How the Pandemic is Affecting Mental and Physical Health

How the Pandemic is Affecting Mental and Physical Health

Grace Huang, Journalist, Editor

COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan, China, and quickly spread from person to person all over China, and eventually the world. On March 11, 2020, the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic with COVID-19 as its central crisis. Suddenly, schools began shutting down all around the world. Hospitals were overwhelmed with the sheer amount of infected patients. Homes began shutting their doors and families started to wear masks around others as human contact dwindled down to a few texts and phone calls. We’ve been stuck in the pandemic for over a year now, so it’s important we know how this might have an effect on our health and lives.

At first, it was stressful. The government had not dealt with the situation very efficiently, and there was an immense amount of confusion and panic. At home, where contact was limited, technology and social media became our main means of communication with friends outside of family. Slowly, we started to adapt to the constant use of our phones and computers and were exposed more and more to the world of social media.

This overexposure can have many effects on our mental health. A documentary, The Social Dilemma, was released on Netflix on January 26, 2020. It details some of the negative impacts social media can have on society, including negative influences through posts and videos, and the effects it has on regular conversation and the social environment around us. However, too much screen time can also have impacts directly affecting your mind. Because of the limited human contact, it’s easy to lose yourself in a virtual world. Blue light overexposure can lead to headaches and inabilities to sleep, as well as other negative consequences. This can make you more stressed, more anxious, and more likely to get angry at others. Staring at a screen all day also tends to make the brain less responsive and lazy. Being like this long-term is not healthy for the mind or the body, and can lead to serious issues later on, like insomnia, in extreme cases.

It can also take a toll on physical health. Most obviously, sitting at home all day without daily exercise can have a gradual effect on your body and weight. It can also have an effect on your eyes to look at a computer or phone too much. Because we have to wear masks, it also makes it hard to go running or play a sport that requires a constant intake of breath, like soccer or basketball.

To maintain your overall health, it’s important to exercise and be aware of your screen time. Managing your time responsibly is a good way to make each passing day worth your while, and avoid letting the months blur. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a great impact on everyone around the globe, and it’s vital that you do your part to help this situation. Keep your mask on, and stay healthy.