Since the pandemic has been in existence for over a year, most of us have become used to the ‘new normal.’ For some, that means working and studying from home, with research showing that people now clock in more hours of work than ever before!
With work-life balance being interrupted, outdoor activities being limited, fatigue and chronic stress issues on the rise, and lack of contact with the people and activities that bring us joy, a lot of us are knowingly or unknowingly falling victim to the pandemic, even though we may not have contacted COVID-19.
Ripple Effects of the Pandemic
To add to some of the issues we’ve faced on a personal level, many of us have had to deal with socio-economic crises as well – with job losses, loss of the lives of people we’ve known, political tensions, recession and more. Here are some of the ways in which COVID-19 has impacted our lives, whether we’ve realised it or not.
We all know how difficult it can be, being confined in the same house for months on end. Feelings of isolation, fear, anger, sadness, worry, numbness and frustration are completely normal, however, over time, it can have a significant impact on mental health. Difficulty concentrating, physical symptoms such as headaches and stomach problems, and the use of alcohol and tobacco, all contribute to declining mental wellbeing. Issues at home such as clashes with family members and domestic violence with no possibility of escape are all important contributors.
Additionally, with children being home for most of the pandemic, it is an additional stress to home-school them and make sure they attend all of their online classes, while also finishing housework and professional commitments. Now with some schools re-opening, the stress hasn’t reduced with the constant worry for your child’s safety. These, and several other problems leaves you feeling tired, irritable, confused, anxious and stressed, with no time to recuperate.
For older adults, living alone for months on end is a matter of personal safety. The deprivation of companionship often triggers anxiety and leaves one feeling lonely and depressed. It is common knowledge that mental stressors manifest in physical symptoms too, like hairfall, disturbed sleep, elevated blood pressure and heart palpitations.
All through the pandemic, gyms, stadiums, pools, dance and fitness studios, parks etc have been off-limits. Individuals, therefore, haven’t been able to participate in regular physical activity outside of their homes. This has led to adopting a much more sedentary lifestyle, with more screen time, irregular sleep patterns, and unhealthy diets leading to cholesterol problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, coronary heart disease and weight gain. All these have had an impact on our immune systems by exacerbating existing diseases that have their roots in a sedentary lifestyle. To combat some of the issues brought about by weight gain, Buckhead Medicine’s weight loss program takes into account your condition and prescribes FDA approved medications which may help reduce weight for some patients.
How to Improve Your Mental and Physical Health
- Stay active: It is essential to get at least an hour or more of exercise daily. It not only helps you maintain your physical health and prevent chronic illnesses, but it also helps improve your mental health by reducing anxiety, depression and negative mood by improving self-esteem and cognitive function. For those whose home life can involve long periods of sitting, there may be options to be more active during the day, for example by stretching, doing housework, climbing stairs or dancing to music.
- Eat healthy: It is important to have a nutritious diet, consisting of fruits and vegetables equally. Drinking plenty of water and getting a good night’s sleep is also vital.
- Find a new routine: If your old routine doesn’t work anymore, find something that does. It will provide you and your family with a sense of normalcy and help alleviate some of the stress.
- Limit your exposure to the news: It is important to stay in the loop of the current situation and be informed, but listening and reading too much about COVID-19 can increase your anxiety and stress.
- Schedule some family time: Set aside some time at the end of the day to introspect with your loved ones, watch movies or play board games. This can help your family bond better, give you better peace of mind and offer comfort.
- Schedule some ‘me’ time: Take some time to yourself before your hectic day begins or after a long night.
- Seek help: It is better to let your troubles out than to bottle them up. Talking to a friend or a medical professional can do you wonders, especially if you are facing disorders like depression, or you are a victim of domestic abuse.
- Don’t miss your routine check-ups – You may be a little apprehensive to visit doctors during this time, however don’t delay your regular check-ups as it is more vital than ever to detect and treat health issues caused at early stages, given the new normal.
To book an online consultation with doctors in Atlanta, Georgia, contact Buckhead Medicine. You can also schedule an appointment and visit our medical practice for routine check ups, to know more about our weight loss program and to get COVID tested before travelling.