For many, 2020 was one of the most stressful years in recent memory. A nationwide survey conducted by the American Psychological Association (APA) revealed a concerning increase in stress levels reported by two-thirds of their survey respondents. With unprecedented uncertainty and so many lives thrown out of balance, the organization warned that the impact of 2020 stress on physical and emotional wellbeing could linger for years.1
Before the year came to a close, we conducted a survey of our own. Not only did our 2000 survey respondents reveal which 2020 events they found the most stress-inducing, the data we’ve collected also confirms that a considerable number of people are still looking for a better way to manage stress.
Reviewing the Most Stressful Events of the Year
The feedback of our survey respondents confirms that 2020 hit hard. When asked if they could be granted any one thing in 2021, three out of every ten participants wished to wipe the slate clean, to no longer deal with the most stressful aspects of their lives. However, when identifying which events of the past year were the most distressing, responses varied considerably. We’ve ranked the top five according to participant feedback.
#1 – The Covid-19 Pandemic
After months of world-wide attention, the World Health Organization (WHO) first declared the novel Covid-19 virus a global pandemic on March 11. Our government declared the virus a National emergency two days later. With stringent measures implemented to slow the spread of disease, daily routines were upended in ways most of us would have never imagined and lasted far longer than many had ever expected.2 50% of our survey respondents felt the Covid-19 pandemic was the most stressful event of the year.
#2 – The US Response to the Covid-19 Pandemic
The CDC confirmed the first case of Covid-19 in the US on January 20. By mid-February, the virus began to spread through New York. Soon it was apparent that diagnostic tests were scarce, and personal protective equipment (PPE) was in short supply.3 By mid-March, most state and local governments were closing schools, imposing limits on the number of people allowed to gather, shuttering non-essential businesses, and more.4 As the pandemic wore on, some people felt ongoing restrictions were necessary; others did not. Either way, 37% of our survey respondents 21 and older consider the US’ overall response to the pandemic one of the most stressful events of 2020.
#3 – The Death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg
In 1993, President Bill Clinton nominated Ruth Bader Ginsburg to the Supreme Court. As the second of only four female justices in history, Justice Ginsburg soon became known for her strong opinions and fiery dissents. Before her death at the age of 87, RGB was at the height of her popularity, a role model for female empowerment, justice, and gender equality. Known for her soft voice and large glasses, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the first and only Supreme Court Justice to become a pop culture icon.5 Based on data collected from 2000 survey participants, 36% identified the death of the Supreme Court Justice high on the list of 2020 stress-inducing events.
#4 – The Confirmation Hearings of Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court
Amy Coney Barrett was officially nominated for Supreme Court Justice 11 days after the September 18th death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. With the timing of the nomination and confirmation hearings embraced by some and contested by others, Judge Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the US Supreme Court on October 26 after four days of Senate Judiciary hearings.6,7 32% of our survey respondents ranked the Supreme Court confirmation hearings of Amy Coney Barrett as one of the year’s most stressful events.
#5 – The Death of Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant spent his entire 20-year basketball career with the Los Angeles Lakers. On Sunday, January 26, a helicopter carrying the 5-time NBA champion, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others dropped from radar under presumably foggy conditions. Reports of a crash into a steep hillside in Calabasas, California soon followed. No one survived. Bryant was clearly one of the most popular sports figures in Los Angeles and a global celebrity.8,9 30% of our survey respondents ranked the sudden death of Kobe Bryant as one of the most stressful events of the year.
The High Physical and Emotional Cost of 2020 Stress
Given the option, our survey revealed that Americans would be willing to pay an average of $1,835.81 to completely erase 2020 from their memories. What would that accomplish? Well, that depends.
Stressful events affect everyone differently. The short-term effects can clutter your mind, drain your energy, and dampen your mood. If elevated stress levels have become your new normal, you could also be struggling with weight gain, recurring headaches, digestive issues, depression, and sleeplessness.10
Based on data collected from our survey participants, we discovered an average of 245 hours of sleep lost per person because of stress last year. When you break that number down based on 8 hours of sleep each night, that’s the equivalent of an entire month of sleep loss. Not only can that level of sleep deprivation have a considerable impact on overall health and wellbeing on its own, the lack of restorative sleep also makes it that much harder to manage the physical and emotional impact of stressful events.
Looking for a Better Way to Manage Stress in the Year Ahead?
If you’ve been looking for a better way to manage stress, you’re not alone. At least 1/3 of our survey respondents are too. If your current stress-busting measures aren’t delivering the results you were hoping for, consider investing in the calming, soothing potential of hemp-derived CBD products from CBDistillery
Based on an internal survey of nearly 2000 CBDistillery customers, most CBD users prefer CBD over meditation (82%), alcohol (76%), and yoga (79%) for relaxation. An impressive 88% claim CBD helps with mild or temporary anxiety, and 89% report better sleep.
To learn more about the health and wellness potential of CBD, visit CBDistillery for a free download of The Ultimate CBD User Guide, the #1 resource for CBD users. Then consider browsing our selection of CBD tinctures, capsules, topicals, and gummies, or try our new CBD-infused dark chocolate bar. All CBDistillery products are made with naturally cultivated hemp grown on American soil. Plus, every product we offer is third-party tested and certified by the US Hemp Authority.
1. American Psychological Association. (2020) Stress in America 2020.
2. KHOU*11. D Jones. (2021 March 11) Key Moments that Define the First Year of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
3. Popular Mechanic. C Linder (2020 March 16) Why There Aren’t Enough Coronavirus Tests in the U.S.
4. Education Week (2020 July 01) The Coronavirus Spring: The Historic Closing of US Schools (A Timeline).
5. Readers Digest. T Donvito. (2020 September 18) 15 Ways Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Has Made History.
6. NPR. B Naylor. (2020 October 15) Amy Coney Barrett’s Supreme Court Confirmation Hearing.
7. Propublica. (2020 October 26) Senate Vote 224 – Confirms Amy Coney Barrett to Supreme Court.
8. ABC News. J Haworth, B Hutchinson. (2020 January 27) Kobe Bryant’s Unexpected Death Leaves the World Grieving, Searching for Answers.
9. Hollywood Reporter. K Kilkenny. (2020 January 26) Kobe Bryant, NBA Superstar and Oscar Winner, Dies in Helicopter Crash.
10. Healthline. A Pietrangelo. (2020 March 29) The Effects of Stress on Your Body.
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