Since its emergence in 2019, the coronavirus has haunted the earth. Just like that, lives were turned upside down. Everything about our usual routines changed, from studying and work to socializing and unwinding. The world ultimately shifted online as countries everywhere began shutting down.
There are many ways in which lives have changed, both negatively, and admittedly, positively in some areas. Here are five changes we’ve experienced, which could continue for a long time into the future.
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One of the most significant changes as a result of the pandemic is the impact on our mental health. It’s no surprise that there’s been a surge in mental health-related issues, including anxiety, chronic stress, and depression.
The virus sparked fear across the world, with feelings of anxiety and stress being inevitable as we ventured into the unknown. The US Census Bureau recorded that 42% of people who took part in the Household Pulse Survey had symptoms related to anxiety and depression in December 2020, in comparison to 11% in 2019.
There are multiple reasons behind the rise, including limited social interaction, isolation, and loneliness. An October 2020 study that surveyed participants from 59 countries found that 25.4% reported moderate to severe depression and 19.5% reported anxiety. Triggers included life changes such as transitioning to working from home, conflict at home, and quarantine level.
The impact on mental health is likely to last a long time, with many people suffering trauma from losing loved ones to the coronavirus.
Relationships are complex. The pandemic has had both positive and negative effects on relationships of all kinds. With lockdowns and social contact restricted, many couples found themselves either living or together or being kept apart. The distancing, as well as the increase in time, spent together broke some relationships, while others thrived in tough times.
Families have become closer while others have struggled to maintain relationships. Overall, people have found greater value in their relationships, and now find time spent with friends and family more valuable.
There has been a shift in priorities when it comes to cleaning. After months of extensive and thorough cleaning day today, the new routines toward cleanliness, both personal and environmental, will have lasting effects.
People have a heightened awareness of bacteria and germs, with regular cleaning schedules in place to sanitize hands, door handles, and light switches. Cleaning has become an integral part of keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe.
While mental health problems have increased, health in other areas has benefited. The pandemic has seen a rise in people taking better care of themselves, with a greater awareness around health and wellbeing. There was also an uptake rate for new health insurance policies, as well as an increase in health insurance renewals.
The constraints of lockdown allowed many people to make healthy lifestyle changes, whether altering their diet, setting up routines, cutting out alcohol, and focusing on fitness. It’s encouraged us to spend more time outdoors, something we had previously taken for granted. After spending the majority of the day indoors, outside naturally became a place of virtue.
As people turn their attention to health, some other health problems are decreasing. Research in May 2020 found that changes in the way people live due to the pandemic reduce certain medical problems, with a public more inclined to follow public health messages.
The pandemic has certainly taught us that time is valuable. In the blink of an eye, the daily lives of millions were interrupted and forced to change. A year spent at home has undoubtedly given many the chance to reflect on their circumstances. People have realized what they enjoy doing in life, and what they don’t, what they would like to keep, and what they want to remove from their lives.
Setting goals and bettering ourselves is a notion that has stemmed from the pandemic, as the world faces the harsh reminder that life can change in a heartbeat. While there have been many negatives, the pandemic (Covid-19) has taught us a lot, and we will move into the future with a new outlook on the world.
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