Everyone has found themselves operating under a higher level of stress and anxiety over the last several months. The pandemic has hit everyone extremely hard, and we have all been forced to worry about essentially all the key elements of our lives.
From staying COVID-19-free to keeping our jobs, from taking care of our parents and kids to looking after our own mental health, we have been burning the candle at both ends since March 2020. But we all know that the winter brings its own special kind of stress when it comes to our health, and there are going to be a lot of patients out there with a lot of worries.
Patients Are Still Worried About COVID-19
As much as we would all like to believe that the pandemic is very much in our rear-view mirrors at this point, the evidence suggests otherwise. We only need to look at how severe the impact of the Delta variant has been in the US to see that there is still plenty of cause for concern. If you are running a practice where patients are coming in for face-to-face consultations or treatments, you need to make sure that you are taking the necessary measures to keep them calm, comfortable, and safe. Think about putting up plenty of signage and guidelines to demonstrate that you are taking this as seriously as they are.
People Are Worried About Their Mental Health
On the one hand, it is undeniably a good thing that everyone is talking a lot more openly about mental health than they used to. On the other hand, it is tragic that it has taken a pandemic to get us to this point. A lot of people out there still struggle to discuss their mental health issues even if they are really worried about how they are doing.
So, what can we do to help people who need a bit of assistance in either opening up about or recognizing mental health issues? Removing the stigma from doing so is obviously one of the biggest and most crucial steps to take. But it is also important to remember that mental health issues and treatment take many forms. They do not always fall into neat categories, and it is not always helpful to simply assign a cure-all.
For example, there are several health issues that can have an impact on mental health. Evidence shows that mental health is connected to all areas of the body and helping someone who is struggling with their gut health, for example, can help with improving their mood. You may have read about mood-boosting probiotics, and this article on mood-boosting probiotics illustrates how they can have a real impact.
People Are Worried About Money
The COVID-19 pandemic had a terrible impact on people’s financial wellbeing. When the world locked down, a lot of people went on furlough at reduced income, and a lot of people lost their jobs entirely. Even those who carried on working during the pandemic spent a lot of time worrying about the security of their jobs, and everyone was carrying more financial responsibility.
As we head into the winter, worries about finances will only grow. Our energy bills go up, we need to buy more school supplies and winter clothing for our children, and anyone looking after elderly relatives will be trying to set aside some money for their care whether they are doing it subconsciously or not. Medical bills are always going to be a worry, so one of the most important things that you can do is educate your patients on the importance of having comprehensive health insurance. You should also try to be honest about the kind of bills they could be looking at from the get-go.
People Are Worried About Being Heard
Finally, one of the biggest worries that a lot of people have about their health as we head into the winter is that they are being listened to and that they are being heard. Going to see a doctor is not an easy task for a lot of people out there, and they understand there is a pandemic going on and medical professionals are under an incredible amount of strain.
These people may struggle to communicate exactly what it is they are worried about, or they may be on the other end of the spectrum and communicate it aggressively. It all comes from a place of panic and anxiety, and when things are as hard as they are right now, that is understandable. Try to make sure that you offer a calm and reassuring space for your patient and that you can demonstrate that you are listening and are on their side.