A new survey is looking at how men are coping with the emotional strain of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The results paint a mixed picture with many struggling and others finding ways to thrive.
The study finds that the key difference is how they manage stress.
“You’re going to find people responding in what we would consider unreasonable ways,” said Dr. Frank W. Jevnikar with the Cleveland Clinic. “Where everybody’s shaking their head and saying ’What’s going on with people?’ Well, they’re at their peak stress.”
A survey by the Cleveland Clinic finds that 77 percent of men said they’ve been negatively impacted by the pandemic.
“Their stress levels have increased,” Jevnikar said. “And half of those admitting this are taking an emotional and a mental toll.”
Fifty-nine percent of men surveyed feel isolated, 25% reported weight gain and about half are avoiding going to the doctor. Nearly two-thirds surveyed admit they’re not talking about the stress they’re feeling.
“Men, you’re not alone, admit that you’re having struggles either to your loved ones or close friends,” Jevnikar said. “Finding people that you can share some of these stresses with is going to be important.”
The survey is not all bad news. Forty-five percent of men said the pandemic has actually improved their health.
“Some of them have actually been able to make the lemonade out of the lemons,” Jevnikar said. “They’re finding ways to exercise and relieve some of that stress.”
More than a quarter surveyed said they’re sleeping more and 19% said they’re eating healthier.
“There are people that are living through this era that are actually doing better. They’re connecting better with their families, they’re taking timeouts and either going for walks, or runs, or enjoying life a little bit more when they don’t have to deal with the hustle and bustle of everyday life as it used to be,” Jevnikar said.
While the survey found that more than half of men do not expect the pandemic to end soon, the majority of respondents said they’re still optimistic about the future.