Physical conditions can be better managed with vaccines and medications; however, that is not the case when it comes to treating or preventing mental health issues.

Experts believe that mental health is going to be one of the biggest pandemic issues in 2021.

Lisa Carlson of the American Public Health Association (APHA) said, “The physical aspects of the pandemic are really visible. We have supply shortages and economic stress, fear of illness, all of our disrupted routines, but there’s a real grief in all of that.”

“We don’t have a vaccine for our mental health like we do for our physical health. So, it will take longer to come out of those challenges,” added Carlson, who is also an executive administrator at the Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta.

Life was already stressful and then comes the pandemic, bringing a new set of challenges, such as staying home, unemployment, online schooling, teleworking, and financial hardships.

The pandemic has been driving us into isolation, which can lead to loneliness. Plus, many of us, especially children and teenagers, are missing out on opportunities important for social development.

Carlson said it is imperative to manage stress during these trying times. She advised being safely outdoors and around trees, which could improve your overall health.

“Focusing on the basics to get sleep, to eat healthy meals, to move throughout the day, to spend time with pets and loved ones” are going to be critically important, she added. “Taking care of ourselves and each other should be everybody’s focus as we go into 2021.”

Most people experience sleep disturbances due to a lack of separation between work and home.

Dr. Raj Dasgupta of the University of Southern California said the pandemic “really threw a curveball in our circadian rhythm.”

In addition, “many people have been gaining weight,” Dr. Dasgupta noted. “Weight has always been a risk factor when we talk about things like obstructive sleep apnea [OSA].” And OSA is more likely to increase the risk of depression and anxiety.

Therefore, it is important to get enough quality sleep to take care of your mental health, which can be done by developing a sleep routine and practicing relaxation techniques. For more information on what experts have to say about coping with mental health issues during the pandemic, visit an article titled “Mental health is one of the biggest pandemic issues we’ll face in 2021,” published on CNN.