Dealing with lifestyle disorders in pandemic

Modernization has ushered in a new breed of disease labeled as lifestyle disorders due to industrialization, changes in the work culture, and eating habits. The advancement of science, comfortable living habits, and hygiene have led to an increase in longevity, but it has not necessarily improved the quality of health. People are afflicted with lifestyle disorders. The stress of everyday life is believed to be the cause of many diseases like diabetes, hypertension, insomnia, and substance abuse. In the past, the stress was resisted by activities like spending time with family and friends, physical activity, meditation, etc. but all that has been distanced today.  

For years, health care workers have supported lifestyle changes in the form of diets, exercises, and relaxation techniques as ways to combat chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes. Some researches have shown that lifestyle changes — such as indulging in more physical exercise, spending time with nature, or helping others could be as helpful as drugs or counseling for many mental health concerns. Certain lifestyle changes can treat mental health conditions as successfully as physical health conditions.  
Pandemic driven by Covid-19 has significantly affected the health of people from all age range, and working areas. According to an online survey conducted by SPIF (Suicide Prevention India Foundation) across the country, suicide ideation, self-harm, and relapses have all risen.

Findings also showed that :

  • Suicide ideation and death wish occur more often: Nearly 65% (28.9% said yes, 35.8% said maybe) of therapists reported that they saw an increase in self-harm. In a survey of therapists, an astounding 71% said more people have expressed suicide ideation or a death wish to them since the outbreak (28.9% yes, 42.1% maybe).
  • Increased rates of relapse: It was reported by more than half of psychologists (57.9%) that individuals who had previously recovered have now relapsed.
  • More people seeking therapy: 68.6% of the therapists reported an increase in the number of people they see and in the hours, they spend taking therapy after the pandemic hit.
  • First-time therapy seekers on the rise: 54.7% of therapists say they’ve seen more people who have never sought therapy before since the outbreak.
  • People report anxiety (88.7%), job loss or fear of job loss (76.1%), stress 73.6%), isolation/loneliness, and financial insecurity (73% each) as the most common problems.

According to researches reviewed in the papers, often many unrecognized therapeutic lifestyle changes could help in to deal with the effects of a pandemic like:

  • Doing exercise releases endorphins which not only helps you to feel better by reducing stress, anxiety and depression but can also help children to perform better in academics, enhances cognitive function development, reduces forgetting, and increases new tissue formation.
  • Diets rich in nutrients is crucial for brain development, which helps you to perform better in biopsychosocial environment. It maintains cognitive ability, as well as reduces symptoms in affective and schizophrenic disorders.
  • Spending time in nature,  staying outdoors can reduce stress by lowering the stress hormone cortisol, it also promotes cognitive and overall well-being of an individual.
  • Good relationships not only reduces physical health risks but mental health related issues as well ranging from the common cold, strokes to depression, anxiety, sleeping, and eating habits as well.  It can overall impact the person’s biopsychosocial well-being.
  • Recreation and fun can cut back sensitiveness and foster social skills. Researches have showed that doing new and fun things along with your partner enhances relationship satisfaction and will increase the standard and longevity of relationships. Even if not doing anything but being there for  each other while dealing with new situations helps. Getting out of your home together even if that’s for grocery shopping, gives you an extra space and time to get to know other person beyond those four walls.
  • Relaxation and stress management can also reduce stress, and anxiety levels hence allowing the person to live peacefully in life.
  • Meditation will improve not solely fellow feeling sensitivity and emotional stability however additionally reduces stress and burnout whereas enhancing psychological feature function.
  • Religious and spiritual involvement that focuses on love and forgiveness will scale back anxiety depression and drug abuse foster well-being.
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