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Sound Health is a recurring series that airs twice each month on WGLT's Sound Ideas program.Support for Sound Health comes from Carle Health, bringing care, coverage, support, healthcare research and education to central Illinois and beyond.

Sound Health: COVID stress compounds the winter blues for many

Chestnut Health Systems entrance
WGLT file photo
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Chestnut Health Systems

January is a time when many people struggle with the post-holiday blues, and the COVID pandemic has compounded that depression and anxiety for many.

Joan Hartman
courtesy
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Joan Hartman

Joan Hartman is vice president of strategy and public policy at Chestnut Health Systems in Bloomington and has a background in clinical psychology. In this edition of Sound Health, Hartman said psychologists are in high demand as people try to get through another difficult winter.

“(COVID) has significantly increased the number of people who are struggling with anxiety and depression over the last three years. It’s just that feeling of hopelessness. ‘Is this ever going to end? Am I ever going to feel better?’” Hartman said, adding that isolation continues to add another layer of hardship for many.

Hartman said it's common to feel in a funk this time of year, but it's important to look for warning signs.

“When it starts to be at the point where it’s more constant, it’s longer-term, you are not coming out of it or it started before the holidays and it’s gotten worse, go to your doctor,” Hartman implored. Hartman also urges people to make time for fun in their lives.

“Most of us have found pretty safe ways to connect with people that we enjoy. To be able to do things that we enjoy, just continue those,” Hartman said, adding that having something to look forward to can improve your mental health.

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