The sweeping effects of COVID-19 have impacted over 200 million people across the globe. While our bodies are reacting physically to the virus, further effects are making their way into our economies, food systems, workforces, and the mental health of millions more. While lockdown has extended far beyond our expectations, so has its rippling effects causing increased depression, addiction, and mental health disorders throughout the world.
Leading health journalists and non-profit health policy analysts from the Kaiser Family Foundation have reported increased numbers in those suffering from “difficulty sleeping (36%) or eating (32%), increases in alcohol consumption or substance use (12%), and worsening chronic conditions (12%), due to worry and stress over the coronavirus.” As this unprecedented virus continually devastates the lives of millions, knowing how to overcome everyday monotony and spiraling habits can prevent life from deteriorating past salvation.
For many, COVID has provided an opportunity to reflect on goals and well-being. Take your newfound time away from work or from others to accomplish physical goals or travel to new destinations while social distancing. Many national and state parks are open while adhering to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, making an outdoor adventure an excellent time to leave the house and explore new territories. These trips can drastically improve your mental health while providing new places, experiences, and routines for your body to battle the dreariness of staying at home.
Taking up new hobbies and interests can help pass the time, such as riding your bike, watching movies, playing video or board games, reading books, or engaging in online communities. Whatever hobbies you prefer, approach this new time in life to positively impact your self betterment, whether it be physical or mental. By simply implementing exercise routines throughout your week, you’ll gain better sleeping habits, notice physical improvements, and produce additional endorphins to make you happier and healthier during and after the effects of lockdown.
During times of such disinformation and speculation, refer to the sources that matter most. Social media and word of mouth are becoming dominant podiums for many to voice opinions, negative thoughts, or polarized information. With facts and opinions so readily available via phones and modern technology, refer to scientific resources and specialized organizations to stay proactively informed of COVID and the ongoing issues facing our communities. In doing so, you can keep yourself, and others, safer from COVID and the spread of misinformation.
As invaluable as reputable information is in the era of COVID-19, knowing about your own well-being is equally as important. Consider the feelings you experience, the thoughts you’re having, or the lifestyle you’ve implemented during the past year and a half. Consider whether you have more positives than negatives as you reflect on these questions to discern whether your mental or physical health has suffered as a result. If you recognize further signs of depression, anxiety, addictive tendencies, or suicidal thoughts, act immediately by reaching out to a professional treatment facility to further address these issues.
The convenience of fast food is exactly that; it’s fast and convenient. But these increased eating habits can be—literally—weighing down our mental and physical health. Many are adopting unhealthier eating habits as depression and a lack of motivation creep further into our daily routines. By integrating suggested daily nutrition into our diets, we increase the chance of happier moods, more energy, and regular sleeping schedules. This simple change can drastically affect anyone dealing with unhealthy diets, let alone those suffering from the lockdown blues.
If convenience is what you seek, consider online programs that send pre-packaged ingredients straight to your doorstep. Choose from healthy eating options with a range of guilty pleasures to balance your meals for the week. Companies like Hello Fresh and Blue Apron specialize in the healthy to the hearty, so choose wisely and considerably when addressing your balanced diet.
In addition to conveniently healthy food, the process of making a new dish from scratch by yourself or with a loved one is a mutually enjoyable experience. As you follow step by step instructions, the rewarding dish and shared time can provide extra companionship or a solo cooking extravaganza. Instead of throwing in the oven-baked pizza, take the time to engage in healthier and diversified meals for the cherry on top of your day.
The ongoing reality of COVID-19 is, and likely will be, a difficult subject to navigate for the seemingly foreseeable future. The added stress means recognizing individual coping mechanisms is paramount in battling newfound symptoms of depressive and addictive tendencies. Specialized treatment facilities like the Jackson House Addiction Treatment and Recovery Centers can help individuals of varying illnesses and addictions battle these negative tendencies so you don’t have to do it alone.
Relying on peers, loved ones, and specialists has notoriously supported countless individuals dealing with traumatic and stressful moments in life, making COVID-19 no exception. Life doesn’t have to stagnate because of the pandemic, which adopting these helpful habits and resources can prove. Recognize, relax, and recover responsibly as we all continue our pursuit of happiness and health in the age of the coronavirus.