We weren’t prepared for anything about pandemic life before we were chucked into it without any sniff of a safety net. In our ignorance, we laughed in the face of suggestions about school closures, confidently making statements like ‘it’ll never happen,’ and, ‘as if they would do that!’ Then, one fateful morning, life as we knew it changed, with nationwide lockdowns and pandemic restrictions implemented just like that.
Now, over a year later, most of us have gotten into at least something of a flow within this ‘new normal.’ In fact, many of us are surprised by how quickly we’ve managed to adapt to home working, social distancing, and a whole load of other buzzwords that we’d only ever heard in dystopian novels before now.
But, all things come to an end and, just as we’re getting into this new swing of things, life looks set to change once again. Yes, this change may be a step back to what normal looked like before this ‘new normal,’ but it’s a change nonetheless and, it’s one that many of us are struggling to process.
As lockdowns continue to ease, one thing is certainly becoming apparent – this year of hyperconscious protection has left many of us struggling from a health perspective in ways that we’re only now starting to see. While it’s undeniably wonderful to come out the other side of a pandemic (sighs of relief commence,) this is a significant cause for concern and is only set to become more so as further health setbacks arise.
There are, of course, obvious concerns about delayed treatments, long waiting lists, and all the rest. But, we aren’t talking about these big-hitting topics. Rather, we’re referring to subtle but significant health setbacks that need addressing sooner rather than later as we move forward. Here, we’re going to consider what those look like, and how exactly you can work through them to find health again in the wake of this pandemic.
Things are Getting a Bit Mental
With experts already predicting a secondary mental health pandemic, it makes sense to start here. Even at the start of last year’s lockdowns, 25% of people reported feeling depressed, down, or hopeless. One year on, worrying figures are emerging that cases of depression have tripled, alongside reports of a 14% increase in anxiety.
Again, though, these are big-hitting stats that most of us are aware of. While these are considerations that need to be taken into account, they aren’t necessarily reflective of the widespread mental impact that lockdowns have left.
After all, we’ve all been mentally impacted by the pandemic in some way. Even if we aren’t one of the many experiencing mental illnesses, as such, isolation, fear and generally high stress levels have certainly taken their toll.
As restrictions slowly ease, each of these (and, of course, mental illness itself) can make it increasingly difficult to feel healthy again. The main thing to note here is that, if you’re at all worried about mental difficulty due to covid-19 or for any other reason, it’s fundamental that you seek professional help. Whether that’s in the form of counselling or active treatment plans, this may well be the best possible way for you to transition back into life as normal.
Even in milder cases, being kind to yourself and approaching socialisation/a return to work slowly is fundamental. If you’re particularly worried about your mental state, don’t hesitate to –
- Be honest with friends and family about how you’re feeling
- Arrange a gradual transition back into the workplace
- Stagger socialization so that it doesn’t overwhelm
What About Lockdown Weight Gain?
In extreme circumstances, we cope however we can and, for many of us during lockdown, that’s meant increasing our intake of tasty treats, especially in light of pandemic-based baking.
Unfortunately, now that we’re calling time on these excesses, we’re seeing that an average 35.82% of the global population gained weight during this period, and many are just now coming to terms with their new sizes. Of course, to some extent, we need to cut ourselves a break. As well as needing to treat ourselves where we can, a lack of movement in general has made this a somewhat inevitable lockdown side-effect. But, in cases where weight gain is impacting health (unsurprisingly, cases of heart disease also increased this year,) this quickly becomes a significant issue. Let’s remember, as well, that weight increases can also contribute to the mental difficulties that we’ve already touched on.
Luckily, an outlined end to restrictions can, in itself, help with this issue. After all, exercise is the best possible way to shed excess weight and enjoy a generally healthier lifestyle. And, once we’re able to travel freely, attend gyms, and even exercise in groups, this should organically start to make a difference.
That said, many people feel unable to do this in their current condition, meaning that getting a headstart before such activities open again is perhaps the best way to offset long-term health implications. Luckily, there are a few different ways to achieve this goal, and some techniques worth trying include –
- Healthy meal plans
- Diet with meal replacement shakes or similar
- At-home workouts
- Sticking to healthier routines (bedtime/wakeups, etc.)
Not forgetting Negative Outlooks
It’s been increasingly difficult to see the bright side throughout all of this, and that leads us nicely onto our last point. After all, positivity has a huge impact on health in general, and finding your way back to this is one of the best ways to get back on track.
The good news here is that easing restrictions, in themselves, give us something to feel positive about, but this is a double-edged sword, with excitement about shops opening again only highlighting how out of sorts life has been.
Instead, it’s important to recenter ourselves with more tangible and pure positive focuses, be those vacations, plans with friends, or even just new prospects on the horizon. By setting our sights firmly on these, we’re better poised to move forward into a happier, and hopefully healthier, post-pandemic world.