The past 2 years we have experienced a pandemic that has been one of the most challenging years for most of us. The COVID 19 pandemic has affected all the world. Many people have lost their jobs due to the closing of many companies and reducing workforce for some companies. Many people also got infected with the virus and many people who got infected died. Though not all of us were infected with the virus, it still has affected almost all of us mentally, emotionally, physically, and socially.
Dr. Nel Wieman, Senior Medical Officer, Mental and Wellness said that feeling worried during the pandemic is quite normal. We may feel distressed due the fact that we don’t have any certainty that we will not get affected by the virus, and this also causes trauma. This feeling affects our mental health and wellness.
For a nation that experienced this pandemic, the citizens will experience symptoms related to trauma, that includes increased distress, irritability, avoidance, and feeling overly emotional. Studies also show that because of this pandemic, there was significantly an increase in sedentary leisure behaviors, declines in physical activities, and increase in anxiety and weight gain, especially in people with obesity.
The abrupt closures of fitness clubs, restaurants, and places of employment alter the eating and physical habits of our citizens. The fear of being infected with the virus, in addition to the stay-at-home orders, have provoked feelings of loneliness and isolation, further exacerbating stress and anxiety.
Stress during this pandemic have resulted in:
- Anxiety and fear about health, loss of support services, finances, or unemployment
- Sleep disruption or altered sleeping patterns
- Changed eating habits
- Trouble concentrating
- Worsening of chronic health problems, including mental health conditions
- Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, and other substances
Researchers at Louisiana State University’s (LSU’s) Pennington Biomedical Research Center designed an innovative global survey study to quantify changes in physical activity, sedentary behaviors, sleep, mental health, and dietary habits in adults 18 and older before and during the initial phase of the pandemic.
About 95% of the participants resided in the U.S., United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. Most participants were predominantly white, female, and living in a two-person household, with an average age of 51.
The survey has tallied approximately 32% of the participants were overweight, 345% had obesity, and 32% had a healthy weight and this shows a substantial lifestyle change because of the pandemic. About 44% of the participants reported an increase in unhealthful snacking, while 26% reported increased healthful snacking. The study also reported 36% of the individuals perceived declines in healthful eating, and 21% perceived increases.
These studies showed that people have more problems other than the virus. The feeling of being alone and not seeing our loved ones because of the lockdown protocols have damaged us more mentally and physically. Our mental health is affected in ways we do not notice, but deep inside us we are all affected by it.
We need to reach out and connect with our family members, friends, and health providers when we need to so that we can open up to them for whatever reasons we have in order for us to stay sane in this trying times and also let them know that we are always here for them if ever they are the ones who need help or guidance.