The Effects Quarantine Had On Our Minds and Bodies
Lockdowns and quarantine were necessary to reduce transmissions and save lives during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Early research shows that large-scale lockdowns may have saved millions of lives in Europe alone.
However, living through quarantines and lockdowns left many folks feeling jaded and lost. Researchers have even started to coin terms like “Pandemic Brain” to describe the effect that lengthy periods of isolation and high stress had on the population.
As we attempt to leave COVID-19 in the rearview mirror, many people feel as though they are still not themselves. But, rather than becoming fatalistic, folks who continue to feel out of sorts can take action to reclaim their identity and build a better life in the post-pandemic future.
Exercise isn’t a silver bullet that makes all our troubles float away. But, keeping up a good exercise regime can lead to a series of positive life changes. Folks who exercise regularly reduce their chance of illnesses like type-2 diabetes while improving their posture and overall fitness. Exercising regularly can also be wonderful for our mental health, as exercise encourages socialization and reduces stress.
But getting back into the swing of things post-pandemic can be tricky. Many people let their fitness deteriorate during the pandemic and may feel anxious about rejoining a gym or sports club.
The perfect post-pandemic fitness regime should ease participants back into exercise. A quick fitness assessment will help gym-goers create a fitness plan that works for them. In the early days, anyone who returns to the gym, trail, or treadmill should go easy. Injuries are most likely to occur when returning to exercise after a lengthy lay-off. Instead, opt for exercise that feels “easy” so the body has time to adjust.
Almost everyone’s mental health took a knock during the pandemic. Increased anxiety due to social distancing and the spread of the virus caused many folks to feel fear, stress, and loneliness. Now, as we exit the pandemic, many folks feel as though they don’t recognize their former selves and the direction they were headed in.
Before spiraling out of control, it’s important for everyone to remember that their pre-pandemic selves still had stressors and things they were uncertain of. Life wasn’t as rosy as we may remember it, but our pre-pandemic selves still had the inner strength necessary to overcome challenges.
Folks who are struggling to rediscover their resilience may find solace through an at-home yoga studio. Being able to meditate and practice gentle yoga can be a great way to relax after a hard day and break negative thought patterns. Even a small space, reserved for a yoga mat and a few blocks, can make a big difference to our physical well-being and mental health. Over time, regular meditation, and yoga can help us become more accepting of the present and improve our self-efficacy.
Appearance and Self Efficacy
It’s easy to become wrapped up in appearance when suffering from low self-esteem. We all skipped our fair share of workouts and ate a heap of “unhealthy” foods during the pandemic. While this may have had a negative impact on our health, there’s no need to exacerbate the issue by body-shaming ourselves as we exit the pandemic.
Folks who struggle with body image may be particularly worried about their skin health. Acne and spots can be a real source of anxiety for everyone, and quarantine skin certainly hasn’t made the issue any easier.
Quarantine skin refers to the skin complaints that folks have when isolated for lengthy periods. Heightened stress, reduced social interaction, and a lack of routine can worsen skin conditions, as hormones work on overdrive and trigger oil glands to cause acne breakouts.
As we exit the pandemic, it’s more important than ever for us to accept our bodies and make the most of the things we love about ourselves. Embracing pandemic fashion may help folks slowly return to a style and look that makes them feel great about themselves and encourages greater socialization. Even a few small changes, like buying some shirts that fit our new figures correctly, can give us all the boost we need to start living again.
Socializing during lockdown was weird. Even though apps like Zoom and Netflix party plus made it easier to socialize from a distance, nothing could come close to an IRL chat with friends and family.
Returning to social situations in a post-pandemic world may feel a little odd. Socializing effectively is a skill that takes time to develop and needs regular practicing. Rather than throwing ourselves back into every social occasion, it’s worth weighing up options and being kind to ourselves when conversations feel awkward or if our faces just won’t produce a tactful smile.
Quarantine slowed the spread of COVID-19, but had a negative impact on most people’s physical and mental well-being. As we exit the pandemic, we can give ourselves a boost by taking up a gentle exercise routine like yoga and guided workouts. We can also boost our self-efficacy by embracing body positivity and pandemic-era fashion.
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