COVID-19 & MENTAL HEALTH

The SARS-CoV-2 virus, infamously known as COVID-19, has been for the past year the world’s largest enemy. Taking into consideration everything that has happened since December 2019, COVID-19 had monumental impact on the health of everyone in the world. The Association for Psychological Science (APS) states that increased emotional and mental stress on an individual’s body may alter their ability to create a healthy immune response to vaccines (APS, 2021).

Anything can be considered as added stress, depending on the individual. There have been shared stressors and discrepancies due to COVID-19, the main ones being reduced or complete loss of financial income, unemployment, fear of getting sick, and death of a loved one. All of these emotional and physical bodily reactions can cause depression, anxiety, stress, loneliness, fear, and overall unhealthy behaviors that can weaken a body’s immune response to vaccinations. The more stressed an individual is, the weaker their immune system becomes, resulting in not being able to fight off infections, colds, or sicknesses as easily. The way vaccines work is by challenging the body and the immune system (APS, 2021). If the body is stressed and weak before administration of the vaccine, it can become unable to take in the full effect of the vaccine.

Understandably, these are demanding and tense times for us all. The most effective way to handle these emotions that may be out of our control is to recognize these emotions as they come and handle them by staying active physically and mentally. Giving our bodies around 15-30 minutes of activity a day is a great start to making sure our bodies are on the path to staying strong. Some fun activities can include taking a walk on a nature path, engaging in a bike ride with a friend (weather permittingJ), or following a fun at-home workout! You may wonder what are some ways to stay mentally healthy, but mental and physical health often go hand in hand. Journaling your emotions, meditating, staying active, and talking to someone are all healthy and effective ways for keeping your mind and your body at ease.

Want to talk to someone who can help? If you would like to speak to a professional counselor or psychologist about this and are in the Chicagoland area, please feel free to contact Olive Branch Counseling Associates, Inc. at 708-633-8000. We are located at 6819 West 167th Street in Tinley Park, Illinois 60477.

Written by: Abrea, 2021 Undergraduate Intern

Depression and Stress Could Dampen Efficacy of COVID-19 Vaccines: Interventions and Health Behavior Changes Could Boost Immunity. Association for Psychological Science – APS. (2021, January 13). https://www.psychologicalscience.org/news/releases/2021-jan-depression-covid-vaccines.html.

Madison, A.A., Shrout, M.R., Renna, M.E., Kiecolt-Glaser, J.K. (in press). Psychological and Behavioral Predictors of Vaccine Efficacy: Considerations for COVID-19, Perspectives on Psychological Science.

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