INDIANAPOLIS — Have you felt more stressed or depressed this year? You’re not alone.
Carter Cramer, a psychiatric nurse practitioner at IU Health, says he’s seen an increase in the number of patients in 2020, and there are many reasons for that.
“With social distancing, people feel more isolated. People are more couped up in the house,” he said. “Some have lost their jobs, we’ve seen that too, in terms of patients presenting, and being incredibly worried about, how they’re going to afford their finances.”
Cramer says more patients are coming in worried about the future too.
“All of the unknowns of what is to come and how this will play out, plus they fear for their own health and how that could play out as well,” he said.
There are many tips and advice Cramer is giving his patients, starting with taking life one day at a time, and not getting ahead of yourself. He adds that you should work on not thinking “worst case scenario” for everything.
For those that have been stuck inside the house for the last four months, he suggests getting outside, enjoying the summer weather for a little bit, and maybe trying a new hobby.
“Get creative,” he said. “That could be doing a puzzle, cooking, gardening, or getting a project done around the house.”
Cramer also encourages you to exercise, even if it’s just taking a walk or doing a few pushups, and make sure you eat healthy.
“Maybe you’re eating some junky food, which might feel good for ten minutes, but ultimately, it probably won’t help you feel any better. It can actually make your depression worse,” he said.
Another reason more people are feeling stressed, depressed or angry is the news and constant conversations dominating our country. Cramer says it’s okay to take a break from the news.
“A lot of my patients get upset about what they’re seeing on the news, and I think that brings on a lot of anxiety and panic attacks,” he said. “You can consume what you need to be an informed citizen, but don’t spend all day looking at that.”
Cramer also says it doesn’t mean you have to delete your social media apps, mostly because Facebook, Twitter or Instagram can be a good thing.
“They’re a wonderful source to converse with others, especially in these times, when we’re not really seeing people face-to-face as we normally do,” he said. “Definitely for our younger people, because that’s how they communicate, that’s how they get their news.”