In the age of a worldwide pandemic (seemingly rearing up for a second surge), it's no surprise our mental health is taking a beating — with isolation, job loss, health concerns and many other COVID-related circumstances being large contributing factors to our rising stress levels.
But just how tense are the folks in the Queen City? According to a recent study by personal finance website WalletHub, we are the No. 19 most stressed city in the United States.
The study evaluated data from 182 cities —150 of which are the country's most populated — using a number of key factors, divided into four dimensions, to produce their ranking. The dimensions were work stress, financial stress, family stress and health and safety stress.
Metrics within those dimensions ranked states with populations most vulnerable to the coronavirus, job security, traffic congestion, unemployment rate, foreclosure rate, affordable housing, child care cost, share of single parent households, suicide rate, crime rate, etc. (You can review the full methodology at wallethub.com.)
Coming in at the No. 1 most stressed city in America was Cleveland, then Detroit at No. 2 and Birmingham at No. 3. The least stressed city? Lincoln, Nebraska.
Ohio is apparently stressed out statewide, as four Ohio cities ranked within the top 20 spots: Cleveland (No. 1), Toledo (No. 12), Akron (No. 13) and Cincinnati (No. 19).
Within the study, a panel of experts shared their advice when asked a number of questions, including how employers can reduce work-related stress, the best ways to manage coronavirus-related stress and finance management tips to reduce stress.
According to Christopher L. J. Cunningham, PhD, you should combat COVID-related stress in the same way you would in ordinary stressful life situations.
"Managing stress levels during the current pandemic requires strategies similar to those that we might rely on during other periods of intensive work and life demands. In general, this means getting enough sleep, eating right, and exercising. At a more psychological level, this means detaching from work (physically and mentally), relaxing, and engaging in activities that help us experience feelings of control, or even mastery. The best combination of these elements to recovery differs from person to person, but these are good general guidelines to consider."
Cunningham's response also explains that this is an opportunity for self reflection and growth.
"For many, this has led to a re-engaging with nature, immediate family members, religious and spiritual practices, and even a good book. All of these function as tremendously valuable resources that also strengthen our ability to manage stress in these challenging times."