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4 Ways the Pandemic Has Impacted Our Health and Lives In the Last Year

Where do we go from here?

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Licensed image by: © Patchanan Promunat | Dreamstime.com
Licensed image by: © Patchanan Promunat | Dreamstime.com

It’s hard to believe we’ve been living through a global pandemic for over a year now. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization officially declared the Covid-19 pandemic. It was a day that that would change the world forever. 

Following, is a look back at four ways the pandemic has impacted our health and lives in the last year and also some thoughts on where we go from here.

1. Daily logistics: From professionals across many industries working from home full-time, to front line workers risking their own lives to fight Covid-19, to children being in virtual, hybrid or fully in-person school with restrictions, daily logistics have been turned upside down. While long commutes to work may have become a thing of the past for many over this past year, home offices, Zoom fatigue and blurred lines between work and home life have become the new normal. Trips to grocery and retail stores have been replaced, in many cases, with online grocery deliveries and Amazon purchases. And many families have been anxiously stocking up on face masks, toilet paper, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies and non-perishable foods, knowing these items could quickly run out at any point in time.

2. Physical health: Many people have experienced a more sedentary lifestyle, as a result of being stuck at home over the last year, while others have tried to keep their physical health in tact by doing livestream and on demand workouts at home or going on hikes, runs or walks to get daily steps in. Cooking has become more frequent than ever before, with families often cooking and eating all three meals at home. However, when cooking fatigue has set in, online food deliveries through DoorDash, GrubHub and the like, have become very popular. There also has been a greater emphasis on physical health, as people have been trying to keep their immune systems strong to protect against Covid-19 and also keep pre-existing health conditions under control. While many were initially fearful of getting in-person check-ups with their doctors due to worries of contracting Covid-19, tele-visits, safe and prescreened visits to doctor’s offices and vaccines have made in-person check-ups more widely accepted and deemed safe. 

3. Mental health: The pandemic has also brought on mental health challenges for many people in the last year. Stress, anxiety and depression have been inevitable outcomes of these difficult times. And as a result, many have experienced a fear of the unknown, a sense of hopelessness and a lack of sleep, which have made mental health challenges even worse. However, increased focuses on yoga, meditation and other mindfulness practices have become even more prevalent, and these are considered important tools to deal with all that has been happening in the world. There also has been a strong awareness and acknowledgement of the importance of tending to mental health in the media, government, education, business and healthcare sectors, which is reflective of the types of resources and support being made available to individuals at scale.

4. Social lives: Due to the risks of spreading Covid-19, most people’s social lives have become restricted or relegated to only immediate family or household members or a few households convening outdoors with masks and six feet apart social distancing. Music concerts, sporting events, movies, shopping, indoor dining and other activities were basically shut down or heavily restricted over this past year, but have started to open back up in recent months. While these social life changes have been challenging, for many, there has been a new-found appreciation and sense of gratitude for extended family and friends, especially around the holidays and key milestones.

So where do we go from here? While some countries are currently struggling more than others, vaccines continue to be administered across the world, and supplies continue to be increased for various age groups, with teens and children being next in line to receive vaccines in the coming months. States and counties continue to change tiers and schools and many businesses continue to reopen at varying capacities.

While we still have a ways to go until we reach herd immunity and get this pandemic under control, the best we can do is continue stay safe and follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO). We can also continue to tend to our physical and mental health, safely connect with family and friends either outside, virtually, or indoors for those who have all been fully vaccinated, have gratitude for what we have, and have hope for what lies ahead. Hopefully we’ll be in a much better place one year from now, when we reflect on year two of the pandemic!

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