• Spending time with loved ones. The pandemic was a long period of separation for many, but with life back to normal, spending time with loved ones has been a proven way to boost mental health, with 74% of respondents seeing an improvement.
• Rest. Now is a great time to sit back and take some time to relax, as 73% reported an improvement in their mental health from just taking time to rest.
• Cooking and healthy eating. The pandemic gave many a chance to spend more time in the kitchen cooking their favorite meals. Seventy-two percent of respondents attribute cooking and healthy eating to helping improve their mental health. During these difficult financial times, spending more time in the kitchen can be a great way to help ease stress, save money on meals and of course, reap the physical and mental benefits of a good, balanced meal.
• Work-life balance. This has been a stressful time for employees, with news of layoffs coming almost daily, on top of the already existing financial stressors. However, 72% of respondents attribute achieving a better work-life balance to lowering stress levels and improving their mental health. For full survey results, visit https://www.dynata.com. While many Americans are feeling the pinch right now, the good news is that proven coping strategies can help lighten the mental load.